Types of Foundations for Homes

Home Foundation Image
Home Foundation Image

Types of foundations for homes is a trending topic with homeowners. Are you perhaps a new or existing homeowner? Both situations require you to investigate the different types of foundation structures and which one applies to your home. Each structure comes with its pros and cons. In this article, you will gain a basic understanding of the types of foundations utilized for homes, the pros and cons, including some common problems and solutions to those problems.

Types of foundation for homes:

In this first section, we will analyze some of the types and their pros and cons.

Concrete Slab- Used in many modern residential and commercial buildings, this foundation type is quite popular. It is especially beneficial to properties in soil that are not prone to frost or freezing. Typically, this type of foundation is a thick concrete slab laid directly onto the subsoil or supported on beam and block. A concrete slab requires formwork (or a mold) to ensure that the foundation is sturdy and withstands fresh concrete.

Three main types of slab:

  • T-Shape
  • Slab-on grade
  • Frost Protected
  • Post-Tensioned Slab

Pros: An adequately built concrete slab foundation can be solid and sturdy. Materials to make the formwork can be inexpensive, and there is a wide variety to choose from, such as wood, steel, and plastic.

Cons: The slabs cast directly on the soil are high-grade energy conductors; they can either gain heat or lose heat quickly. Temperature regulation can be an issue. Seasonal changes in moisture levels can cause the soil to expand, then shrink, and lastly dry out. For a more comprehensive understanding of slab foundation repairs, check out our guide on Slab Foundation Repairs.

concrete slab types of foundations
Concrete Slab Foundation

Crawlspace- This next type of foundation for homes belongs Pier and Beam family, a popular foundation type typically used in shallow lots of land/soil. This foundation elevates the home a few inches above ground level to be accessible for maintenance [on the utility services it is housing]. Dry regions, perhaps even prone to the cold or freezing, utilize this type of foundation. It requires less excavation or digging to build as opposed to basements, but it will need the foundation walls to be insulated, as it can allow cold air to blow in.

Pros: Crawlspace requires less excavation, can be used in lots that are sloped, great for shallow areas. A crawlspace foundation can give the home or business owner more options if you want to remodel. It also allows for ample space for utilities, piping, and electrical wiring. If there were ever any damage in your home, it would be more accessible than a concrete slab.

Cons: Crawlspace can be more expensive to build and maintain. This type of foundation needs to be inspected for mold and insects more commonly than other foundation types. If the crawlspace is in clay soil, it can become sodden and create cracks and shifts. Crawlspace encapsulation is typically needed if the foundation starts to get wet and soggy. When the crawlspace starts to accumulate moisture it can lead to many serious issues, such as, mold and damage to any surrounding wood.

Pier and Beam- Crawlspace and pier and beam are directly related to each other. A crawlspace can be a pier and beam foundation, and the most significant difference is that pier and beam can be elevated, not qualifying it as a crawlspace foundation. A good example of this would be a home built on the beach. Sometimes you might even be able to see the pier and beam; many people even refer to the home as being “built on stilts”. This type of foundation can be found in homes near the coast.

crawl space

Crawl space types of foundations in need of repairs

Crawlspace in need of repairs

Basement- Basements are similar to crawlspace foundations that require some digging in the soil. A basement goes much deeper (eight feet or more), to be precise. Of all the types of foundations for homes- basements are by far the most popular.

Pros: Basements can extend and anchor a foundation far below the frost line, adding additional square footage to your home. The depth of basements ensures the longevity of your foundation. It provides substantial storm protection, is energy-efficient, and is easily accessible. It’s no wonder why basement foundation is prevalent.

Cons: It is very costly to make and to repair. Flooding basements are very common if the proper preventative tools are not in place (i.e. waterproofing materials, the natural path for drainage). If basements are neglected, it can have moisture issues that lead to mold and a very costly repair to the homeowner. It is imperative to assure that you follow the 3 step method for repairing a wet basement, including structural foundation support:
1. Seal
2. Support
3. Drain

types of foundations flooded basement types of foundations for homes repaired with vapor barrier

Types of Foundations Repairs:

The next step is to learn about repairs for types of foundations for homes. Now that you have gained insight into each type of foundation, the following step is to know whether you have a foundation problem. Sometimes cracks begin to appear in your home; when should you be worried? Cracks and water damage are signs that a particular type of foundation repair is needed.

Foundation repairs:

House Leveling solutions

Steel Push Piers- Steel push piers are steel pipes used to lift and stabilize the home. The installation process for push piers is quite simple. Steel Push Piers can be installed in 6 easy steps; soil excavation, driving steel pipe, lifting and stabilizing the home, completing the pier, replacing the soil, and finally reverting the area back to its original state.

Helical Piers- Similar to push piers, helical piers are screwed into the ground and utilized for more lightweight structures that don’t have the force to push a pier down into the ground. As a result, smaller structures require it.

Read also: DIY Foundation Repair

Basement Wall Repair

I-Beam Wall Support-
Here at EPP foundation repair, we use a traditional method of I-beam Wall Support. I-beam ensures that the top of the I-beam is supported using lumber tied into the floor joists above it, with no outward force applied. The main goal is to prevent further inward movement, which will stop your basement walls from further bowing.

Carbon Fiber Wall Strap-
One of the strongest fabrics available right now is Carbon Fiber. The Carbon Fiber wall support is part of the market’s most vital patented system, and it ties to the foundation base and framing of the house. This fabric does not deteriorate, securing itself to the foundation wall, allowing for an even distribution of outside pressure.

How to choose a type of foundation

Choosing a home is one of the most exciting milestones in a person’s life. Part of that process includes finding the correct foundation that appeals to you and your needs. Ask yourself: What type of foundation do I see in my home? Do I see any signs of structural damage in the house now? How will this type of foundation affect me in 10-20 years?

In conclusion, understanding the types of foundations for homes is essential, not just for new homeowners but for all property owners. This knowledge can help you make important decisions about your home, and it can protect the integrity and stability of your home. If you think your home might have a foundation issue and you’re within our service area (Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri). Please don’t hesitate to reach out; contact us today for a free foundation inspection and estimate.

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Epp Foundation Repair

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