What is a House Foundation? | Home Foundations Explained
A building’s foundation is by far one of the most important aspects of any structure. A house is no different. Without a strong foundation, your dream house would come crumbling down to the ground with the first gust of wind, or at the slightest shift of the earth. Not all home foundations are created equal, as different demands on a home require different foundations. For example, a home in the flatlands of North Dakota that must endure frigid winter temperatures may require a different foundation than a home in Florida that must endure 150 mile per hour winds during a hurricane. Come with us as we explore what a home foundation is, and why home foundations are so important.
Why do houses have foundations?
Home foundations serve as the essential floor that a house rests on. The ground beneath us moves often and can stretch a home beyond its limits due to the fact that the ground does not move uniformly and at the same time. A home foundation not only works to keep the house level and still, but also insulate the home - keeping the moisture out, and the warmth in. Another important reason that a house will have a foundation is to keep it level. For example, if a house is on a hill, or uneven terrain, a perfectly flat foundation will allow the house to sit level, and not have you roll out of bed at night because your house sits at a 45º angle.
What types of home foundation are there?
Since each home is unique in terms of the ground that it is built on and the situations it might face, there are many different types of foundations, each which have their own benefits and drawbacks. Here are the most common:
Concrete Slab Foundation:
A concrete slab foundation is the most commonly used home foundation. Most commonly set between four to eight inches thick, these foundations are made up of poured concrete reinforced with steel rods, along with drainage pipes. These types of foundations are often low-cost and reliable but can become troublesome if a drain line is damaged. In addition, these types of foundations may not be suitable in places prone to hurricanes and flooding.
Basement foundations are built using a perimeter of concrete pillars to support the home’s structure above ground. These types of foundations can be greatly beneficial due to the fact that they provide additional square footage to the home and can provide a multitude of options on how the space is utilized. However, basement foundations come with drawbacks of their own. Basement foundations are the costliest option of all the home foundation types and is prone to issues like moisture, mold, and flooding.
Crawl Space Foundation:
Crawl space foundations are constructed of reinforced concrete pillars that stand only three to four feet high, effectively supporting the home above the ground. Not only does this type of foundation provide excellent ventilation, but it also provides a level of protection against minor flooding, making it a common option for areas that experience mild floods during the rainy season. This option also provides handy storage options but can become a problem if not sealed properly. Not only would a wet crawlspace result in damage of stored items, but can also be an issue if standing water begins to jeopardize the stillness of the ground the foundation sits on.
What is a Raised Foundation for a House?
Quite simply, a raised foundation is a foundation that sits above the ground. This is accomplished by building reinforced pillars that allow the house to sit above the ground. These pillars are often two to three feet off the ground which provides excellent ventilation and also provides protection against flooding. These raised foundations are also beneficial because they provide storage space for owners and prevents the typical warming that flat concrete foundations experience in the summer.
How Deep is a House Foundation?
Foundation depths vary depending on the dynamics of the house. Typically, a house with 8-foot walls will require a 4-inch thick concrete slab foundation. These 4-inch slabs are often poured to form two to four-foot-deep pillars. Often, gravel is poured between the beams and underneath the slab to allow proper ventilation and drainage. For homes with raised foundations, a concrete slab or durable foam is often used on the ground along with reinforced concrete pillars that plunge two to four feet in the ground that allows the house to set above ground.
Pulte Homes has over 65 years of experience and builds homes with the homeowner in mind. Not only will your Pulte home be built with you in mind, but our floor plans are flexible and customizable, which allows your home to flex to your needs. Our homes are built of the highest quality and come complete with a 10-year limited structural warranty. We build homes with the most secure foundations to ensure that your home is built to last, rain or shine.
Contributed to Your Home blog by Joshlin Grayson
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