Among the many components that make up a house, the foundation is arguably the most important. Your foundation is the load-bearing structure on which your home is built. Without a proper foundation, your house could sink into the ground, causing structural damage.
If you’re planning on building a new home or remodeling your existing one, you might be wondering: what is the best type of foundation for a house?
The foundation you choose boils down to your priorities, preferences and, of course, your budget. You should also factor in the following:
- The design of your home
- Its location
- Its climate
- The soil type, moisture content and compaction
The answer to the question “what is the best type of foundation for a house” depends on what you prioritize. It’s important to consider the reliability, strength and cost of the material.
To help you with your research, we discuss three common types of foundations, their pros and cons and what is the best type of foundation for a house in terms of performance and cost efficiency.
Basement foundations are the deepest among the foundation types used in residential construction. A typical basement foundation is about seven to eight feet deep, with the bottom being a concrete slab.
Basement foundations can be further categorized into two types: full and daylight.
Full basements are built to match the length and width of the house above it. If your ground floor measures 1407 square feet, your full basement will measure around 1407 square feet. Meanwhile, a daylight basement is smaller, and it can be either fully or partially underground.
Pros of basement foundations:
- Can be built on a slope
- Provides additional storage space
- Can be converted into a living area
Cons of basement foundations:
- Most expensive to build out of all common types of foundations
- Potential for mold and mildew growth due to moisture and lack of sunlight
- Susceptible to flooding, particularly in areas that experience a lot of rainfall
- Risk of pest infestation
- High risk of cracks forming on basement walls
- Requires extensive maintenance
This type features exterior walls that stand on footings for support, elevating a home 18 inches or higher above the ground. The space created allows for easier access to wiring, ductwork and plumbing in case they need repair in the future.
Pros of a crawlspace foundation
- Ideal for sloped lots or uneven ground, as supports can be adjusted to create a level platform
- Less expensive than a basement since it requires less excavation
- Provides storage space for small items
Cons of a crawlspace foundation
- Prone to dampness; requires a ventilation system to reduce moisture
- Attracts pests such as termites, rodents, cockroaches and even raccoons and possums
- May allow cold air to enter the home through the subfloors and sub-joints if not insulated well
Concrete Slab Foundation
According to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) Survey of Construction (SOC), 67 percent of new single-family homes in the U.S. were constructed on slabs. This is because concrete slab performs well despite being the least expensive of all foundation types.
A slab foundation is a heavy layer of concrete typically four to six inches thick. To construct it, very little excavation and preparation are needed. Some slab foundations contain steel rebar or post-tension cables to further reinforce and strengthen them.
Pros of concrete slab foundations
- Fast construction—concrete takes about seven to 28 days to cure
- Low risk of damage due to flooding, leaking or gasses like radon
- Protects from pests, as there are no gaps or spaces between it and the house
- Cost savings
- Fewer entry steps need to be built for the home
Cons of concrete slab foundations
- Extreme weather conditions, earthquakes and shifting soil can result in cracks, which require repair
- Damage can also occur due to encroaching tree roots
- Difficult to access for repairs to plumbing or heating
The Final Word: What Is the Best Type of Foundation for a House?
All types of house foundations have their own pros and cons. However, if you want a cost-effective foundation that provides adequate support to your home with minimal maintenance needed, then a concrete slab foundation may be the right choice for you.
Slab Foundation Repair Experts Serving DFW
HD Foundations is the go-to provider of superior slab foundation repair solutions in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and the entire DFW metroplex. Since our company’s founding, we’ve serviced more than 2,9000 properties throughout our service areas. For our clients’ peace of mind, we offer a lifetime foundation repair warranty at no extra cost.
To receive a free estimate, contact us today.