Image by Jon Hurd
Many homeowners forget to consider house foundation types when planning for the construction of their new home. Although hardly visible if at all, foundations are important elements of construction. They provide the necessary support for the home by holding the weight of the entire structure – the roof, walls, floors, and all furniture and fixtures. Depending on how a house foundation is built, it can also help avoid mould growth, keep away termites, and lessen energy consumption.
Here are the basic foundation types commonly used in homes.
Crawl spaces are the most common type of foundations, as they are suitable for all climates. Sometimes called raised foundations, they are built above the ground with just enough space underneath. This space provides access to fixtures such as pipes, and mechanical installations, and it creates room for mechanical maintenance in the house. While they are not used as living spaces, a crawl space can also be used as storage for small items.
Crawl space foundations come with great benefits, but there are important factors to consider when building them. Dampness is one such factor. It is important to note that items placed in crawl spaces are susceptible to mould and mildew growth due to water vapour seeping from the ground. It is best to build crawl spaces with barriers that will protect the interiors from dampness and prevent odour, spores, and pests from entering the home.
Basement foundations are most commonly used for homes in colder climates. Unlike crawl spaces, a basement can provide additional living spaces in homes. They can be completely enclosed, or they can be partially enclosed with windows and doors framed into the structure.
Although not a popular option in Australia, if the house has the right climate and water table for it, a home in Australia can benefit from having basement foundations and use underground space for a variety of purposes, such as basement parking.
Slab foundations are more common in warmer locations. After digging perimeter footings then removing and grading some soil, builders pour concrete directly into the soil to create cement slabs.
Despite a few disadvantages to using slab foundations, many still favour slabs, especially for development projects, because materials for slabs are affordable, and the foundations are easy to build. They also function as good insulators, and they prevent all forms of wildlife from nesting under homes.
Pier foundations are a popular choice when a limited budget is a significant factor in construction. With the house built on a foundation elevated from the ground, the space underneath allows access for electrical and plumbing maintenance.
When not ventilated properly, they are susceptible to mould growth, and wooden floors on houses with pier foundations are more prone to rot. But many still opt for pier foundations because of their advantages. Aside from being affordable and durable, unlike other foundation types, pier foundations can easily be used on sloped sites. They are also regarded as an environmentally friendly building option for homeowners.
Still not sure which foundation type would be best for your home? Contact us. We’d be happy to help.