Foundation Placement Is More Than Just Location

Choosing the right foundation for your home is a lot like finding the right habitable zone in a solar system, what scientists call a “goldilocks zone.” The soil and foundation need to mesh well, or else your wallet is going to be singing a bad tune. And sometimes you buy a house that, unfortunately, was built without proper soil analysis and now you are having foundation failure.

But why does it matter? It matters because you can’t just throw any planet anywhere and expect life to flourish, just like you can’t place any foundation anywhere and expect it to work at maximum efficiency every single time. Take Texas, for example, and its gigantic size. If you were placed in the middle of Texas it might look the same in every direction, but look below the soil and you will get a different story, in fact, you will get 60 different stories because Texas holds 60 different soil types under its surface.

Texas is the perfect example for tempering your decision on foundations. Its diversity in soil and weather make it a headache on deciding the best foundation. This is because Texas has clay-rich soils and clay-rich soils do not play well with some foundations, like slab foundations without proper preventative measures. Clay-rich soils are notorious for absorbing water and when it does, it expands and contracts. This kind of pressure forces a slab foundation to crack and shift. Couple this when Texas experiencing dry periods, sapping moisture from your slab foundation, and your wallet ends up in a coma. However, expanding clay has never stopped Texas residents from setting up shop with slab foundations as most built that aren’t even 50 years old yet will generally be with a slab foundation.

Investing in a soaker can prevent some damage to your foundation during dry periods. You are essentially “watering” your foundation, mitigated or outright preventing any further cracking you might experience naturally from expanding clay, and a call for foundation repair. These generally sit about 12 to 18 inches away.

If floodwaters are what you are trying to avoid, pier and beam, or post and beam, might be the foundation for you. Imagine you are on a pier above a lake. That is the general idea to a pier and beam foundation. A house is built with a crawl space that elevates a home above the ground. This space is used for plumbing and for floodwaters to pass through, mitigating flood water damage. Deconstruct a pier and beam foundation and you will find joists spaced around 18 inches apart, a subfloor with at least one half inch of plywood for supporting the house as well as beams that you will not ever see spaced further than 12 feet. However, pier and beam comes with its own issues in the form of mildew and mold. Moisture can get trapped in the crawl space, but you can prevent and or mitigate by investing in vapor barriers.

When it comes to foundations, weather, soil and placement have to join together in order to provide you with a reliable foundation that won’t buckle.

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