Hey y’all! Foundations are a huge step in the building process! It feels like it’s finally happening. Be aware that once the foundation is laid out, it might feel really small! It’s just an illusion! Don’t worry, it gets better once the framing is put up!
Types of Foundations
There are several ways to create stable foundations for whatever type of structure you are building. I don’t know much about any of the other ones, but I have linked a website that goes over details of all the different main types of foundations. There you can get more information about what type of foundation is good to build a solid support structure for your home!
- Isolated Column Footing
- Basement Foundation
- Slab Foundation (what we have)
- Wall Footing Foundation
- Pile Foundation
You can find more information on the other foundations on this Civicconcepts.com! Finding a foundation that is best for you depends on your location and type of soil you have.
We have a concrete slab foundation. Many people are so surprised to hear that we don’t have a basement! Basements in Texas are not common, or recommended. The ground shifts too much and will cause major foundation problems! We also don’t have freezing weather, so our ground does not freeze and thaw our causing cracks in the foundation. Another benefit to having a slab, is that with the warmer weather we have, having a solid concrete slab, helps keep out the bugs! Houses down in Texas are built with a solid concrete slab to help support the house from caving in the basement, help prevent serious cracks, and keep out the bugs!
I’m not a 100% sure, but I would think that a solid concrete foundation would be less expensive, then having a whole other story below ground level. I could be wrong?? Some of you might ask, where we store everything? Well since we don’t have basements here, many people try to create a lot of attic space by building taller roof pitches.
Areas We Have Attic Storage
The spaces we have for attic storage are above our garage, kitchen, and master suite area. We have roughly about 900 square foot of attic space! We would have the entire square footage of our home, but we can’t really get to the other side of the house because of the vaulted ceilings in the dining room and living area. So we don’t have attic space above the dining, living, playroom, or boys rooms. But what we have now, is PLENTY of storage space! It is the most we have ever had!
Things to Know Before a Slab Foundation is Poured
There are a few things that will need to be discussed with your builder before your concrete slab is poured. If you want any type of electrical run to somewhere in your house that is not connected to an outside wall. For example, we had floor outlets added to our living room floors if we ever needed to use them for lamps, or christmas trees. We strategically planned them out to be under our couches. This meant we needed to have our living room furniture placement figured out before the concrete slab was poured. We put in them in areas though, that if we moved our furniture, the rug would be able to cover them.
Double Check and Measure!
Another thing that needs to be done before the slab is poured, is to run the plumbing that will go throughout the house. You will want to double check all measurements for plumbing. We had to move our bathtub drain over 5 inches after the foundation was done and tile was installed, because it was too close to the wall. So to save yourself some setbacks later on, measure things out to double check your plumber, and contractor. Double check and get it right, or you will do it twice! 🙂 I linked some 100 ft tape measures above, so you can measure the long distances from wall to wall, or measure the plumbing and electrical in the middle of the home.
Any Special Flooring?
Another thing to discuss with your builder before you pour, is the type of flooring you want to have, and if you want anything special, like brick floors. We used full sized bricks for our entire front patio, and used full bricks around the outline of our back patio. These need to be noted before the pour, because those area’s need to be recessed in according to the thickness of the brick you chose. You can see on the image above towards the middle right side, that our front patio is recessed several inches compared to the rest of our slab. This allows the brick to sit flush with the rest of the slab once it is laid.
Process of How the Slab is Created
Concrete slabs are created from the outside, in. They first put up wood forms to create the perimeter of the house. Next, they completely level the ground making it compacted and flat as possible. They will use lasers to make sure it’s completely level. They dig trenches for where the plumbing and electrical will be run to areas of the house that are not connected to an outside wall. The trenches also help the slab foundation from moving or tipping as the weather changes the soil throughout the year. They also help support the load bearing walls. These trenches have a big role in the stability of your home!
Next is what you call “tamping” the ground. Which is when the soil that was not trenched is compacted very tight to create solid stable ground area. Then they cover those areas with black tarps to help even more as a moisture barrier. The rebar is installed as a floating reinforcement. It helps support the solid part of the concrete, as well as the footers.
After the rebars are installed, pouring the concrete comes next! This step happens pretty quick! Slab pours are done in one day and take about 1 to 2 days to dry! If you want to do handprints or write your name in the concrete then you should try to get that done a few hours after it was poured so it’s semi-set!
After the concrete is poured, your slab might feel really, really small. It is like an optical illusion. There are several stages in the building process that will make your house feel big, and small, then big again.
Next up for your build is framing! This happens fast, so I will probably include HVAC, Plumbing, Electrical, and Insulation as well! I hope you found some informational insight about the type of foundation you need, and learned a couple things about how a slab foundation works.
Thanks for reading, and looking forward to the next building101 topic!