You’ll have to make a lot of decisions when it comes to the foundation of your new home. Even if your house is built on a hill with a 45-degree angle, the foundation serves the essential functions of keeping your home in place, insulating it, keeping moisture out, and leveling it—even if the ground beneath it shifts. The soil and humidity conditions, as well as the home’s location and climate, all play a role in the decision-making process when it comes to foundations.
Building a basement
A full basement foundation starts with an eight-foot-deep pit to accommodate an underground living area whose floor space matches the home’s ground level. You’ll build structural foundation walls on concrete footings around the basement’s perimeter. The footings must be put 12 inches below the frost line and 12 inches below the previously undisturbed soil. After that, you’ll pour beams, build foundation walls, and pour a cement slab inside them.
A finished basement may quadruple the square footage of a home, which is an obvious benefit of a basement foundation. Basement foundations withstand fire and adverse weather.
They’re common in cold climates like the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast because the home’s foundation must be below the frost line to prevent moving during freeze-thaw cycles. This means they can be heated or cooled as needed.
A basement is the most expensive foundation type, and unless built on a hillside with windows on at least one side, the space produced by this foundation type might feel dark and dank. Building a basement is not advised in flood-prone areas. A sump pump is recommended even if your neighborhood doesn’t flood frequently.
A daylight basement, with at least one side sunk in the ground from floor to ceiling, can be a pleasant alternative to a full basement foundation for homes constructed on a slope, enabling a separate entrance.
Crawlspace Stem Walls
Houses with crawlspaces have short stem walls on concrete footings. You can crawl through them to get to storage, a furnace, and other equipment.
Crawlspace foundations provide excellent home protection. Its walls are protected from flooding and other environmental risks by elevating the house’s base. Plumbing, wiring, and other mechanical systems are easily accessible. Raising a house’s foundation also raises the entire structure, making it more appealing. It also costs less than a whole basement.
California, Texas, the Northwest, and the South have the most of these sorts of foundations. Architects who design homes in earthquake-prone areas often use these materials in their designs.
However, due to the moisture that can accumulate below them, crawlspace foundations are susceptible to mold and mildew. In addition to checking for cracks in the foundation walls, homeowners must install vapor barriers to keep the crawlspace dry.
Concrete Slab Foundations
A slab foundation is a single-piece concrete slab that rests on the ground. It is less expensive and faster to build a monolithic foundation.
Installing is a breeze. To reinforce the slab, wire mesh and steel reinforcing bars are placed in the concrete, which is about two feet thick. Without a crawlspace, structures atop slabs eliminate maintenance concerns.
There will be no weak places in a poured concrete slab that could cause costly foundation difficulties. But not in frigid weather: Concrete can shift and break as the ground freezes and thaws.
Unfavorable aspects of slab building include the need to install sewer and drainage pipes before pouring concrete. Slab-cutting is required for sewage or plumbing repairs.
4. Wooden Foundations
Wooden foundations were popular in the 1960s. Builders will utilize preservative-treated wood that is easy to install. It takes less time and money to build wood foundations because they don’t require concrete pouring or masonry construction.
Builders can also insulate these foundations for a warmer crawlspace and a less drafty dwelling. Remember this: archaeologists have uncovered beams made of Cyprus wood in Egyptian pyramids over 6000 years old.
Because expensive woods like cypress, redwood, and cedar are resistant to insects and mold, the timber business has developed ways to treat alternative lumber to mimic these properties. They don’t endure as long as concrete foundations and can only be utilized in absolutely dry soil.
5. Pier and Beam Supports
A pier and beam foundation (also known as “piers and piling” or “pier and post” foundations) is the greatest means to secure a home above shifting, flooding, or eroding soil in coastal environments. Hurricane-prone zones are where you’ll encounter them most commonly. Due to their importance in supporting the structure of the house and protecting it from water damage, they demand careful planning.
Long pillars—often over 15 yards long to reach the solid ground—are fixed into the deepest strata of stone and soil, similar to how an ocean pier works. Builders employ them with heavier homes because they distribute the weight over a large surface, which prevents the house from sinking.
It is necessary to hire a structural engineer to oversee a project since they will conduct a soil analysis to ensure that the structure is being built in an appropriate environment. When driving concrete piers, you’ll need to be prepared for the additional time and cost.