Concrete Services

Types of Concrete Foundations

Builders have a variety of foundation options when building homes. Concrete is a popular choice because it has exceptional strength and durability.

It also resists rot and decay, which gives it an extended lifespan compared to other types of foundations. Homeowners also find that poured concrete foundations are less susceptible to problems like shifting. Click to learn more.


Poured concrete foundations are the most common type of foundation used for homes. They have a wide variety of benefits, making them a popular choice for home builders and homeowners alike. These benefits include increased resilience to unnatural land shifts, water damage, fire protection, and reduced maintenance requirements. In addition, poured concrete walls are generally much stronger and more durable than block foundations, which makes them a great option for those who want to ensure the safety of their new home.

Poured foundations are typically less expensive than cinder block foundations, as they don’t require as many materials. However, they take longer to construct, as concrete needs time to cure and harden. This can be a problem if you live in an area that experiences extreme weather conditions, as the concrete will be subject to harsh environmental conditions like hot summers and cold winters.

Another disadvantage of poured concrete foundations is that they are difficult to install in areas with poor drainage. This is because the concrete is poured into the soil, requiring the dirt to be adequately compacted. If the dirt is not sufficiently compacted, the foundation will be susceptible to leaks and other structural integrity issues.

To prevent this issue, it is important to have your foundation constructed by a professional who has experience with the proper installation techniques. In addition, it is important to have your foundation waterproofed to avoid any problems with moisture. This is especially important if you live in an area that experiences frequent rainfall and flooding.

ICF (insulated concrete form) foundations are more energy-efficient than poured concrete foundations. ICF foundations use EPS forms as the mold for the concrete, saving money on form rental and eliminating the form stripping process required with a poured concrete wall. The EPS forms are also insulated on both sides, reducing energy costs.

While a poured concrete foundation may be more cost-effective, it’s not as easy to work with as other foundations, such as cinder or slab-on-grade foundations. It’s also more prone to moisture and is more sensitive to cold temperatures than different foundation types.

When you’re building your dream home, you don’t want to let a foundation issue undermine the integrity of your whole structure. The right concrete foundation can ensure your house stays standing for decades. However, it would be best to consider several factors when choosing the right type for your site.

The main factor is your soil’s condition. Some soil types require more work than others to construct and maintain a strong foundation. Your contractor can help you determine the best option for your property.

T-shaped foundations are traditionally used in areas that often freeze. They have a footing contractors build below the frost line, the maximum depth you can dig soil without freezing in winter. Foundation walls are then built on the footing, and a slab floor is added afterward. Because the footing is wider than the wall, t-shaped foundations can resist frost heaving better than other types.

Another traditional type of foundation is the slab-on-grade. This foundation style has a single layer of concrete that is several inches thick. It’s typically poured on a bed of crushed gravel that improves overall drainage. The slab is usually reinforced with wire mesh and may have insulation added to offer resistance to frost heaving.

Slab-on-grade foundations are typically used in warmer climates. They can’t protect buildings from flood waters as a basement or crawl space can and aren’t ideal for sites with groundwater issues.

Commercial structures exert much pressure on their foundations, so they need a foundation to support them. Deep foundations are ideal for commercial buildings because they extend into stable, non-freezing ground. The depth of the foundation is determined by several factors, including building weight, soil conditions, and groundwater level. Some structures must be constructed on pile foundations, long cylinders made of strong material pushed into stable ground deep below the surface. The pier-and-beam type of foundation is also popular for commercial buildings.

A slab foundation (also called a slab-on-grade foundation) consists of a concrete slab directly on the ground and on which a home or other structure sits. The concrete slab is typically placed on gravel over a vapor retarder layer for better drainage. The slab can be monolithic or built in a mold, and it is usually reinforced with wire mesh and rebar.

Slab foundations are less expensive than others because wooden members, such as floor joists, are optional. They are also more common in warmer climates because the seasonal freezing and thawing of the ground is less of a problem. In addition, because there is no crawl space under a slab foundation house, utility costs associated with heating and cooling are generally lower.

However, slab foundations are prone to moisture and drainage problems because they allow water and other elements to seep into the living spaces of the home above them. This is because concrete is a porous material that can easily transmit moisture to the basement. Additionally, if the slab is properly supported and designed, it can crack or shift over time.

Because slab-on-grade foundations are so close to the ground, they can also be vulnerable to flooding if the surrounding yard and property are not graded properly. Additionally, the concrete slab is susceptible to tree roots and soil settlement damage.

The lack of an interior space under a slab foundation can also lead to moisture issues in the basement and other living areas because the basement and living area are often used as one large room. This type of moisture can result in mold, mildew, different odors, and health issues such as asthma and allergies.

A slab foundation is a good option when the soil cannot support a basement or other type of foundation. However, it is important to have a professional perform a soil test to determine how best to proceed with the construction of the foundation. A strip or point foundation may be necessary beneath the slab if the soil is too soft. In addition, the contractor should install a drain system and vapor retarder to prevent excess water in the form of liquid or vapor from seeping into the foundation.

Shallow foundations are a type of building foundation that transfers the building loads to the soil near the surface rather than at a greater depth, as does a deep foundation. This means shallow foundations are often used for smaller buildings and in areas where the soil conditions allow them to be built without requiring extensive excavations or other costly construction methods.

Some shallow foundations include spread footings, mat-slab, slab-on-grade, and rubble trench foundations. The depth of the shallow foundation is determined by the design requirements and the structural load that the building will need to bear. The soil needed to be excavated is also a factor when choosing a shallow foundation for a building project.

The main advantage of shallow foundations is that they are less expensive to construct than deep foundations because they require fewer materials and excavation work. However, the shallow foundation must still be strong enough to support the load of the building that it will need to carry.

When constructing shallow foundations, it is important to choose the correct concrete grade that will meet the needs of the structure and withstand the bending and shear forces that will be applied to the foundation. This can be done by using computer-aided software or through manual calculations.

Suppose the shallow foundation is constructed in an area with soft, compressible soils. In that case, a raft-type foundation designed for various soil conditions may be necessary. Floating concrete raft foundations are typically designed to move with the soil beneath them, which is beneficial when dealing with highly sloping sites.

Another shallow foundation useful in soft soils is the frost-protected shallow footing (FPSF). Frank Lloyd Wright first developed this shallow foundation for Usonian-style affordable homes during the Great Depression, which many builders have adopted and improved. The FPSF is designed to disperse the structural loads of the building over a large area of the ground, which helps reduce settling and settlement damage. The FPSF can be constructed quickly and is easier to install than traditional shallow foundations, making it an excellent choice for projects with tight schedules.