The construction of any home begins with the foundation, and a few different models exist for foundations today. Foundation failure or foundation issues most often arise when this construction is done poorly or if serious trauma strikes the house, such as an earthquake. However, having a certified geologist on staff can go a long way to preventing foundation repair needs. A certified geologist on staff for construction will know what sort of foundation is most secure and practical for the house under construction. What are the foundation types used in American homes today? What might a certified geologist on staff say about crawlspaces or pier and beam foundations?
One popular type of foundation is simply the slab style, a solid piece of concrete built into the ground. Most Texas homes younger than 50 years, for example, make use of this foundation type for its secure nature and lack of complications such as basement flooding. Other homeowners may want a basement in their home, however, or they may want a crawlspace that makes maintenance easier for utilities in the floor. For building these other foundation types, having a certified geologist on staff can be very helpful.
According to Home Selfe, for example, pier and beam foundations work best for smaller buildings. These foundations have a crawlspace in them that elevates the entire structure off the ground, allowing workers to easily access certain utilities for repair. Such foundations are both easier and cheaper to construct than some other foundation types, but the foundation is not set very deep into the ground. This means that in areas prone to earthquakes, for example, may not work well for this type of foundation. A certified geologist on staff can be consulted for this, and such an expert will know if an area is unsafe for this foundation type. But if pier and beam foundations are possible, they offer some advantages, such as the crawlspace for workers to use. Concrete and wood piers are set into the ground to help keep the home set up, and this can also help prevent flooding.
Another model is conventional crawlspaces. These, like pier and beam foundations, offer a space under the home for workers to crawl into, hence the name, and access utilities for repair. These foundations are a bit more expensive to build, but they may be more secure in the face of an earthquake. What is more, crawlspace foundations are ideal for homes built in areas prone to flooding and heavy rain, since the home will be elevated over the water.
Meanwhile, some homeowners prefer to have basement foundations. In this case, piers, walls, and concrete slabs are used to construct it, and such basements can resist intruding water as long as they are made well. These basements can be highly durable and resist trauma such as minor earthquakes or fire, which adds to their appeal. Finally, basements offer the sheer advantage of extra square footage in the home. This is an entire extra room, and a big one at that, for storage if need be. Basements have been known to be remodeled into a living space, and this can make a house feel much bigger. Homeowners with a lot of items to store, or those who want a large private space, can invest in a home that has a basement like this.
Of course, no foundation is impervious, and sometimes, foundation repair is needed. A basement, for example, may suffer from water damage if there are leaking pipes. Pipes can drip or spray water constantly if damaged, and this results in pools of water on the basement floor. Pooled water can erode the floor or walls over time, and this fosters mold growth as well. Older homes may have been built from limestone brick walls, and these outdated walls tend to bulge inwards over time due to pressure of water-heavy soil. Such walls can be contained when new, concrete walls are built to contain them. Foundation experts can also be called into seal up a basement from flooding water, especially if the home is in an area prone to flash floods or heavy rain. Sump pumps can also be installed to draw out water from a basement and remove it.