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How to Identify Which House Foundation You Have

Whether you’ve purchased your home or are looking into building your dream house, there are many components of the building’s interior that you should familiarize yourself with.

Today we’re going to explore the different types of foundations your home might have to help you understand and identify more about your home’s structure, including concrete slab, crawl space, basement, and pier foundations.

Related: How To Inspect Your Home Foundation

House Foundation 101

Why does it matter what type of foundation your home has?

Owning a home is one of the biggest investments a person can make, and the foundation of the building comprises the home’s structural integrity.

Without a healthy foundation, the future of the building is limited. Therefore, it is important to know about your home’s foundation and regularly inspect it for signs of deterioration.

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The type of foundation your home resides on is determined by several factors, including home location, local building codes, soil composition, water levels, and frost line. Soil composition plays a pivotal role in the health of the home since expanding and contracting foundation can cause foundation settlement, cracks, and damage.

Soil-related foundation damage often occurs due to fluctuating moisture levels and can be reversed with foundation repair services. It’s the homeowner’s job to keep excess moisture out of the home to ensure its lasting structural health.

Concrete Slab Foundation

A concrete slab foundation is considered standard, as it is the most common type of modern home foundation. How do you know if you have a concrete slab foundation?

Well, concrete slab foundations simply consist of concrete poured directly on the ground. After the foundation is prepared, the home is then constructed on top of this concrete base. Drainage pipes and steel rods are used for reinforcement, with the slabs measuring from 4-8 inches in width.

Homes constructed with slab foundations will not have space existing between the foundation and home. This means that there won’t be a basement or crawl space area underneath the structure. Instead, the home will rest directly on the foundation. This differentiates this foundation type from the others.

Many favor the concrete slab foundation due to its low construction cost. This option is by far the cheapest on the market, and it also provides a quick solution for home builders. Professional contractors can swiftly lay a concrete slab base, with its quick drying time making it easy to rapidly resume construction.

Additionally, the lack of air space between the foundation and home prevents pest infestation and mold growth. Since slab foundations are low-lying, it’s important to ensure the yard has proper drainage to prevent flooding and water intrusion. Additionally, this type of foundation is more susceptible to warming because of the lack of ventilation existing between the foundation and home.

Crawl Space Foundation

A second popular foundation option is the crawl space foundation. This foundation type is constructed on blocks with a small space existing between the floor joists and ground. For added reinforced, concrete pillars are used for structural support. Contractors prefer crawl space foundations when the soil presents digging difficulty.

You will know your home is constructed with this foundation if there is a space beneath the home that acts as a small basement area. Crawl space foundations typically leave an area of roughly 3 to 4 feet high beneath the ground and floor joists. Some use this space for storage.

Crawl space foundations are favored for being one of the most durable options on the market. They are particularly useful for homes located in areas that have a higher groundwater level. The elevated crawl spaces allowed for more protection against water intrusion, as well as better airflow in the warm months. Additionally, many appreciate the extra storage space that crawl spaces add.

While crawl spaces are particularly advantageous, they present a few issues to contend with. Though the ventilation of the structure is ideal in hot months, it can cause heating issues in the cold months. Fortunately, this isn’t an issue for people who live in warm regions.

Additionally, be sure to always seal and insulate your crawl space to prevent intrusive moisture and pest presence.

Related: Crawl Space Vapor Barrier


Basement Foundation

Does your home contain a basement? Well, many areas of the country turn to basement foundations to reap many benefits.

Basement foundations can be built with blocks or poured. Concrete pillars support the above-ground structure, leaving standing height space underneath the home. Basement foundations tend to be dug at least eight feet above the footing of the home, leaving sizable space beneath the home for living or storage.

Basement foundations are favored by many for the additional space they allow, whether for living or storage. This added square footage creates an ideal opportunity for renovations in the future.

Additionally, basements offer natural ventilation beneath the structure. This can prove handy when it comes to cooling the home during the warm season.
However, the many benefits of the basement foundation do come at a steeper price, as this is a more expensive type of foundation.

Additionally, you will have to familiarize yourself with maintenance issues to ensure that your basement is adequately cared for. To prevent water intrusion, basement flooding, and unwanted growths, yard drainage systems such as French drains can be extremely helpful to install.

Pier Foundation

A final type of foundation to discuss is the pier foundation. Pier foundation is often not the first choice, though it is a strong foundation solution. Instead, it is often recommended for lands that would have difficulty laying traditional foundations. You can rely on this foundation to be one of the most durable and long-lasting choices, as it offers tremendous support without many drawbacks.

Wondering if your home has a pier foundation? One of the best ways to find out is to check if there is a crawl space beneath your home. While concrete slab foundation rests directly on the ground, the other types of foundations will have space between the ground and floor joists. Pier and beam foundations have crawl spaces to serve for the electrical and plumbing line access.

While pier foundation might seem superior, it does come at a cost. Because it is the most expensive foundation solution, many homeowners only use it for smaller areas, such as detached structures or sheds.

Potential drawbacks include sagging or creaking floors and ventilation issues. However, these problems can be avoided by hiring top-grade contractors and keeping up with routine inspections and maintenance

Why Choose Us?

At California Foundation Works, it is our mission to equip your home with the safety and satisfaction you deserve.

Our team works to create custom solutions to satisfy all consumer needs while working within individual budgets. Interested in updating, repairing, or expanding any areas of your home?

Call today to book your complimentary home inspection so that we can get started on your home repair journey together!

Related: How To Know If Your House Needs Foundation Repair

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