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Slab Foundations Explained

What Is a Slab Foundation?

A slab foundation is made of concrete and it is reinforced with steel rods. This type of foundation is built over soil-based areas and is usually four to eight inches thick. However, its edges are usually thicker than the rest of the slab to add strength to the perimeter. A slab is not poured in layers, but all at one time.  

After the concrete has cured, the structure can be constructed on top of it. This type of foundation is mostly used in parts of the county with warmer climates.

Advantages of Concrete Slab Foundations

Here are five reasons to select this type of base for a house:  

  1. Cures Fast:

    Concrete slab takes a short time to dry, and that means less downtime during construction. Your contractor won’t have to wait many days for the concrete to cure before they continue with the construction.
  2. Cost Savings:

    Whenever you build a slab foundation, you can save up to $10,000 off the cost of your house. You don’t have to factor in the cost of building the basement or crawl space.
  3. Protection From Pests:

    Concrete slabs also help keep termites and other crawling insects out as there is no open space underneath your home that they can use as a staging area.
  4. Less Prone To Floods & Leaky Gases:

    Because they’re watertight, slab foundations are less likely to suffer structural damage due to floods or allow radon gas to leak into your home.
  5. Fewer Steps:

    Homes with slab foundations are usually built closer to the ground than those with below-grade areas.

The Cons of Concrete Slab Foundations  

Even though not having anything under your home can make it difficult for termites and pests to get into your home, these nuisances can still enter through walls as the house rests closer to the ground. Because the ductwork runs through the ground, it has to be heavily insulated. If the slab cracks, it can compromise your home’s structural integrity, leading to costly repairs.

Another downside is that heating and cooling units may have to be set up on the floor. And this can take up valuable living space. That’s not to mention that there’s potential for cracks to develop. 

When Should You Use a Concrete Slab Foundation?  

Your contractor may recommend that you use a slab foundation in any of these three situations.

  • Flat Ground:

    If the land on which your home is built is flat, it makes sense to construct a concrete slab foundation. You might need to re-grade the land a bit if one side slopes more than the other.  
  • Shallow Bedrock:

    In some places, rock outcrops can be near the surface. This can get in the way of excavating a deeper foundation.
  • High Water Table:

    If the water table is near the surface, it makes sense to build a home on a concrete slab foundation as this won’t involve much digging.
  • Cost-Effectiveness:

    Construction costs money. If you’d like to bring down building costs, you can’t go wrong with a concrete slab. They’re cheaper than other types of foundations in addition to being durable and not requiring much maintenance work.  
  • Temperate Climates:

    If you experience moderate winters and mild summers, you won’t have to worry about the continuous crawl space ventilation debate. Creating a watertight seal on the ground to keep moisture out won’t reduce your utility costs.  

Environmental loads and other factors can wear out the foundation and cause it to crack. If you suspect that water is entering yours, contact Groundworks for a free foundation repair inspection. We’ll dispatch our experts to seal the crack and waterproof the foundation so it remains dry all year round. 

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