All buildings are constructed on top of foundations, from modest suburban homes all the way to shopping malls, and there is more than one way to build a foundation. Some models work best far away from fault lines and may be damaged by earthquakes, so a certified geologist in staff can be consulted to help avoid foundation failure. In other cases, a homeowner may need to call upon a foundation repair company if they are suffering foundation issues, and foundation failure is something to take seriously. Earthquakes, flooding water, or simple old age may contribute to foundation failure, so calling those professionals right away is the best course of action. And when a home is being constructed, the crews may have a few options as to how they construct that foundation. What might the finished project look like?
The Different Foundation Types
Four common models of foundations exist across the United States. One of them is the “slab” model, which is simply that: a slab of concrete upon which the home is built. This particular model has become popular in Texas, and most Texas homes younger than 50 years are built upon this model. A home with a stone slab foundation will be missing some of the features of other foundation types, but some homeowners may appreciate how simple and solid they are, reducing the chances of foundation failure in many cases.
Another type of foundation is the crawlspace, which is around 18″ high and provides an elevated platform upon which the house sits. The advantage of a crawlspace is that it indeed provides a space where an adult may crawl underneath in order to inspect the foundation, flooring, plumbing, and anything else down at that level. Repairs can be made much easier when a crawlspace is giving workers easy access to the floor. Another benefit is that these crawlspaces allow a place for flooding water to go without getting into the home, making these houses resistant to flooding. Homes in flood-prone areas may make good use of crawlspaces like this.
The third model is the pillar and beam foundation type. In this case, a crawlspace is also present, and this crawlspace is built upon a support system of wooden and concrete pillars an beams, hence the name. This foundation type has proven popular and cost effective, but home builders should note that the beams do not go very deep into the ground, and these foundations are heavily affected by earthquakes. Therefore, such foundations usually will not be built near fault lines. a geologist on staff can be consulted for this.
The fourth model is one of the most popular: basements. Many homeowners love basement foundations because they add a lot of square footage to the house, providing ample room for storage or living space alike. Basements are also resistant to both fires and earthquakes, making them a safe investment. These basements may be prone to flooding, however, and that is often their primary concern.
A foundation may suffer structural damage after a mild earthquake or other calamity, or plumbing or electrical wiring in the foundation may suffer problems. A crawlspace allows workers to get underneath and effect repairs, and a basement of course has more than enough room for workers to operate in. In the case of basements in particular, water is a major issue, and plumbers may be called upon to take care of this.
Very old foundations, those dating back to the early 1900s or even earlier, were often built out of limestone bricks with mortar. Over time, these foundations bulge inwards due to water-heavy soil pressing on them, and these bulging walls not only look unattractive but crack and leak water from the soil. A homeowner can call upon foundation experts to build a solid concrete support wall to contain this bulge and the leaks.
In other cases, a basement may leak flood water from the outside, or it may get water drips or sprays from faulty pipes in the basement’s ceiling. Plumbers can fix those pipes, and they can also install a sump pump (and channels that lead loose water to it), which will draw up loose water in the basement and deposit it outside. Foundation experts, meanwhile, can reinforce the basement to prevent further flood water from getting inside.