Foundation Education! What’s the Best Foundation Type for You?

Building a basement, the right way will give you a strong, stable house and provide you with additional living space at a bargain price. Using your basement to its full potential is a wonderful way to build value in your home.

A foundation transfers the load of a structure to the earth and resists loads imposed by the earth. A foundation in residential construction may consist of a footing, wall, slab, pier, pile, or a combination of these elements. 

While there are several types of foundations on the market, each has its own benefits and drawbacks to consider. There are four main foundation types: full basement, crawl space, concrete slab, and a walkout.

The Crawlspace

A crawlspace is a building base that uses a perimeter foundation wall to create an under-floor space that is not livable; the interior crawlspace elevation may or may not be below the exterior finish grade. It is an unoccupied, unfinished, narrow space within a building and can be a great way to save money when building a new home.

This type of foundation is often preferred in moist climates, as the home is typically elevated from the damp ground. In moist areas, your municipality may require a crawlspace; so, you should absolutely check with your local authorities about foundation requirements. Your crawlspace is a fully insulated, heated space that can be wonderful for your mechanicals and storing off-season items!

The Slab

A slab on grade with an independent stem wall is a concrete floor supported by the soil independently of the rest of the building. The stem wall supports the building loads and, in turn, is supported directly by the soil or a footing.

It is normally used in warmer regions with little or no frost depth but is also used in colder climates when adequate frost protection is provided.

A slab-on-grade means no basement, no basement walls, just one slab of concrete on which you build your house. … All the electrical, plumbing, and other mechanical infrastructure you will have to do anyway throughout your house. This means you will need a room set aside in your living space for a water heater, furnace, etc.

The Full Foundation

A full 8 ft. foundation is an amazing way to almost double the usable square footage of your home. It is a budget-friendly way to gain some extra living space! Modular homes are intended to go on a foundation with a frostwall, so a full foundation is a wonderful option! Full foundations are fully insulated. Another great way to make this a beautiful space in your home is to adjust the height of your basement. Many customers now opt for a 9’ basement height to keep their basement feeling light and airy.

Plan your basement like the rest of your house by thinking through what you want it to be and what you want it to do. If you do this, you’ll be building a basement that adds usefulness and value to your home.

The Walk-out

A walkout basement is exactly what it sounds like: a basement you can walk out of… Often the home’s lot has a slope to the rear of the property where the walkout basement will have access to the backyard, and it may have a raised patio or covered roof from the upper floor of the house.

The advantages of a walkout basement are clear: easier access to the basement, more natural light, and the potential to add a basement apartment or in-law suite.

A walkout basement increases the value of your home in several ways. While a walkout basement does not technically increase the square footage of your home, it does up the value when you sell it. A realtor will include the overall square footage of the house. Additionally, they will indicate the additional “liveable” space in the basement.

Generally, a walkout basement is simply more desirable as it adds to the liveable space of your home. You benefit from transforming the walkout area into a variety of different spaces that you wouldn’t be able to with a traditional basement.