What Is a Slab Basement? Alternatives, Pros, Cons, & FAQ
If you ever come across the term “slab basement” in the listing of any house, then it simply means that the building has no basement; instead, the entire foundation of that building lies on the slab of concrete.
A slab basement is the simplest kind of foundation used in a building. It is a thick concrete slab on which a house is built. You know what they say—a house is only as good as its foundation.
One of the most important factors of a building is its foundation. Every building has a foundation, and there are various types. The type of foundation used in the erection of a building is dependent on several factors. Nevertheless, the foundation is very crucial and should be properly studied before either buying or building a house.
How Slab Basements Are Made
First, all electrical connections, pipes, sewers, and other plumbing fittings that need to be placed in the foundation are laid. Next, in special preparation, gravel is laid up on the surface. Finally, concrete slabs that are about 6–8 inches thick are poured, embedding all fittings into the concrete. The concrete poured on the floor of the slab basement also acts as the floor of the basement.
After the concrete is poured, a scoreboard is then used to smooth the surface, removing every imperfection. Large sediments are pushed down closer to the earth’s surface while sand, water, and cement are brought up to the surface of the slab.
Alternative Options for Building Foundations
Crawl Space Foundation:
In the crawl space foundation, exterior concrete walls raise the bottom of the house about 18 inches above the ground. The space created underneath is enough to allow pipe fittings and other components to be passed underground after the concrete walls have been raised.
Full Basement Foundation:
These are the most expensive foundation used in buildings today. The room created in the building of this basement is deep and wide enough to contain people and turns out to become a basement in a home.
Can a Homeowner Choose the Best Kind of Foundation to Use?
If you are buying a home, you do not have a choice to make concerning the foundation type. However, if you have a home being built from scratch, then you can be involved in the decision-making process.
Slab, Crawl Space, or Basement?
|Warm and dry
|Flooded and wet
|A lot of space is available
|Very fast and easy
|Requires more time and more skills to build
|Takes the longest time and needs the highest qualification
|Typically used in areas with high moisture where water is likely to gather
|Best used in areas with low water tables and settled soil
The Best Place to Use a Slab Basement
A slab basement is best used in places that have warm and dry climates where the tendency for the foundation to experience freezing and thawing is very low. Grounds that constantly freeze and thaw can cause cracks in blocks; we do not want this to happen to our slab basement. Since it is also cheaper, it is best used when one is building on a budget.
Advantages of Slab Basement
Here are some of the pros of using a slab basement as a foundation type in a building:
1. How Can I Tell if a House Is Built on a Slab?
Slab basement houses rest directly on the ground, so there is no space underneath them. If there is no basement or crawl area between your building and the foundation, then the house has a slab basement.
2. Can I Add a Basement to a House on a Slab?
Although very expensive, this procedure is possible. However, some considerations must be met before attempting to add a basement to a slab house. One of these is the building code of your state. Check with your building contractor to see that you are not breaking any regulations.
3. How Durable Is a Slab Foundation?
If built properly, a slab foundation can easily last for over 50 years. In addition, this foundation type requires the least maintenance.
4. What Is a Slab Leak and Can it Happen to My House?
A slab leak is the term used when the pipes that are running inside the cement slabs start leaking. Slab leaks are a result of corrosion from minerals running through copper pipes or a result of high water pressure.
If you notice any of this, contact a plumber immediately to rectify it, as a slab leak can be dangerous.
Every home needs a foundation, and the type is dependent on some of the factors stated in this article.
If you are building your home from scratch, then you will be involved in deciding on the type of foundation. Weigh your pros and cons, and check with your building contractor to determine the most suitable foundation for your building.
- See also: What Is a Slab Basement? Alternatives, Pros, Cons, & FAQ
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