Foundation Breakdown: How Deep Should a Foundation Be for a House?
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Foundation for a House

Foundation Breakdown: How Deep Should a Foundation Be for a House?

While most people aren't as concerned with the foundation on their home, it's actually one of the most important parts of the construction. Why? Primarily, because the foundation is designed to last forever!

Do you know what type of foundation is best for your needs? How deep should this foundation be? When it comes to foundations, there are often more questions than answers. Fortunately, the experts at UpRitePlus 2 provide insight into foundations, including the three different types of foundations and how deep each foundation should be. Continue reading for a thorough foundation breakdown.

A Solid Foundation Is Critical!

A proper foundation does much more than simply hold your home above ground. It works to insulate you from the cold, keep moisture out, and effectively resist movements of the earth around it. Between cracks in the foundation, infestations of pests, and basement floodings — getting the foundation on your home laid properly at the right depth is essential for you to avoid serious problems later down the road. Simply put, your foundation is the single most important part of your home, and it can determine:

  • How long your house lasts
  • How much storage space you'll have in your home
  • How your utilities run

Depending on your construction budget and/or climate zone, you'll need to choose one of the three major types of foundations prior to designing your home:

  1. Slab-on-Grade Foundation
  2. Basement Foundation
  3. Crawl Space Foundation

Let's dig a little deeper and explore the three different types of foundations and how deep each foundation should be.

Slab Foundations

The slab foundation is probably the easiest foundation to construct. With very little framework required and little preparation, the slab is a flat concrete pad poured directly onto the ground. This type of foundation is commonly used for homes built in warmer climates with relatively level worksites, especially where flooding is common.

The slab type of foundation isn't as prevalent in Long Island and surrounding northern areas because the ground freezes during the winter months. When this happens, the freezing can cause the slab to shift. However, if a slab foundation is used in colder climates, a special frost-proofing is required. In some instances, short walls are installed with an added layer of insulation, such as foam.

How Deep Should a Slab Foundation Be?

After the foundation has been dug (perhaps 2 feet), gravel is typically poured down to make sure water can escape. Then wire mesh is used to help limit foundation cracking. Any electrical conduits and plumbing pipes should be laid prior to the concrete is poured, so they'll be securely embedded in the slab.

Basement Foundations

The foundation for a basement is undoubtedly one of the most popular choices in Long Island and the rest of the North East. With a basement, the slab (like the one previously mentioned) will serve as a floor to an underground room on your home. The basement space can be used to store HVAC systems, mechanical systems, and virtually everything else. Many homeowners choose to finish and remodel their basement for additional living space.

An increasing number of new construction homes actually include plans for a finished basement, which proves to be the more cost effective solution. For instance, insulation can help reduce mildew and mold issues that are common in basements, while rigid foam underneath the slab foundation can make the space more inviting.

It's often more difficult to make sure the basement has the right plumbing, ventilation, light, and other essentials after the home is already built. Yet, many older homes typically require the basement space is retrofitted.

How Deep Should a Basement Foundation Be?

With a full basement, your foundation will be built safely below the depth of frost. Most basements begin around eight feet deep with varying widths. It will have footings and eight-foot walls erected on a four-inch concrete slab. The outer walls of the basement are made of either cinder-block walls or concrete. In most cases, the basement will be poured in three parts:

  1. The beams come first
  2. Then the walls
  3. Finally the slab inside the walls.

Crawl Space Foundation

Throughout the Midwest and Southern United States, crawl space foundations are utilized to leave space for plumbing installations, servicing electrical systems, as well as to prevent moisture. Homes with crawl spaces are raised a few feet off of the ground. Crawl spaces offer a few distinct benefits over slabs and basements, such as:

  • Crawl space foundations are comparable in pricing to a slab foundation and are significantly cheaper than a basement type of foundation.
  • Crawl spaces elevate the home off of the ground, which is especially important in areas prone for termites.

How Deep Should a Crawl Space Foundation Be?

Similar to a concrete slab foundation, a crawl space is created by pouring the footing. Then blocks are laid to create the actual foundation, which will support the structure's walls. All of the exterior walls of a crawl space should be insulated, and the crawl space should be sealed.

Contact UpRitePlus 2 for a Free Home Construction

At UpRitePlus 2, we offer more than 35 year creating one-of-a-kind homes throughout Long Island, ranging from Manhattan to Montauk. We're a team of contractors with the experience to take your residential or commercial project from conception through to completion.

Contact UpRitePlus 2 today for a free quote for your construction project.

About the Author Thomas Marr

Offering nearly four decades of industry experience in restoration, mold remediation, and reconstruction, Thomas G. Marr is the president and CEO of ite Plus 2. He holds two certifications from the Florida Mold Institute — Certified Professional Mold Inspector and Certified Professional Mold Remediator — as well as a long list of other industry-recognized certifications. He brings brings a unique set of skills and expertise in all matters of flood, fire, and mold remediation, which has proven to be invaluable to businesses and homeowners throughout the New York area.

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