There are many types of foundations you can use to build your home. Because the foundation is the single most important part of a house, without a strong one, the entire house may collapse.
We do our best to get rid of termites and do everything we can do to protect our foundation. But starting out with a good one is the first step to preventing problems in the future. But do you know what kind of foundation you have?
What Are The Types Of Foundations?
Every home has a foundation. Unless the home is a mobile home or something similar, it has one of four foundation types: basement, crawlspace, pier, or slab. Each of these types has its own set of pros and cons.
Today, we’re going to go over what each type of foundation is and what it is for. We are also going to go over the pros and cons of each type of foundation and how to know if that foundation is right for you.
If someone recommends a foundation that is not one of these four, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea. It means that you need to get a second opinion first. Then you will know if you should follow through.
Types Of Foundations: Basement Foundation
A basement foundation is a foundation that is also a basement. The basement works as a foundation but it also has enough space for an extra room or two. You can even create a walkout basement from the foundation.
Pros Of A Basement Foundation
- Room For Rooms – the extra square footage is the main reason that people choose a basement foundation. It can add room for, well, rooms. You can double your space with this type of foundation.
- Easy To Repair – basement foundations are easy to repair because there is easy access to them. You can reach the foundation from the basement and make repairs to pipes, the concrete, and more.
- Needs A Lot Of Repairs – although the repairs may be easy to take care of, the basement may need a lot of them. The reason for this is because they are often in use and they are large, using a lot of concrete.
- Safe Room – a basement offers a safe room for storms and more. It is like having a cellar or storm shelter right under your house. But you don’t have to leave your house which adds an extra safety precaution.
Cons Of A Basement Foundation
- Expensive – basement foundations are expensive when held next to other foundations. This is because they take more time to make and use more materials. Otherwise, they are affordable for what you get.
- Not Waterproof – although concrete is water-resistant, basements are susceptible to flooding. When this happens, it can ruin anything that you have in your basement though it doesn’t right away comprise the structure.
- Dark And Dank – basments are dark and dank. If you don’t keep things dry, then mold can grow and a musty smell appears. Not to mention, there is little to no sunlight unless you add basement windows.
Types Of Foundations: Crawlspace Foundation
A crawlspace foundation is a foundation that is like a mini-basement. There is just enough from underneath for someone to crawl under and make repairs. It is common because it isn’t difficult to make nor is it expensive.
Pros Of A Crawlspace Foundation
- Easy Access – crawlspace foundations are easy to access. You can make repairs and check to see how everything is going s often as you like. It won’t comprise the structural integrity or anything doing so.
- Earthquake Protection – because crawlspace foundations lift up and the weight is dispersed over the area, they are earthquake resistant. The same can be said for pier foundations as well.
- Ventilation – this is a good thing because, in certain climates, it is more energy-efficient. It also gives space for heat lamps to keep the pipes from freezing in the winter, which is very useful.
- Storage – some people make under-the-floor storage with a crawlspace foundation. All you have to do is cut a hole in the floor and add storage underneath. Just do so with the help of a professional.
Cons Of A Crawlspace Foundation
- Not As Sturdy – crawlspace foundations aren’t as sturdy as other foundations in some ways. They may be great in an earthquake but they can fall if one thing goes wrong, so they need to be maintained.
- Moisture-Magnet – because of the open space, crawlspace foundations draw a lot of moisture. This can lead to a lot of problems with insects, mold, and more. Plus, it’s not very fun to get down there.
Also called pier and beam, a pier foundation uses pillars that transfer the weight of the house to the ground or soil. It works just like a pier does and carries the weight of the pillars on concrete that the pillars are set in. This is similar to a crawlspace foundation.
Pros Of A Pier Foundation
- Flood Protection – pier foundations are wonderful in floods because the water flows right under them. They are called pier foundations for a reason and work well in areas near the ocean.
- Cheaper Materials – though it’s not always cheaper to choose a pier foundation, this type of foundation has more options. You can use almost any material you want for the beams as long as they meet the load-bearing requirements.
- Build On A Hill – you can build a pier foundation on a hill. This can’t be done with a basement foundation and can’t be done at all with a slab foundation. But this foundation was made for hills.
Cons Of A Pier Foundation
- Attract Insects – because they are made with wood in addition to concrete, termites and other insects are often attracted to this foundation. And insects can wreak havoc on a structure if left alone.
- Easy To Get Wrong – pier foundations need to be built right. There isn’t any room for laziness because one crooked beam can affect the entire foundation. So it’s important everything is level and stable.
Types Of Foundations: Slab Foundation
Slab foundations are the most common and the oldest type of foundation still used. It consists of a concrete slab for the base with many forms of expanding it, depending on the type of flooring you use.
Pros Of A Slab Foundation
- Affordable – slab foundations are the most affordable type of foundation. They take minimal materials and don’t need much more than concrete to build. This makes them the cheapest option.
- Easy To Maintain – slab foundations are easy to repair if the repairs are minor. You just need concrete that is for repairs. You can do these repairs on your own as long as the cracks aren’t too large.
- Quick Installation – it only takes a day to pour a slab foundation and a day to check it afterward. The plumbing and such are put in place beforehand so after that, the process is very quick and easy.
- Energy-Efficient – slab foundations are the most energy-efficient out of all o the foundations. That’s because there isn’t any space underneath so the heat and cool air are inside the house.
- No Insects Or Mold – because there is no space underneath, slab foundations deter insects because they can’t get to the foundation. They deter mold because there is less room for moisture to build up.
Cons Of A Slab Foundation
- Utility Problems – because the plumbing is underneath the foundations, there can be serious problems should a need for repairs arise. It will be expensive and could take a while for repairs to take place.
- No Weather Protection – slab foundations do not hold up in an earthquake at all. When it comes to hurricanes and tornadoes, there is a chance that the foundation can lift up or the house pull away.
- Cracks May Appear – although they can be taken care of, it isn’t difficult to crack a slab foundation. They need to be concrete and it can be difficult to lay other floors on top of them, so cracks are common.
- Can Be Slick – because they are concrete and because there is no ventilation underneath, slab foundations tend to sweat. When this happens, the floors can either peel, if finished, or they will become very slick.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
What Are The Three Types of Foundations?
The three main types of foundations are crawlspace, concrete slab, and basement. These three types are the most common. Pier and beam are next in line but they are not as popular.
What Is The Best Of The Types Of Foundations?
There is no best foundation. All three types work well in different situations. As long as you use a solid concrete foundation, crawlspace, basement, or slab, then you should be fine.
Do All Types Of Foundations Need Drain Systems?
Yes. Water can damage any foundation and even cause the entire house to collapse. Put a drain system in place that redirects water away from the house. Start with gutters and end with a drain field.
What Damages All Types Of Foundations?
Water can damage any type of foundation. Termites and small animals can only damage wood foundations. As long as you drain the area, there isn’t much that can damage concrete aside from the structure itself.
Choosing The Right Foundation For You
Finding the right foundation comes down to your budget and whether or not you want any space under the foundation. Work with your contractor to find out which work will be best for you.
A basement foundation is your only option if you want to use the space under your home. But if you want a crawlspace, then choose that one. Slab foundations are stable and need very few repairs.
In the end, it all comes down to what you want out of your foundation. No one will have the same thoughts as you about foundations, so go with your instincts and trust your contractor to help you find out.