We’ve done several blogs about basements, but we haven’t mentioned the two most common foundation types we encounter while inspecting in the Piedmont Triad. These include crawlspaces and slab-on-grade.
Crawlspaces are used in areas where holes have to be dug to a slight depth to get below organic material or frost depth, but the area is not tall enough to create a basement, or basement space is not desirable. Crawlspaces are often built very similar to basements. They may have continuous perimeter foundations or they may have piers.
Another basement configuration, slab-on-grade, occurs when a concrete floor slab is poured at grade level. There are several configurations of slabs:
- Floor slabs may be floating, or supported by the ground and independent of the perimeter foundation.
- Floor slabs may be supported, with the floor slab integrated into the foundation system for the building, in which case the foundation supports the slab.
- Floor slabs could be monolithic, where the slab is an integral part of the footing.
Slabs are typically concrete and may be reinforced, depending on how they’re built. They may be thickened, typically on the underside, to support the weight of interior load-bearing members such as columns. Alternatively, the column may go through the slab, and a separate footing may be provided for the column.
Whatever style of foundation you have, building a home without a solid foundation is like building a house of cards in front of a blowing fan. A house foundation doesn’t need to last a long while- it needs to last forever! The most crucial step when deciding on a solid house foundation is understanding your soil.