One of the most important considerations to make when constructing any type of building is the foundation. Different homes are built with varying types of foundations. The foundation used in building a home is extremely important and cannot be overemphasized. According to an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders (of the Survey of Construction), 54% of new homes built have a concrete slab foundation. They became popular in the 1950s, and they continue to be really popular even now in the 21st Century. Admittedly, they have advantages, but the concrete slab foundation problems tend to outweigh the benefits.
More About the Concrete Slab Foundation
Something is reassuring about knowing that your home is resting on a thick slab of reinforced concrete, and that’s what the concrete slab foundation is, a thick slab of concrete.
It has a bunch of advantages, some of them are:
- It is relatively affordable
Constructing your home with a concrete slab foundation could save you up to $15,000 because, with this kind of foundation, you don’t have to worry about budgeting for a basement or crawl space. If the builder has to construct a basement out of hard rock, using a concrete slab foundation will save a lot of money.
- It takes less time to dry.
It takes considerably less time for a concrete slab to dry, meaning that construction work can progress faster.
- Low cost of maintenance
The cost of maintenance for concrete slabs is very low compared to other kinds of foundations, another reason why most people would prefer a concrete slab foundation.
Even though this foundation has several advantages, the problems of the concrete slab foundation are also worth noting.
Concrete Slab Foundation Problems
The concrete slab foundation has significant problems — too significant to ignore. However, the concrete slab foundation works quite well as long as it doesn’t have any issues that need to be fixed. The slab foundation problems become more apparent when there are damages to it. The following are potential problems you could encounter with the concrete slab foundation:
- Expensive repairs
If you ever need to repair the plumbing systems in your home, you’ll feel it where it hurts the most — your pockets. This is because, in the concrete slab foundation, the plumbing systems are usually constructed below the slab; if the plumbing systems are ever damaged, you have to break through the concrete slab to get to them, which can be very difficult and tasking.
- It can be easily damaged by bad weather.
If the weather gets wet, water can accumulate in the concrete slab and cause slow damage to the foundation. Unfortunately, slabs do not offer much protection during bad weather conditions.
- Slab Cracks
If the concrete slab foundation gets damaged for whatever reason, it is tough to fix. The cost of this potential damage could be in the thousands of dollars. Plus, maintenance of the slab isn’t exactly a joy ride either.
- It requires heavy insulation.
Because heating and air conditioning ductwork is typically routed through the ground-floor ceiling, it must be well-insulated to maintain the desired temperature.
- A.C and Heating units take up space
Because there isn’t any space in the foundation to install heating and cooling units, they have to be placed above-ground. And thereby, they could take up valuable space.
Signs that your Concrete Slab could have problems
Concrete slab degradation may be caused by various factors such as soil, climate, plumbing leaks, and insufficient foundation drain; it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for warning indications. Here is a list of signs that your concrete slab foundation could have problems:
- Fractures of any kind along the walls or floor of the building
If you start noticing any horizontal cracks along the brick exterior of your building, it’s a sure sign that the foundation has been compromised. Horizontal fractures are considered more significant than vertical cracks since they might signal that the perimeter of your home’s foundation is under a great deal of stress. Because dry walls run in the same direction, cracks that run vertically aren’t usually a warning of a problem.
- Foundation Settling
Foundation settling means that the concrete slab foundation is sinking more than it should. Experiencing some measure of sinking in your home is normal, but when you begin to notice that it is dropping beyond normal, it is a sign that your foundation has problems.
- Foundation Upheaval
When you start noticing that your home is moving in an upward direction, it’s usually a sign that foundation upheaval is occurring. Foundation upheaval is the opposite of foundation settling as it is rising instead of sinking deeper.
A Final Word
Experiencing damage to your foundation can be unsettling. If you ever notice these signs or more, be sure to contact a professional foundation repair service to have it checked out. It isn’t safe to live in a home where the foundation’s integrity has been compromised.