All buildings, may they be small suburban homes or a large shopping mall or school, are built upon foundations. And in the case of homes in particular, there are some popular and effective foundation models that contractors may choose from when constructing a home on a plot of land. Later, if a homeowner is suffering from foundation failure, foundation repair companies can be called upon to fix these foundation issues, whatever they may be. And during construction, a certified geologist on staff can be consulted to check which foundation types are safe to build in an area. Due to various soil types, proximity to fault lines, and more, a certified geologist on staff must be present, or else a foundation may be in trouble. A certified geologist on staff will know what foundation types are safe to build, and where, helping make a foundation a good investment for the home. What are some of these foundation types?
Common Foundation Models
A number of foundation models are used in the United States today in the construction industry, and four in particular are commonly used. The first is the stone slab model, which is possibly one of the simplest but most practical models. It is simply that: a slab of concrete upon which a house is built, and most Texas homes younger than 50 years old are built on them. These simple foundations lack some of the features of other foundation types, but homeowners may appreciate their reliability and ease of use.
The second foundation type is the crawlspace. It gets this name from the elevated platform that it provides for the home, and the 18″ tall space underneath it. This space is where homeowners and workers alike may crawl to access different parts of the foundation and plumbing for inspection and repairs, and this can be very convenient. What is more, this elevated platform means that flood water may pass right under the house without getting inside, and this can be an attractive feature for homes built in flood-prone areas.
The third common model is the pillar and beam foundation. These foundations also have a crawlspace, but they are built upon stone and wood pillars and beams (hence the name) for added support. These foundations are popular and price-friendly to construct, but since the pillars do not go very deep into the ground, earthquakes may badly damage them. Home construction crews are advised to consult a certified geologist on staff before building this foundation type, to ensure that no nearby fault lines may create strong enough tremors to compromise that foundation.
Basements are the fourth major foundation type, and they are known for adding a lot of square footage to the house. Basements serve for both storage and for a living space if so desired, and they are also resistant to earthquakes and to fire. However, due to their open space and how deep they are, basements are known for suffering from water damage sometimes. Foundation repair for basements often involves water intrusions.
A crawlspace allows room for a workers to get underneath and diagnose problems with the foundation or the plumbing, while a basement may need plumbers and foundation experts to seal water ingresses. Very old foundations, those dating back to the early 1900s or earlier, were built out of limestone brick and mortar, and they bulge inwards over time due to water-heavy soil pressing on them. These bulging, deformed walls tend to develop cracks that leak water, too. These walls can’t be forced back into shape, but contractors may put up concrete walls that contain these bulges and their water leaks.
Meanwhile, a basement may get a lot of flood water inside if the foundation is leaking, and a house in flood-prone areas may often suffer from this. Foundation experts can be called upon to seal any leaks in the foundation, and plumbers can take care of the rest. Expert plumbers can install a sump pump, as well as channels that redirect standing water to those pumps, and sump pumps will draw water out of the basement. Plumbers may also fix leaking or damaged pipes on the basement’s ceiling that drip water, helping prevent flooding in the future. Standing water damages furniture and stored items and erodes concrete over time.