When repairing or building a home, you need to pay special attention to the foundation it sits on. A house foundation is an integral part of the home that will last forever and needs special attention during construction and repairs.
What Is Their Purpose?
At first sight, it may seem that a foundation’s primary job is to hold the house above the ground. However, they are also in place to keep moisture out, insulate against the cold, and prevent the house from shifting during ground movement. Plus, they are built to last forever. Because of their importance, they need to be taken seriously. Without a good foundation, your house would fail.
What Is a Good Foundation Made From?
Today, good means steel reinforced concrete footings and foundation walls. However, older houses may also have perfectly acceptable foundations made from stone, mortar, or brick.
How Are They Made?
Obviously, the first steps to make a foundation include digging down into the earth, erecting forms, and pouring concrete. Additionally, contractors will take extra steps to customize the foundation for each building site’s specific soil conditions, water table, and backfill.
Are Plumb and Level Important?
When the foundation is poured, the slab should be level, and the walls should be plumb. This is important because it adds extra strength and ensures that the framing will be supported.
Are Slabs Different?
Slab foundations, or ones without the basement walls, are also made with concrete, although it is poured over crushed rocks. The rocks lift the home off the ground and add insulation against frost that would otherwise come from the basement.
Why Do They Fail?
There are several different reasons that a foundation would fail. The most common include nonporous backfill, rushing the cure, insufficient compacting, and interrupting the pour.
What Are Some Fun Facts?
Most foundations support around 50 tons of building materials. To do this, they have to weigh in at an average of 15,000 pounds. Because of the number of materials and labor that goes into a foundation, they can cost about 15% of the total project value.
In the United States, more than 80% of homes have poured concrete foundations, while the rest have blocks and other previously mentioned materials. Additionally, the type of foundation varies by region, with the Northeast and Midwest preferring full basements and the South and West using mostly slabs.
Foundations are a critical part of any home. Before you start building or construction on a house, you will want to make sure you know as much as possible about them.