The Most Common Options for Concrete Foundations
The concrete foundation Cedar Rapids homes are built on must be strong enough to withstand the weight of your home as well as provide protection against water, insects and other potential damages that may increase the risk of structural damage. There are three basic types of foundations that are used in the construction of a home; slab foundations, basements and crawl spaces.
A slab foundation is a concrete foundation that is built directly on the soil; without a basement or a crawl space. Slab foundations are common, especially in areas where the soil conditions are not suitable for a basement. They are frequently used in warmer areas where the depth between the soil and the underlying rock is very shallow. Slabs are one of the quickest and least expensive forms of concrete foundation in Cedar Rapids because they require less materials as well as less in labor cost.
This type of foundation consist of a concrete slab that is usually 6-8 inches thick and embedded with a grid of supporting metal rods, known as rebar. Even on properties with a basement foundation for the house, other slab foundations are often laid for use as the base of structures, such as pole barns, sheds or garages. A slab is the least expensive of the three primary types of foundations, but they do not provide any utility or storage space, because the house sits directly on top of the concrete platform.
One of the main disadvantages of a slab foundation is that if they crack in settling, they are often difficult and expensive to repair. Plumbing lines may protrude from the soil upward and through the concrete, which may also be expensive to repair. In areas where the underlying soil is prone to excessive expansion and contraction or the soil is thick, cables are embedded to help provide better horizontal support and to help minimize the width of cracks.
A basement is a type of concrete foundation in Cedar Rapids that includes an accessible space between the bottom of the first floor of your home and the soil. A basement foundation provides additional living space below the house and below ground elevation. Basically a basement is a slab foundation with a floor and walls. They are often built in areas with a cold weather climate, such as Iowa.
A basement foundation is installed in an opening that is approximately 8 feet deep, however, some homeowners request a basement that has 9-10 feet deep walls in order to increase the height and volume of usable space. The floor and walls are built first, then the house is built over a basement ceiling. The best benefits of basement foundations is that they provide additional space for mechanical systems, storage and utilities that are not available with slab or crawl space foundations. One of the primary disadvantages of a basement is that because it is mostly below the ground level, it is vulnerable to water leakage, flooding and mold formation. A basement in an environment prone to snow and rain typically has a working drain and pump in the floor to help prevent flooding.
Crawl Space Foundations
A crawl space is an area between the bottom of the house floor and the soil. A crawl space concrete foundation in Cedar Rapids is either built at ground level or on top of a shallow excavation. When an excavation is used it is usually between 36-40 inches deep, however, it may be more or less deep. A well-built crawl space foundation will have a load-bearing concrete perimeter wall and either steel or concrete piers, both of which have footings that are below the freeze line of the soil. The crawl space should also have a durable barrier over the soil to provide moisture control.
A lower quality crawl space is less expensive to install, but it does not have any load bearing perimeter walls, no moisture barrier and the piers have shallow footings. A crawl space that is enclosed by either a wall or skirting must have vents on each side in order for the air to circulate and keep the soil dry. Installed vents must also be configured to prevent the entry of rodents, snakes and other creatures. A crawl space is often used in areas where the soil has a heavy clay content that may cause damage to a slab foundation.
The primary advantages of a crawl space foundation is that the plumbing lines for the house are easily accessible and any foundation settlement problems that may occur are easier and less expensive to repair than with a slab. The main disadvantage of a crawl space is if they are not maintained properly, water and pests can enter and cause significant damage.
Need more information about which type of concrete foundation will be the best option for your home or other structure? Contact
Kelly Concrete Co., we will be happy to discuss your options and recommend the best foundation for your needs.