When building a home, the foundation is one of the most important parts. Without foundation, there is nothing to build the walls upon. And without the walls, there is nothing for the roof to rest upon. So, the foundation is a necessity and must be stable.
The stability of the foundation often depends on the type of soil, the quality of the excavation, and the time allowed for the concrete to set. Several other factors are based on the location of the new home, especially if it is in an area that is prone to earthquakes or extreme weather conditions.
Types Of Foundations
There are three types of foundations, and they all need to be stable before a home can be built on them.
- Slab – These are usually 24 inches below the grade. They are the least expensive because they require the least amount of concrete and digging. They tend not to have many problems when prepped with helical piers and poured correctly. They are not safe choices for homes built in areas that are prone to tornadoes.
- Crawlspace – Homes with this type of foundation have a slab foundation with a footing but then blocks to support the walls. The main floor of the house is a few feet above the foundation so you can crawl on the cement, with the subfloor a few feet above your head. These are often prone to moisture issues.
- Basement – Concrete is poured into a hole that is at least eight feet deep. The floors are surrounded by poured concrete walls. These are the most expensive foundations, and they can be expensive to repair. Many people with basements need sump pumps to avoid issues with flooding.
Soil Conditions And Drainage
The condition of the soil will affect the quality and stability of the foundation. Before digging, the soil should be inspected by an expert who can determine whether it can hold a home. If the soil is unstable, the problem can lead to cracks in the cement foundation. This can happen when soil expands and contracts, which forces the masonry to crack.
It is important that the people who put in the foundation take time to look at the grading and the soil, as well as the situation with the groundwater. If your location gets excessive rain, you should look at ways to keep the excessive rainwater from settling around your foundation. Draining rainwater away from your home is vital to keep the foundation in top condition.
Grading And Excavating
When digging the basement space, it is important to remove all of the little debris that falls into the hole. These little pieces of debris can affect the grading process that needs to be precise before the cement foundation can be poured. Excavation contractors are the best choices for this job because they know how to excavate with accuracy. One of the keys to success is digging only to the necessary depth, no farther.
Prep And Pour The Foundation
When getting ready for the foundation, the first step is to put the footings in place. These are the forms that will hold the foundation so it can set. Many contractors use wood forms, or they build a trench in the soil.
The best contractors will install rebar into the concrete to reinforce it. Using rebar will help prevent the contract from cracking under pressure. It is a good idea to seal the footings and be sure that the base of the concrete is free of air and other issues that could weaken it. Concrete needs to be precisely mixed, so it is as strong as it can be. An experienced concrete contractor will know how to do all of this properly.
Finish The Foundation To Let It Set
Once the foundation is poured, the job is not done yet. As soon as the concrete hits the footings, the contractors should begin finishing it with the proper tools. Their job is to smooth concrete and apply a moisture-barrier sealant. Then, the foundation needs to have time to set.
If these steps are not followed, the foundation could have serious issues. As the foundation is truly the most important part of a home, you should hire an experienced concrete contractor who knows what to do at all stages of the process. From the moment the soil is evaluated to the patience of waiting for it to cure, the process of building foundation needs to be done methodically and with respect for the people who will eventually make their home atop it.