The foundation of your home might be constructed of any one of several materials, and the type of foundation can vary, too. The foundation a home builder will use will depend on a variety of factors including the type of soil under the house, the geographical location of the home, and the size of the structure.
Today, the majority of houses are built with a raised perimeter foundation that helps provide support for load-bearing walls and the home’s floors. Some houses are built on a large concrete slab that is the base of the home, as well as the ground floor of the structure.
In some cases, a home may also feature a traditional pier and beam foundation with such foundations being the most common in older homes. Interestingly, some homes actually feature multiple styles of foundations, but most homes will feature one of three distinct styles when made of concrete:
In warm climates, the foundation is often an “all in one” style of foundation where the foundation, the slab, and the footing (that’s the bottom part of the foundation that provides support) are all one unit.
Alternatively, the foundation may feature a conventional perimeter foundation where the construction crew pours a concrete wall that is supported by concrete footing (remember, the footing is the bottom of the foundation). Each of these types of foundations is reinforced with steel rods known as rebar.
For areas where rain and flooding are common, as well as areas near the coast, raised foundations help protect the home from water damage. However, these foundations do require careful planning because they must support a significant amount of weight.
You’ll usually see one of two types of raised foundations: pier-and-beam or stem wall. A pier-and-beam foundation features a series of concrete blocks that stand on footings that provide reinforcement. Sometimes brick blocks are used.
A stem wall foundation is almost the same, but the footings below the piers aren’t separate and form a continuous line of support under the beams.
One interesting type of foundation that isn’t as familiar to most homeowners is a permanent wood foundation. Manufacturers will treat wood with preservatives that help the wood resist decay. This lightweight option is moderately easier to install, and they’re also moisture resistant, which can help in humid areas.
Understanding your home’s foundation type can help you remain aware of various foundation problems that are common for your type of home. Catching foundation problems quickly before they have a chance to impart major damage to your home is important. Not only can you keep an eye on your foundation by inspecting it visually each season, but you can also have a foundation expert take a look with a yearly inspection. Now that you have a better understanding of your foundation type, it’s important to know the signs of a failing foundation.
Do you need residential foundation repair? Is it time to renovate your business property with some commercial foundation work? Contact the experienced foundation experts at S&W Foundation to see how we can help with your foundation needs.