Basement, Crawlspace, or Slab: Which Foundation Type is Right for You?
Foundations are forever, and a solid, well-built foundation is a necessity, whether you’re building a new home or adding on to an existing home. Sure, the foundation is the base upon which your home is built, but it also is responsible for so much more.
Your home’s foundation is tasked with insulating against the cold, keeping moisture at bay, and resisting the movement of the surrounding earth. And—legitimately—a foundation should last forever. If you or anyone you know has ever had to contend with foundation issues and repair, you know about the mental and financial stress that may result.
So yes, your foundation is critical to the functioning and longevity of your home. And of course, like everything else to do with building and remodeling or renovating, you will have a decision to make: slab, crawlspace, or basement. Which is the right choice for your project?
Our team has been building homes and additions for many years, and we have vast experience with all three foundation types. We know the pros and cons of each and will be happy to discuss the options with you in greater detail and help you determine which is right for your home and family.
Slab on Grade
A slab on grade is likely the easiest and fastest and definitely the least expensive foundation option. Once the home site is leveled out—or brought to grade—a simple wood form is built and concrete is poured. The result is a solid slab of concrete, between 4 and 8 inches thick, upon which a home is built. Slab foundations are reinforced with steel rods, and the home’s drainage pipes are laid out in a grid before the concrete is poured. Overall, slab foundations are the most common type of foundations in the United States.
Aside from how quick and easy it is to pour a slab foundation, since there is no space for air to exist between it and the house, houses built on slabs are impervious to mold and termites. Both are potential issues in warmer climates and that’s why you very seldom see anything but slab foundations in places like Florida.
That same lack of airflow, however, means that slab-based homes can warm up quickly and uncomfortably. Slab foundations offer little to no protection against flooding, and repairing damaged pipes embedded in the concrete can be expensive and messy. They also lack the storage and living spaces provided by other foundation types.
Crawlspaces are another popular option, especially in areas with soil that is difficult to move and work. The space between the ground and the home built above it is usually no more than 3 to 4 feet. It is technically the concrete pillars (or footings) at the perimeter of the crawlspace upon which a house is built.
Crawlspaces do an apt job at protecting a home from floodwaters and shifting earth, and they can help cool a home in the summer months. They also provide limited storage space best dedicated to outdoor items.
But the ventilation that helps cool a home in summer can make winter heating more expensive. Trapped moisture can lead to mold, and there’s plenty of room for critters, including termites. Crawlspaces should be insulated and sealed, which may add extra time to your building schedule and additional costs to your budget.
Basements come with lots of benefits—although they may take longer to excavate, pour, and cure. basements are the most expensive foundation option, but they provide extra storage space and usable square footage. The open underground area of a basement also helps cool homes during hot summers.
In addition to being considerably more expensive than crawlspaces or slabs, they are also prone to flooding, moisture, and mold, especially in certain climates and geographies.
Our team can help you weigh the options, examining both your property and the needs of your family, to arrive at the best possible solution.
For more information, call us or click here to schedule your complimentary, no-obligation consultation.