Foundations During a Hurricane: Ranked Strongest to Weakest
For homeowners in the Southern and Eastern United States, the hurricane season brings unpredictability and potential peril. While preparations often include stocking up on essentials and devising evacuation plans, an overlooked yet crucial aspect is safeguarding your home’s foundation. Here, we’re going to discuss the four different foundation types, ranking them based on their resilience to hurricane forces. By understanding these variations, you can better prepare and protect your home from the ravages of these natural disasters.
The Role of Your Foundation in Hurricane Resilience
Before diving into the different types of foundations, it’s important to understand why the foundation is so critical during a hurricane. The foundation is essentially what keeps your home anchored and stable. In the face of high winds, heavy rains, and flooding, the type of foundation your home has can significantly influence its ability to withstand these harsh elements. Let’s explore the strengths and weaknesses of various foundation types, and see how Groundworks can enhance their resilience to protect your home.
1. Concrete Slab Foundations: Durability Against Hurricanes
Concrete is one of the most durable building materials around. There is a reason many buildings, driveways, and sidewalks are built with concrete. Hurricanes bring heavy winds and lots of rain – which concrete can easily withstand thanks to its hefty structure. Plus, your concrete slab sits underground, offering even more protection against heavy winds. Due to their strength and location, concrete slabs are naturally resistant to hurricane damage.
One thing to keep in mind is how rain affects the soil surrounding your concrete slab. In some cases, high amounts of rainfall can cause soil washout to occur. During this process, the soil becomes soft, mushy, and eroded. This can make it difficult for the soil to support the massive weight of your concrete slab. Over time, the slab foundation may sink into the weakened soil and lead to foundation damage. Groundworks addresses this with innovative pier systems, ensuring your concrete slab remains stable and secure even in extreme weather.
2. Pier and Beam Foundations: Pros and Cons in Coastal Storms
If you live on or near a beach community, you’ve likely seen houses built on stilts high above the ground. These foundations are known as pier and beams, and they can provide great protection during a hurricane. Since hurricanes come from the coast, they often cause flooding. Pier and beams keep homes protected from the rising water. However, homeowners should be aware of what material their pier and beam foundation is made from, as this can make or break the beams supporting your home – literally.
Pier and beams only made from wood will likely experience wood rot when exposed to flood water. Furthermore, wooden beams can be easily broken by strong winds and water pressure, especially when homes are located right on the coast. When built with reinforced concrete, these beams withstand these forces more efficiently.
3. Basements and Hurricanes: Risks and Protective Measures
Basements offer a ton of extra space for your home, but they may not fare well during a hurricane. As mentioned before, hurricanes have the potential to bring flooding and heavy rain into your area. All of this water damages the ground and may seep below the surface.
Unfortunately, your basement can’t defend well against a buildup of water pressure and damaged soil. Eventually, basement walls will crack and allow water to leak inside. In the worst-case scenario, a flood might overpower all of the basement walls, causing massive damage to your foundation and home.
Groundworks has plenty of options to keep your basement protected. These include a sump pump, interior drain, or wall support system. All of these solutions work to waterproof your basement. Not only do they help avoid damage from a flood, but they continue to protect against mold and condensation from developing in your basement. Hurricanes may bring water into your basement, but these tools mitigate the damage this natural disaster can inflict.
4. Crawl Spaces in Storms: Vulnerabilities and Defense Strategies
Crawl spaces are at the most risk for damage during a hurricane. While these foundations lift your house from the ground by a few feet at most, flooding water can still easily reach your home. Crawl spaces are also quite unprotected from outside elements; they contain open vents and doors which allow water and air to easily penetrate the area below your home.
Furthermore, crawl spaces are usually built with wooden beams. If a hurricane floods water into the crawl space, the structure is put at risk for wood rot and mold – both of which can cause major damage to your home.
As with other foundations, Groundworks has solutions to help mitigate the amount of water that can get into your crawl space during a hurricane. These solutions include vapor barriers, sump pumps, vent covers, and drainage systems.
All of these prevent water from building up in your crawl space, even during a heavy storm. We also have crawl space support beams that give your crawl space extra strength so it can withstand heavy winds brought on by hurricanes. Using all of these solutions together can provide your crawl space with premium protection against heavy storms.
Groundworks Can Help You Stay Prepared for Hurricane Season
No matter the type of foundation your home has, Groundworks is equipped with the expertise and solutions to protect it against hurricanes. Our team of specialists can tailor defenses to your home’s specific needs, ensuring that your foundation – and by extension, your home and family – are safeguarded against the destructive power of hurricanes. Contact us to learn more about our foundation solutions and start preparing for the hurricane season today.