Every single home is built on a foundation. If home foundations didn’t exist, your house would simply wash away with heavy rain or shift and fall apart every time the earth moved. Luckily, house foundations were invented, so we don’t have to worry about it when poor weather rolls in.
However, not all house foundations were created equal. There are different types of foundations used for varying home needs. For example, homes built in soft and wet soil near wetlands and homes constructed in rolling hills in colder climates may require different house foundation types because of the difference in climate and terrain.
Let’s start from the bottom and work our way up.
In this article:
- What is a house foundation?
- How many types of foundations are there?
- What are the 3 types of house foundations, and how do they differ?
- What kind of home foundation is best for a house?
What is a house foundation?
House foundations are one of the most critical aspects of home construction. After all, the entire house will sit on top of it!
A home foundation is the lowermost, load-bearing portion of the house built below, slightly below, or directly on the ground. The foundation supports the structure to keep it level, keep it from moving about, and protect it from water, soil, and other destructive items found in the ground.
How many types of foundations are there?
There are three main types of foundations:
- Crawl space
- Concrete slab foundation
What are the 3 types of house foundations, and how do they differ?
There are many types of foundation for homes, though it’s likely your home has one of the top three types of foundations: basement, crawl space, and concrete slab foundation. We’ll walk through each of the three most popular house foundation types, starting with the foundation built deepest into the ground.
A basement house foundation is made of a hole dug seven to eight feet or more into the ground. A full basement is entirely underground, while a daylight or walkout basement is partially underground, commonly with windows or doors leading outside.
- Provides extra storage space.
- Offers flexibility to convert to living space.
- Offers security and shelter for storms.
- High return on investment due to the added square footage.
- The most expensive foundation to build and maintain.
- Prone to destruction from moisture, mold, and flooding.
- Require time and effort to manage and maintain.
- Homeowners who need extra room for storage or living space.
- Homes in dry and cold climates, like the Midwest.
- Hobbyists who need a bonus hobby room or storage space for extra toys.
The crawl space foundation is constructed of short concrete support pillars that are only three to four feet tall, lifting the home’s structure above the ground though without the whole living space a basement provides. Crawl space is sometimes called a “mini-basement” because of its short ceilings but extra space.
- Protects the home from flooding and moisture damage.
- Provides room for storage.
- Offers an unused space to store utilities like plumbing and electrical systems.
- More cost-effective than basements.
- Does not allow for additional living space.
- Flooding in the crawl space is destructive for store items and the home’s stability.
- May increase energy usage due to hot or cold air seeping through the ground floor.
- Sometimes attract unwanted pests and animals.
- Homeowners who need additional storage space.
- Homes built on weak soil, like red clay.
- Houses built on unlevel ground where a basement is not feasible.
Concrete Slab Foundation
A concrete slab foundation is made of concrete poured directly on the ground and reinforced with steel rods. There is no storage, structure, or access below the home with a slab foundation.
- Least expensive of the types of foundation.
- Most reliable and low-maintenance foundation.
- Fast and easy construction.
- Reduce the chances of destruction from moisture, termites, and pests.
- Does not offer storage space or additional living space.
- Complex and costly to repair and replace.
- Difficult to access plumbing systems built under the slab.
- Stable, flat land.
- Homebuyers with a strict budget.
- Homebuyers with a short timeframe.
- Homes built in areas with a high water table.
What kind of home foundation is best for a house?
The home foundation best suited for your house depends on a few factors within your control (like home design and budget) and those controlled by the land you’re building on (like climate and terrain).
Climate or the typical weather conditions present in a particular region over time, dictate many aspects of foundation selection due to weather patterns like storm trends and temperature patterns.
- High frost depth: Basement
- High susceptibility to tornadoes: Basement
- High susceptibility to hurricanes: Slab foundation
Like climate, your plot of land will impact the type of foundation best suited for your house. The terrain includes the physical features of a stretch of land, like rolling hills, flatlands, wetlands, or even clay or rocky soil.
- Dry soil: Basement
- Sloping land: Basement or crawl space
- High water table: Slab foundation
The design of your home can impact the best foundation type for your house. For example, a basement will provide additional living and storage space if you want square footage but don’t have acreage to expand your home horizontally.
Your budget will dictate the best type of home foundation for your new build. The most expensive house foundation is the basement foundation, a moderately expensive foundation is the crawl space, and the least expensive option is the slab foundation.
You’ll have many choices as you build your new construction home, but none are more important than the home foundation! Whether you need the extra space for storage or entertaining, or you want to have the most low-maintenance and cost-effective option, our team can help you choose a floor plan that’s right for you. Contact us today to see what’s new from Brock Built!