As any homeowner knows the foundation is one of the most integral parts of a home. In fact for people who are building their own homes, the foundation accounts for 8 to 15% of the total cost of building a home.
There are three primary forms of home foundation: full basements, crawl spaces and slabs. But which kind of home Foundation is best? Ultimately that answer comes down to personal preference and what you can afford.
Regardless of what kind of foundation you get you ultimately want your foundation to achieve three things:
- Support the structure above AKA your house
- Act as a barrier between water and soil vapor
- Keep out groundwater
If you’re building your own home, selecting a foundation isn’t the most glamorous choice that you will make for your home but it is undoubtedly one of the most important and one of the earliest steps since you’ll have to put in a foundation before you do much else. With that in mind here are a look at the three most common types of foundations:
Slab foundations are some of the most common and require not a lot of prep work to begin building. They tend to be popular among homeowners because they carry a relatively low price tag. Slab foundations are created by pouring in concrete footers and then installing layers of concrete block followed by internal piping and a rock filler followed by more concrete at the very top.
Pros: budget-friendly and very low maintenance
Cons: potentially costly repairs especially to your plumbing system since piping is buried well below you are foundational slab. Slabs also don’t offer the best protection for your home when it comes to inclement weather.
Homes with this type of foundation are elevated a few feet off the ground and like a slab, footings are poured and then blocks are laid to create the foundation and support the walls of the structure. Crawl space foundations can help homeowners save on costs but not necessarily time because they take as much time to build as a full basement foundation usually.
Pros: crawl spaces provide easier access to wiring piping and ductwork so if you do have home foundation repair that’s necessary, you can reach all that stuff much easier. Crawl spaces are also condition so you’ll tend to have warmer floors in your home.
Cons: crawl spaces don’t offer the best protection from inclement weather either and they are also prone to moisture. You want to keep an eye on your crawl space and also probably install a vapor barrier to help keep your crawl space dry and avoid the growth of mold.
A basement is literally an 8-foot hole that ends in a concrete slab. These days basements are built with poured concrete walls which allow for greater structural integrity and less moisture permeation. Basements can help anchor a property to the ground and extend a foundation below frost line which helps maintain your foundation’s integrity over a long period of time.
Pros: basements offer a chance for a seasonal living space especially if you have a finished basement. It also allows easy access for repairs so if you have home foundation repairs that are needed, the foundation contractor can easily access your home’s utilities rather than having to dig up a slab or crawl in a crawl space. Basements also allow for better storm protection and you’ll get more square footage the basement as well.
Cons: installing a basement carries an increased cost because it’s the most expensive foundation type to install. You also are prone to flooding and potentially costly home foundation repair without a proper sump pump and you also not have much natural light that comes in your basement.
Regardless of what type of foundation to use take some time to do some research on the best one for your needs. Last thing you want is to shortchange yourself and end up with costly home foundation repair that requires foundation repair contractors constantly making trips to your home.