Pros & Cons of different Foundations

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When building a new home, which foundation is the best choice? I offer the pros & cons of the typical three choices.

Slab Foundations

Pros:

- Least expensive to build

- No moisture/humidity to deal with under sub-floor

- Easy access for handicapped or senior persons, since very close to ground level

Cons:

- Hard surface, takes a toll on your body/joints - Difficult to run additional wires/pipes

- HVAC typically located in the attic (unconditioned space)

- A leak in a water supply line in the slab is very expensive to fix

- Entrance at ground level, not as eye appealing

- High likelihood of radon issue (can be easily mitigated)

- More prone to wood destroying insect issues, since close to ground




Crawlspace Foundations

Pros:

- Able to install additional wires/piping easily if needed

- Wood floor structure is softer than concrete

- Entrance higher off ground, more eye appealing

- Easy access for repairs

- Less likely to have a radon issue (on ventilated crawlspaces)

Cons:

- Moisture issues (water & humidity) are a major issues, creates fungus growth & rot

- Easy access for unwanted pests

- HVAC in unconditioned space




Basement Foundations

Pros:

- Able to install additional wires/piping easily if needed

- Wood floor structure is softer than concrete

- Easy access for repairs

- Entrance higher off ground, more eye appealing

- HVAC is located in conditioned space (more energy efficient)

- Additional storage/workshop

- Inexpensive additional square footage, can be finished at a later time

- Increased re-sale value of home & increased buyer appeal

- You can build on a sloping grade

- Provides shelter during extreme weather (tornado’s, hurricane’s, etc)

Cons:

- Most expensive to build (compared to a slab or crawlspace)

- Need a sloping lot to build a walkout basement

- Higher likelihood of radon issue (can be easily mitigated)


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Building Tip

"A solid concrete foundation will out-perform any other type of foundation. It is stronger and more difficult for moisture to pass through it."

Solid Concrete Foundation

The basement is the preferred foundation of choice. It is inexpensive additional square footage that can be used as finished living space, storage, mechanical rooms, etc.

INSPIRING THOUGHT

One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree.
“Which road do I take?” she asked
“Where do you want to go?” was his response
“ I don’t know” Alice answered
“Then” said the cat “it doesn’t matter.”

~ Lewis Carroll