The foundation is the most important part of a building. It creates the necessary support to build on, and without a solid, strong foundation, your building will be weak and possibly unsafe. As you build a structure, it’s important to decide what type of foundation you may require. To determine which foundation is best, you need to know what is the difference between a slab foundation and a pier & beam foundation. Slab foundations and pier and beam foundations are two very common types of building foundation, but they both have benefits and drawbacks. So, what is the difference between a slab foundation and a pier & beam foundation?
A pier and beam foundation is created by setting wooden or concrete piers or posts into the ground and resting the house on top of the piers. The piers keep the house about 18 inches above the ground, creating a crawl space underneath the house. This foundation style was most commonly found before the 1970s though it continues to be a popular foundation option today.
Benefits to a pier & beam foundation include:
- Easy access to pipes and wiring under the house which is generally easier and less expensive to repair
- Space under the home allows extra insulation to be added
- Less vulnerable to shifts in the ground
- Damage to foundation is easier to find and fix
Downsides to a pier & beam foundation include: Slab Foundation
- More susceptible to termite damage
- Vermin and rodents can make a home in the crawl space
- Water sitting under the house can lead to mold and mildew
- Pipes are susceptible to freezing
- Not a good option for large structures
A slab foundation is literally a poured concrete pad that is several inches thick and reinforced with steel beams and wire mesh. This kind of foundation rests directly on the ground. Slab foundations became popular in the 1960s and continue to be a popular foundation option today.
Benefits of a slab foundation:
- Quick and inexpensive to build
- Vermin can’t live under the building
- Pipes are laid into the concrete so they can’t freeze
- Can support large amounts of square footage
Drawbacks of a slab foundation:
- Access to pipes in a slab foundation is difficult and can be very expensive to fix
- Concrete is susceptible to cracking and damage from seasonal movements
- Damage to a slab foundation is more difficult and expensive to access and repair
If you are looking at building or new construction, we can help you determine what the best foundation for your needs is. Also, if you suspect damage to your current foundation, give us a call. With our experienced and dedicated team of foundation repair experts, we can help make sure your home is stable and safe for years to come.