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Advantages And Disadvantages To Concrete Slab Foundations

by Marc Cole

Homeowners have three foundation options: basement, crawl space, and concrete slab. Concrete slab foundations consist of one large concrete slab. 95.6% of new construction in West South Central United States and 76.2% of new construction in South Atlantic United States have concrete slab foundations, but you can find slab concrete foundations throughout the country. Is a concrete slab foundation right for you? Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of concrete slab foundations. 

Advantages of Concrete Slab Foundations

1. Water-Resistance

Concrete resists water better than most other construction materials, such as wood. Water damage takes much longer to cause an impact. Concrete isn't completely impervious to water damage, so the concrete will receive a waterproofing treatment during installation. You may need to apply additional waterproofing as the material gets older. 

2. Strength

Concrete is strong, making it a great option to support your house. Concrete contractors will pour concrete in its place and then provide additional steel support. Once the concrete hardens, you have your foundation. 

3. Inexpensive 

A concrete slab foundation is the least expensive foundation option available as it doesn't provide additional living space or storage. The average concrete slab costs $13,000 - $14,000. The average crawl space costs $24,000. Basements can reach an excess of $40,000 if finished. 

Disadvantages of Concrete Slab Foundations

1. Limited Access to Underground Pipes

A home's plumbing system relies on gravity to transport waste to the main sewer pipes that transport material away from the home and toward the local water treatment plant. These pipes must be installed underneath the heavy concrete slab. In the case of a plumbing problem, plumbers will need to break the foundation to reach the pipes. You will end up paying for the difficult labor and the cost of repairing the damaged foundation. 

2. Susceptible to Soil Mutations

A concrete foundation requires stable soil. However, soil changes throughout the year, especially in areas with drastic temperature changes and freezing temperatures. Frozen ground will change in consistency, shape, and size. The foundation must adjust to the change, potentially causing cracks in the foundation. Once cracks start to appear, they will continue to get worse. 

3. Expensive Repairs 

In order to repair a concrete slab, a contractor will need to replace all or most of the slab. Tiles and shingles allow handymen to repair the damaged area easily. Unfortunately, since the concrete slab consists of one large piece, a crack impacts the entire foundation.

Does your home suit a concrete foundation? Talk to a concrete contractor about your options today.