At UBH we can build your home using one of four different types of foundations:¬†slab, basement, pier, pilling, or stemwall. Factors affecting your choice of foundation type include your lot’s location, your budget, and your preferences.
But this is not a decision most of us make often enough to have direct experience to help us make the best choice. Read on to learn what you need to know to make the right decision.
Probably the most common type of foundation in the area of the country we serve, slab foundations are made of poured concrete. They require little digging and prep work compared to other types of foundations and require less concrete than basement foundations. Because of these features, they’re often the lowest cost option for a foundation. They can also support as much weight as you put on them, so slab foundation homeowners don’t need to worry about pianos or floor safes being too heavy. However, there are drawbacks to slab foundation, ranging from moisture seepage if you live in a particularly wet area to lack of extra storage space.
A basement foundation requires a good deal of digging and brickwork below the surface of the ground to create a large underground room upon which the home is built. The extra storage space can be beneficial for large families and finished basements can add a whole second floor to your home. However, the extra costs of digging and installing the main floor can make them expensive.
You might not think about your family’s health when you consider your foundation, but you should. Depending on your flooring choices, a home with a basement might provide a more flexible floor, which can be easier on your joints as you’re walking and standing in your home. Those who live in areas subject to tornadoes or hurricanes should think about a basement for safety, too.
Pier and Piling Foundations
Pier and piling foundations are used in areas where the structural integrity of the ground is questionable. If you’re building your home on a lot that is in a flood plain where the soil isn’t stable or your area’s building code requires it, pier or piling foundations are the foundation you’ll need to use for your custom home. Both use beams or concrete poles that are sunk down into the subsurface of the lot and the home is built up above on the poles. You can see a couple of examples in our Gallery of Homes. These foundations can be also used for sloping or rocky lots.
If you have a lot that’s in an area prone to hurricanes, a stemwall foundation is one option that might be required by your area’s building code. Stemwall foundations are built using concrete block walls that have concrete poured in the hollow spaces to connect them all together. These create very strong structures that can withstand hurricane force winds and aren’t as susceptible to mold and other issues caused ¬†by hurricane conditions and humid atmospheres. If you’re in an area that has building codes that require this type of foundation, you’ll need to comply.
No matter where you’re building, choosing the foundation that is best suited to the site and your building requirements is important to getting the most out of your home. We can help you make sense of building codes so your home is acceptable to the local housing authorities and takes advantage of what your lot has to offer. Contact your local UBH office to find out what kind of foundation you need for your home.