If you’re looking to build your own home, one decision you will have to make is which type of foundation you want your house to have. Differences in functionality, practicality, and cost can help you determine which kind is ideal for your plans.
A full basement is the most expensive yet most functional type of house foundation because it adds an entire level to your home that is available for living space. The structure consists of walls on foundation footings and is made of poured concrete or cinder blocks. Another type of basement is a daylight basement, which is built against a slope and allows for windows or doors on the sides. Basements are waterproof and durable under a wide range of weather conditions.
Two types of elevated foundations are crawlspaces or pier and beams. A crawlspace is a few feet off the ground and is made of concrete or brick walls on footings. They have less room than basements and are usually unheated, but they can still be used for storage. A pier and beam is over a foot off the ground and uses wood posts or concrete piers for support. This option has less room for storage but is less expensive. Both options are great for moist climates, while pier and beams should be avoided for areas prone to earthquakes.
Slabs are the cheapest type of foundation and the easiest to install. They consist of a flat concrete slab reinforced with steel and mesh. Drawbacks to this type of foundation include that they don’t provide any storage space and that water and drainage pipes are set into the concrete, making repairs difficult. Slabs are great for warmer climates and protect against termites, but they are not recommended for colder climates where the concrete can crack and shift.
Deciding which type of foundation your house will have is the first big decision you’ll make when planning to build your own home. Consult an expert in your area to help you make the best choice.