Home Foundation: Slabs vs. Crawl Spaces

Tingen ConstructionCustom Home Building

What’s under your house? It’s a question that may not often occur for the average homeowner. But this simple question has long-term implications for how your house is maintained, how it ages, and how much it costs to build.

Homes are typically built on a concrete slab or a crawl space. Both types of foundations have advantages and disadvantages, and understanding how your house is constructed is critically important. Today we’ll discuss the pros and cons of both, and what you can expect when maintaining them.

Concrete Slab

A slab foundation is just that: a solid, continuous chunk of poured concrete, smoothed by hand with wire mesh for reinforcement. Typically these slabs are poured over gravel for drainage purposes.

Due to their simple construction, slabs are typically much easier and cheaper to construct, and are completed in much less time. Their solid nature also makes them almost impervious to insects and vermin, helps them trap energy, and prevents mold growth. Because they can be constructed flush with the ground, they are also ideal for zero-entry and accessible homes.

Where concrete suffers drawbacks is in maintenance. Any time duct work or piping has to be repaired, contractors have to break the concrete apart, significantly increasing labor and costs. That solid construction that works so well for some purposes also cracks easily when pierced by tree roots or dislodged by erosion.

Crawl Space

Whereas a slab foundation lays flush with the ground, crawl spaces use footings (basically a pillar driven into the ground) and block walls to elevate the house from the ground, typically between one and four feet.

Their elevated nature means that crawl spaces are not beholden to the landscape or soil, making them ideal for sloped lots and loose soil. The elevation also protects the home from flooding. Most crawl spaces also contain plumbing, wiring, and HVAC systems, making maintenance a breeze.

That said, the elevated nature of a crawl space leaves a big open space under the home, which causes problems. For one, it’s much easier for pests to get in. And while that space protects against flooding, it also lets moisture accumulate. Crawlspaces also require insulation, which is less energy efficient than solid concrete. Finally, there will be a slight cost for new construction built on a crawl space.

Tingen Construction leverages decades of experience to craft beautiful, luxurious custom homes that are built to last. If you’re looking for a new home in the Triangle or surrounding areas, contact us today! You can also check out our existing listings.