Learning More About Your Foundation

The word “foundation” means the base of something — which is exactly what your home’s foundation is for the rest of the house. When considering a foundation type, the construction crew must take into account the soil type and the weather conditions that are prevalent in your area, whether the foundation will hold up the building, and how effectively it can keep out water and soil gas. Whether you are looking to understand the construction of a new home or you are curious as to what type of foundation your current place has, Acculevel can educate you.


Compared to other foundation types, a concrete slab foundation is less expensive and quicker to pour. It is a slab of concrete poured directly onto a gravel bed laid over tamped and leveled soil. There is no space underneath it. Any plumbing or heating/cooling pipes are installed in the ground under the slab.

A slab foundation may mean cost savings, but it also has the disadvantage of being next to the soil, so there can be moisture issues in terms of runoff, heavy rains, and frost heaves. In this case, it is imperative that you make sure the foundation is as waterproof as possible and you have an excellent drainage system.

Crawl Space

A crawl space is built when the foundation has footing and very short walls. This is different from slabs because slabs have no walls or footing. A crawl space is susceptible to moisture problems so a vapor barrier is important. Crawl spaces are about equal to slabs in terms of protection from storms. When insulating a crawl space, do not use fiberglass insulation as it will collapse from moisture saturation.

All this may sound like a crawl space is the worst idea ever, but it does have one major advantage over a slab. It allows space for pipes, so your plumbing and heating/cooling pipes are not buried in the ground and are accessible for any needed repairs.


A basement is great if you want a finished area in which to hang out, a place for a washer and dryer, or a storage room. A basement is formed by digging deeper into the soil. It requires longer footings, which are required in many places where frost occurs because footings must be long enough to make it past frost lines.

Many people finish their basements so they have extra areas such as family rooms, movie rooms, or places to set up bars. Be careful when furnishing an area in a basement. You still need to make sure the area will remain dry; otherwise, you will end up with warped wood and moldy couches.

If you don’t mind the aesthetics, don’t put wall-to-wall carpet in a basement as it can trap moisture in the floor, which can lead to mold. Either leave the area bare or use area rugs that you can wash and air out periodically.


A pier foundation is not a continuous poured slab. It consists of concrete pads poured in areas needed to structurally assist with holding the building in place. They are placed outside the building and have vertical posts attached to them. These posts are connected to horizontal beams under the building.

Which is Best

There is no absolute answer to what type of foundation is best. It depends on what you want from your foundation — for example, do you want a basement? – and what is structurally sound for your geographical area and building design. Slab foundations tend to be more common in warmer states than in colder states because there is less danger of frost shifting the slabs. Consult your construction crew and building designer, and ask questions if you have a difference of opinion.

Acculevel Repairs Foundations

Basement and foundation specialists since 1996, Acculevel provides foundation repair solutions for the Midwest. We know what it means to live in an area that experiences heavy rains and major weather changes. If you have an existing building that needs foundation repair solutions such as sealing cracks, removing mold, or stabilizing the foundation, give us a call. We also are more than happy to give you a second opinion if you’re unsure about what foundation to lay when constructing a new home. For a free in-home estimate, give our friendly and knowledgeable staff a call at (866) 669-3349 or email [email protected].

Related Articles:
Top Ways to Avoid Foundation Problems
Types of Foundation for Your House
Warning Signs of Foundation Problems
What Do Freezing and Thawing Do to Your Foundation?
What Is an Anchor Foundation Repair?

Kelly Kater

Over her twenty year career, Kelly has worked in a wide variety of fields: secondary education, nursing, biology, elder care, the postal service, multicultural development, and academia. She has developed a skill for translating industry-specific jargon into everyday language. Her goal is to share the knowledge and experience of the Acculevel team with homeowners, in a way that is both engaging and informative.

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