Are you in the market for building a new home?
If so, you’ll want to have the best foundation for your specific situation. That’s why it’s crucial to understand the difference between a slab vs. crawl space foundation.
Each one has its benefits and its drawbacks.
What Is a Crawl Space?
A crawl space is a raised foundation created with footings and block walls that support the home while creating space underneath it. The house may be elevated one and a half to four feet from the ground.
With a crawl space, the subfloor of the house doesn’t make direct contact with concrete, and the space beneath allows for easy access to piping and utility lines.
How Does a Slab Foundation Differ?
By contrast, a slab foundation is a six-inch thick “slab” of concrete that is installed directly on the ground over a layer of rock or gravel. There are concrete footings that extend from the slab two feet into the ground to anchor it.
The subfloor on a slab foundation makes direct contact with the concrete.
Which Is Best?
It’s hard to give a definitive answer. The foundation that works best for you is going to depend on several factors:
Because moisture can accumulate in a crawl space, this sort of foundation is recommended for those who live in dryer climates. However, it is also a better choice for areas that are prone to flooding to increase the likelihood that your home won’t flood.
Meanwhile, a slab foundation is often used in wet environments that are not prone to flooding.
In both cases, a vapor barrier will prevent mold from getting into the home.
2. Your Land
If you’re building your home on sloped land, live in an area that’s prone to earthquakes, or have high clay content in your soil, a crawl space foundation is definitely the way to go.
Soil that has too much clay won’t be stable enough to support a slab foundation. And if a concrete slab shifts during an earthquake, it could cause it to crack – resulting in a costly repair.
3. Desired Height
A home with a crawl space foundation will be higher off the ground. For some, this is desirable. However, for those with mobility issues, maneuvering into and out of a home with a slab foundation will be easier.
It’s important to understand that if you have challenges with mobility, opting for a house with a crawl space will also require ramps.
4. Dealing with Repairs
As we mentioned above, it’s easier to access piping and utility lines with a crawl space foundation. So that means when repairs are needed on these, it’s likely going to cost you far less with a crawl space.
On the other hand, you may have to deal with repairs on the crawl space itself (rotting wood, moisture issues, etc.).
The Slab Vs. Crawl Space Debate Continues
Making the decision between a slab vs. crawl space foundation is an important one and not to be taken lightly.
After all, you want that one that will best support your home’s structure.