All homes are built upon foundations of one type or another. In fact, in Texas, homes younger than 50 years are usually sitting on slab foundations in particular. Other models of foundations exist, but any model may need repair or maintenance sometimes, especially after trauma like an earthquake. Foundation failure may result from poor construction or an earthquake or flooding, and foundation repair may be needed. Drainage services can also be called upon if a basement is suffering from water flooding inside. Commercial foundation repair may be done to help keep a home in good shape, and can be a fine investment. What models of foundations might someone expect to find today, and what are the perks of each? And what about basement repair?
What a Home is Built Upon
Several foundation types exist across the United States, each with different advantages or limitations. Slabs, for example, are the simplest type to assemble and use, and they are popular in homes in Texas today. They are just what the name implies: a solid slab of concrete in the ground, and a home is built right on top.
Crawlspaces, meanwhile, are popular in areas that are prone to floods. This model can elevate a house nearly two feet off the ground, which can protect it from flood damage. What is more, that crawlspace is also practical for workers to access utilities underneath the house, hence the name.
Pier and beam foundations are similar to crawlspaces, and indeed share that crawlspace for workers to use. The difference is that this model is built on concrete or wood piers that hold the house up, and they are the least expensive model to construct. This can be appealing for many homeowners, but some terrain prohibits them. The foundation does not go very deep into the ground, meaning that earthquakes can seriously damage them. A geologist on staff for a housing company will know whether or not a certain area is safe for pier and beam foundations.
This is possibly the most significant category of foundations, as there is plenty to know about basements. To start with, basements add a lot of square footage to a house, since it is a large room that can be freely used for storage or everyday life. Many homeowners value a basement either as somewhere to put all their belongings, or as an extra lounge. It’s not uncommon for American homeowners to convert their basements into a living space complete with lighting, carpets, an entertainment system, or hobby items. Basements are very solid and can resist earthquakes and fire as well. Flooding water, however, is an entirely separate issue.
Water may leak into the home if the basement was built improperly or simply if the house is old. In areas prone to heavy rain and flash floods, for example, water may seep into the basement in alarming amounts. Other houses may suffer flooding in the basement due to leaking or ruptured pipes that often drip or spray water into the basement. In either case, flooding can quickly build up pools of water on the basement’s floor, and such water may erode the walls and floor. In addition, standing water can also damage furniture or stored items and also add moisture to the air that fosters mold growth. And owners of very old homes should note that limestone brick walls are common for old basements, but these walls tend to bulge inwards over time. These walls, over time, cave in from pressure of water-heavy soil behind them, and these bulging walls develop cracks that allow water into the basement.
Limestone walls can be contained when new, concrete walls are built to contain them and their leaks. Meanwhile, foundation repair crews can help repair a basement and prevent further leaks into the basement in case of rain or floods. Plumbers can fix leaking pipes, and these plumbers can also install pumps. Some basements have sump pumps, which are designed to collect standing water into one area and draw it off the floor. The water is then deposited outside the home. Channels can be built into the floor that direct leaking water to the pumps for extraction, a useful feature for homes in flood-prone areas. This prevents expensive water damage in the future.