There are two major types of foundation – slab and crawl space, each with their own benefits and downsides. However, this is not just a case of “which one is better, because depending on the area you live the answer might change.
Let’s talk about them in depth so you can understand which is better for the home you’re planning!
“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. – Confucius
Slab vs. Crawl Space: what’s the difference?
Both of them are pretty self-explanatory: a slab foundation is simply a large, solid, reinforced concrete slab made to support the weight of your home. Because of that, you won’t see a house built on slab with a basement, for example, since the home itself is bound to the ground.
A crawlspace, on the other hand, keeps the home separated from the ground. Footings, bricks and cinder blocks are used to create pillars that will support the weight of the house, leaving a so-called “crawl space underneath it.
The first thing you need to consider in order to choose which one is better will be your area’s weather condition – we’ll get more in-depth on this subject soon.
Which one costs more?
Generally, crawl spaces cost up to 50% more than slab foundations because of the extra work and material required.
Slab foundations are cheaper, easier and faster to do – but keep in mind that doesn’t mean it’s the best option for every case. For example, slab foundations are great for areas that risk flooding since it prevents most water damage, but if that’s not something you have to worry about, a crawl space offers a lot of potential storage space!
Which one is more durable?
Assuming both were installed properly, they are estimated to last about the same amount of time, which is around 50 years.
During these five decades, you can expect to deal with some kinds of damage for each type of foundation: slab foundations can crack due to soil shifts or nearby tree roots (in the span of 50 years that’s enough time for tree roots to get in the way), and crawl space can suffer from flooding and moisture, since they are often not well ventilated or receive enough sunlight.
Of course, there’s a lot you can do to prevent and even repair this kind of damage before they become permanent.
Which is better for dry or wet climates?
Slab foundations are better for wet areas, being the ideal choice if you’re expecting to deal with occasional floods. The slab can be built above ground level to prevent flood water ever entering your home, which in turn prevents mold and mildew growth.
A crawlspace will surely suffer from humid weather and floods. Because it’s a hard area to ventilate, it will trap moisture under the house allowing for mold growth.
For dry weather, however, crawlspaces are perfectly fine – they facilitate a number of inspections, access to plumbing and wiring, and can work as extra storage space.
Pros and Cons: Slab vs. Crawl Space
Pros: It’s much faster to build and cheaper compared to a crawl space foundation. On top of that, the maintenance is significantly lower, since it prevents mold growth and flood damage.
Cons: Plumbing is less accessible, there is no way to build a basement for extra storage, and certain inspection services might be harder.
Pros: Facilitates many inspection services (like termites), potential extra storage space, opportunity to build a basement, and easier access to wiring and plumbing.
Cons: Time and cost of construction is considerably higher than slab foundations, and more subject to pest infestation and mold growth in humid conditions.
Need more help in deciding what foundation is right for you? Talk to a foundation expert today and get free quotes in your area!