There are many types of house foundations.  Which one to use depends on the type of soil on your property, frost lines, water tables, drainage, elevations and local building codes. The natural condition of your lot also gives you an idea of the type of foundation that best suits its qualities. Foundations come in the following forms: surface mount, slab, crawl space, and partial or full basement, and each type of foundation requires a different repair technique.

Surface Mount

Surface Mount foundations are the most affordable option for house foundations. They are mainly used for prefabricated houses because this type of house is built in such a way that the weight of the house is limited by the structure of the house’s beams.

Canada has established standards and specifications for surface-mounted houses, which are part of the building codes of all local communities. The standards require that moisture under the house be managed and that the house be located on a solid, flat site. A surface-mounted foundation must be built to code by a professional installation company. Once the foundation is completed, the house can be secured to the foundation with either metal supports or ABS blocks and wood planks.  The final step is to secure the house to the ground with straps anchored into the ground.

To complete the appearance, manufactured homes will generally have a “skirt” around the edge of the house made of wood or vinyl panels.

Slab Foundation

Slab foundations are the most frequently used today.  It is, as its name implies, a concrete slab that normally has an average thickness of 4 to 6 inches but is much thicker at the edges.  The edges can be up to 24 inches thick.  The installation of a foundation slab is one of the easiest to do and can be poured in a single day.

A slab foundation does not include a crawl space or basement underneath.  Because of the characteristics of this type of foundation, they can only be installed on a level surface, as the foundation could sink or settle on an unlevel surface. Since the foundation is laid directly on the ground, rodents and insects are not normally a problem because there is no room under the foundation to make nests.

The disadvantages are cracks and the repair of all the plumbing.  Wide variations in weather and humidity can cause cracks, so it is important to maintain a constant humidity level.  In the absence of a crawl space or basement, the plumbing is located under the slab, so any leaks must be repaired with a jackhammer.

Crawlspace Foundation

A crawl space foundation differs from a slab foundation because it is not placed on the ground directly, the average foundation of a crawl space is 2 to 4 feet above the ground.  This type of foundation is ideal for areas with high moisture content where water can accumulate.  With the foundation above ground, supported by walls extending from the footing, the repair of plumbing and other utilities is much more easily accomplished.

As the name suggests, it is not possible to get up in the crawl space.  The floor of a crawl space can be either a concrete slab or crushed rock.  Although it takes longer to install than a slab foundation, a crawl space foundation is less expensive than a basement foundation.

Basement

A basement foundation is one of the most popular options because of the extra functionality it brings to a house.  The basement is normally the same size as the footprint of the house, but it is possible to have a slab portion under certain areas such as a garage or workshop.

The basement floor is, in most cases, a slab, and the walls are poured in concrete to make the basement watertight.  As with a slab foundation, the moisture level and the unstable soil are factors to consider when choosing this type of foundation.  A basement foundation takes 2 to 3 days to be poured, then it takes an additional week for the concrete to dry.

A full basement foundation adds square feet to the living area of your home and can be a finished or unfinished basement. The use of this surface depends on the owner and the options are endless.