The benefits of a slab foundation far outweigh the negatives, as long as you’re willing to live in your home. You will save a great deal of money when compared to excavating a foundation and constructing a concrete basement. Certain kinds of crawlspace, though, are much more expensive than just slab foundations. In addition, there’s also a considerable amount of work required once the foundation is in place.
Crawlspace soils vary widely. Some are loose and slip their way into the foundation. Others are tight and difficult to work. A qualified foundation slater should be used to determine the proper foundation slab for your home. If you’re not sure what kind of foundation slab to use, contact a local foundation contractor who can help you make the right choice.
Slab foundations require a lot less maintenance than do poured concrete foundations. Concrete slabs must be cracked, leveled, resealed and repaired continuously. This increases the cost of slab installation. The cost of poured concrete foundations is nearly double that of slab foundations. With proper planning, construction and periodic maintenance, concrete foundations can last for decades.
One of the best pros of slabs is that they are fireproof. All that moisture has to travel up through the earth and out through the floor of the house. Slabs are much more fire resistant than poured concrete foundations are. Plus, if slabs aren’t installed correctly or if they have cracks, water pipes can leak into the home, potentially causing damage.
There’s another benefit of slab foundations: they don’t require costly special drainage systems. With poured basements, you have to make sure your drains work and that they don’t get backed up with debris. With a slab foundation, all you need to do is make sure your footings have good levels and that your main sewer line is properly connected to your drains. A footing that’s not properly connected to your drains and sewers can lead to backups and seepage into the basement which can be very expensive to fix.
There are some cons as well of slab foundations though. One of the most obvious negatives is the fact that they are completely open to the elements. If there’s a leak in your home, you’re going to see evidence of it. If there’s a flood, it could end up disrupting the floor of your home. Slab foundations don’t have the insulation or structural options that concrete foundations do, so they are at risk to weather much worse.
A third disadvantage of a slab foundation is that you cannot pick out the style that you want. If you choose concrete as the building method, you are limited to what’s available. If you choose other building methods, such as wood framing or even ground level framing, you may not be able to get the look you want. In order to make a custom foundation that works for your home, you have to either choose a different building method altogether, or use a sloping foundation.
All in all, a slab foundation is a great choice for basements. Even though you can’t pick out the design, you can still choose the type of building method. Concrete foundations are the safest of all the options, since they are the simplest to install. All in all, they are the best choice for basement foundations. If your basement has a big drop off below grade, a concrete slab will keep water from getting into your basement and causing problems.
A fourth disadvantage of slab foundations is that they take up a lot of space underneath the ground. If you place a slab foundation in an area with a lot of trees, for example, you’ll probably need to dig up a lot of soil to place the foundation. This means more excavation, and more time spent above ground. The extra time spent above the ground level could have been better spent or utilized elsewhere. Plus, once you have the foundation set up, there’s no further digging needed; thus, saves you money in the long run.
Finally, slab foundations are the cheapest around. If you compare the cost against other basement foundation options, such as concrete and wood framing, it comes out almost even. With concrete, the cost can go up to three times as much as with wood, and with wood framing, the cost goes up four times as much as with concrete. The reason for this is because you need to purchase lumber and concrete in large quantities. Even if you can get your supplies at Costco, the cost of shipping is still going to be expensive, and if you’re shipping all of your supplies yourself, it’s going to take a long time to complete the job.
All in all, slab foundations are a great choice when it comes to basement structures. They offer a clean, simple look that matches just about any type of interior decor. They’re simple to install, easy to handle, and usually less expensive than alternative options. And best of all, you can customize your slab foundation any way that you like. If you don’t like the look of your poured basement floor plan, you can pour the flooring yourself, and have it look just like your friends’ basements!