When your home was built, your contractor had a choice as to what type of foundation the home would have. How did he or she make that decision? Was it the right choice? Different types of foundation are better than others based on the home’s size, predominant weather, and the geology of the area.
A full basement works well for the temperature and moisture conditions of the northeastern part of the United States. This area is not prone to flooding, and there are no arid conditions to cause soil to crumble or drastically contract after rainfall dries up. There also is the added advantage of creating more space to store things and hang out.
Walls for a full basement are constructed to go below the area’s frost line to keep water from freezing and pushing against the foundation floor. Basic slabs are not recommended for areas with freezing temperatures as slabs can crack and shift because of frozen soil and water. However, you can insulate the foundation floor under the slab, which can keep the concrete from hitting freezing temperatures and cracking and help prevent moisture from seeping into the basement.
The Southeast and Midwest
Crawl spaces are common in the southeastern and midwestern parts of the U.S. Like a basement, a crawl space has footing, but unlike a full basement, it has very short walls. Crawl spaces often are preferable to slabs as water and heating/cooling pipes are accessible via the crawl space. With slabs, the pipes are buried underground so if you need to fix piping, you’re looking at digging up the area.
Older crawl spaces are often left open to the elements around the sides because it is thought that air circulation helps with moisture issues. However, it’s now recommended that crawl spaces be sealed and insulated. Never insulate a crawl space with fiberglass insulation, as any moisture will make it deteriorate and sag. You also might install a vapor barrier to prevent moisture and soil gasses from entering the place. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, install a concrete slab over the dirt floor in the crawl space.
The South and Waterlogged Midwest
Where the water table is high, a slab may be the best choice for a foundation. Too much groundwater and moisture eventually affect a foundation, and the more foundation you have going down into the soil, the more contact it has with water. Homes with slabs located in water-prone areas should have drainage systems to prevent excess moisture from infiltrating the slabs.
The warmer temperatures in the South mean you don’t have to worry as much about frost heaves as you would owning a home in the northern regions. But it also means you won’t have extra storage space. However, if it’s a choice between storage space and a foundation that won’t break down, choose a reliable foundation.
What Water Damage Can Do
If you don’t have a foundation appropriate for your geographical area, you’re looking at future repair work. Moisture weakens foundations and basements that are not waterproof. This means cracks in the concrete, water spots, mold, and possibly bowed walls. A weak foundation can affect the rest of your home, too. The shifting can cause windows and ceilings to crack, floors to sag, doorjambs and windowsills to not be straight, and your entire home to not be level.
It’s important to have the right foundation, but if you have the wrong one and damage is occurring, hire a basement and foundation specialist to do the repairs.
Acculevel Provides the Best Foundation Repair
Since 1996, Acculevel has specialized in basement and foundation repair and waterproofing in the Midwest. Our employees are the best at what they do and have years of experience under their belts. We provide the best foundation repair in the area and encourage homeowners in the Midwest to give us a call to schedule a free in-home estimate. If you live in the Midwest, contact our friendly staff at (866) 669-3349 or email us at [email protected].
Warning Signs of Foundation Problems
What Do Freezing and Thawing Do to Your Foundation?
What Is an Anchor Foundation Repair?
What Is Foundation Shearing and Are Repairs Effective?
What to Do About Unwanted Animals Within Your Foundation