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Compare House Foundation vs Concrete Slab Costs

House Foundation Overview

Traditional foundations are raised off the ground using footings that support the structure. Because the foundation is elevated, there is a crawl space underneath that can be used for storage. The crawl space can be anywhere from about 16 inches in height to four feet.

A raised foundation with a crawl space is one of three types of foundations; the other two are concrete slab foundations and full-height basements. Raised foundations and full basements were by far the most common prior to the 1970s, but concrete slabs have grown in popularity since then.

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How Much Does a House Foundation Cost?

The cost of a raised foundation varies widely based on the size of your home, its layout and the region of the country where you live. For an average-size home, you can expect to spend around $10,000 to $25,000 in most regions of the country.

House Foundation Pros

  • Easier access to utilities - A raised foundation makes for easier access to plumbing and wiring underneath the home. Down the road, you’ll save a considerable amount of money on utility work or repairs.
  • Lower flood risk - Homes built on raised foundations are elevated, so there’s less of a chance that they will flood.
  • Comfortable floors - With a raised foundation, the floors are usually made of wood, which is much softer and more comfortable to walk on than concrete.
  • Aesthetically pleasing - Most people prefer the look of a home that is raised to one at ground level.

House Foundation Cons

  • Costs more to build - Raised foundations are more expensive to build. Plan on shelling out about an extra $10,000.
  • Takes longer to build - Because raised foundations are more complicated to build, the process takes longer.
  • Moisture issues - Water and humidity can build up in the crawl space of your home, leading to fungus growth and rot.
  • Unwanted pests - The area underneath your home is vulnerable to termite infestations. And it can serve as a shelter for unwelcome animals such as possums and skunks -- and their droppings.

Concrete Slab Overview

Slab foundations, also called slab-on-grade foundations, are made of a flat piece of concrete that is poured directly onto the ground. Slab foundations are several inches thick and they are reinforced by iron rods. Homes built on a slab do not have basements or crawl spaces.

How Much Does a Concrete Slab Cost?

On average, slab foundations cost about $10,000 to $20,000 for mid- to large-sized homes. However, keep in mind that prices vary based on the size and layout of your home, and your geographic location.

Slab Pros

  • Stronger floors - Slab foundations are more stable than raised foundations because they’re made of concrete. You’ll never have to worry about whether the floor can support heavy items such as waterbeds or grand pianos. Slab foundations are also less likely to rot, sag or creak.
  • Costs less to build - Homes with slab foundations, on average, cost about $10,000 less to build.
  • Faster to construct - Building a slab foundation is a simpler process than building a raised foundation, so it doesn’t take as long. You can move into your new home sooner.

Slab Cons

  • Difficult to access utilities - With a slab foundation, some of the plumbing, electric wires and duct work run underneath the concrete slab. This makes for difficult and expensive repairs and modifications.
  • Greater flood risk - Homes with slab foundations sit directly on the ground, so they’re more likely to flood. In some flood-prone areas, building codes prohibit slab foundations.
  • Not as comfortable - Concrete is rock hard, so it is not as comfortable to walk or sit on. Over time, walking on such a hard surface can take a toll on your joints. Homes with slab foundations also tend to be colder.
  • Not as aesthetically pleasing - Many people think that ground-level homes are less appealing to the eye than raised homes.

Author: Ashley Smith

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