The base of any good home is a solid foundation.
We get tons of questions about home foundations at Barden Building Products. It makes sense -- a home’s foundation is what supports the house your family is going to live in.
Although we aren’t in the concrete business, we have plenty of experience with the people who are.
Home Foundations: Basements and Slab Foundation
The three most common types of home foundations are:
Basement and slab foundations are the two types customers have the most misconceptions about.
Here are six of the most common foundation misconceptions future homeowners have:
1. Slab Foundations Are Cheaper Than Basements
This is the most common misconception about home foundations.
The cost savings between a full basement and a slab aren’t as significant as most people expect.
Just like a basement, a slab foundation still needs excavation. And just like a basement, a slab needs a massive amount of concrete for a home to be built on.
The savings our customers have seen between basements and slab foundations have been anywhere between $5,000-$18,000 for 1,500-2,000 sq. ft. homes. That does seem like a lot until you consider that for a 2,000 sq. ft. ranch, you’d lose 2,000 sq. ft. of storage for roughly $18,000. That’s only $9 per square foot in a worst case scenario!
As a last resort, sure, a slab could save a few pennies when compared to a basement. We advise all of our customers to look elsewhere in their floor plans before doing away with a basement.
2. My Basement Will Flood if it Isn’t Waterproofed
Basements don’t flood because they aren’t waterproofed.
The reason some basements flood and others don’t is simple: a dry basement has proper drainage around the foundation.
If you’re fearful of a flooded basement, don’t worry about your mason. Make sure you have an experienced excavator/site prep contractor instead -- they’re the experts in making sure a home’s foundation has the proper drainage.
Also, don’t try to cover your basement walls in Flex Seal or marine-grade fiberglass.
3. Slab Foundations Prevent Water Damage
Piggybacking on the answer from above, this isn’t true. Homes built on slabs are still susceptible to water damage.
If the ground is wet and then freezes under your slab, the frost heave will crack the slab and allow moisture directly into your first floor. This can cause a host of issues for a homeowner, such as:
- Weakened floors
- Structural shifting
- Mold and mildew
Just like with basements, the key to preventing water from damaging a home’s slab foundation is proper drainage.
4. Basement Cracks = Flooding
Concrete is porous, and most foundations have at least a handful of harmless cracks that form with time. They are by no means a guarantee that your basement will flood. As long as there’s proper drainage, flooding shouldn’t be an issue.
5. Foundation Type Doesn’t Impact Home Value
Although you don’t need a basement, the next person who lives in your home might. As we’ve seen, a home with a basement is considerably more desirable than the majority of homes without.
6. Slab Foundations Aren’t Used in Western New York
In warmer, drier climates with different soils, a slab is a preferable choice -- and in some cases it’s the only choice. If you live in the Northeast, you know these conditions do not describe where you live.
Many slabs in the Buffalo-Niagara region can be found in patio home communities. Western New York home builders are responsible for this because the savings add up when they pour 50 foundations rather than just one. Also, the residents in these types of communities are likely to always be of an older demographic and want to eliminate stairs in their home for accessibility concerns.
Slab Foundations vs. Basements: Which Is Best?
There are literally millions of homes built solidly on a vast array of foundation types.
When it comes to choosing between a basement or slab foundation for your next home, the answer is simple: Get a quote, learn which types of foundations are successful in your area, and make a decision.
Have foundation questions?
I’ve heard a lot of them, but I’m always up for a challenge. Try me!
Or browse our floor plans and choose the home that will be built atop your foundation!