Are you looking to settle down and buy a home in Texas? If so, then it’s important that you understand a home’s structural components and systems.
And, while many people often ignore the foundation of a home, truth is, it’s undoubtedly one of the most vital aspects of the structure. When it’s strong, your home will last for generations to come.
When it’s weak, however, a myriad of issues can plague your Texas home. Your floor may become out of level. Walls may crack and cave in. Your roof could also appear bowed or wavy. At worst, your home could come crumbling down.
Now, there are two types of foundations in Texas: poured concrete slab foundations, and pier and beam foundations.
In today’s article, we’ll share with you all the information you need to know about the two types of home foundations commonly found in Dallas, Texas. Let’s get started, shall we?
Type #1: Poured Concrete Slab Foundations
This foundation is formed with lumbar and then filled with concrete. Often, it’s made stronger by the insertion of vertical steel reinforcing rods.
Many builders prefer this foundation for its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. Its popularity arose soon after World War II when veterans were trooping back home to their families and settling down. Builders needed an easier, quicker and efficient way to build houses.
Builders still use poured concrete slab foundations to this day, in part due to their versatility.
Pros of Poured Concrete Slab Foundations
- Maintenance: Poured concrete foundations are practically maintenance-free. Naturally, they neither rot nor decay. So in the long-term, this means more money left in your wallet.
- Strength: Poured concrete slab foundations are strong and durable. In fact, this is the primary reason why many homebuilders and homeowners choose this foundation type over the rest.
- Fire Resistance: In addition to its durability, sturdiness, and cost-effectiveness, concrete slab foundation is also fire-resistant.
- Water Resistance: The source of the vast majority of foundation problems is water. Foundations made out of poured concrete are less likely to develop water problems due to their strength, density, and joint-free construction.
- Design Flexibility: Starting out as liquid capable of taking any shape, poured concrete offers contractors and architects the ultimate design flexibility.
Cons of Poured Concrete Foundations
- Cracking: As concrete shrinks during the curing process, vertical cracks may form in the concrete.
- Leaks: Typically, the leakage occurs along the joint between the wall and the floor. If not addressed quickly, the leakage can become a nuisance and cause considerable damage.
- Floodwater: Concrete foundations are low-lying. This offers little in the way of protection against floodwater.
Type #2: Pier and Beam Foundations
Also called “post and beam foundations,” pier and beam foundations are also common in Dallas, Texas, especially in homes built before the 1960s.
This type of foundation is constructed with three primary components. First, there is a footing. The footing is reinforced with concrete and buried deep beneath the ground. The footing helps anchor the foundation for optimum stability.
Next, there are the piers. These are similar to pilings used in other construction types and are typically made from brick or concrete. After their construction, they are attached to the footing.
The other component is the beams. Beams connect to the floor joists beneath your flooring.
Like poured concrete foundations, pier and beam foundations too have their strengths and weaknesses.
Pros of Pier and Beam Foundations
- Gradient: Pier and beam foundations can be created on land with slopes. In other words, the gradient doesn’t affect its construction.
- Repair and Maintenance: Repairing and maintaining a pier and beam foundation is easy and economical. In addition, if you ever need to remodel your home, you won’t have to remove the foundation.
- Termite Control: A pier and beam foundation is usually several inches off the ground. This makes it resistant to any termite attack.
- Ease and accessibility: In case of damage to wires and pipes, the repairs can be done easily due to the crawl space available under the house. In poured concrete foundations, the entire foundation has to be removed for the repairs to be done.
Cons of Pier and Beam Foundations
- Rodents and Pets: Pier and beam foundations are susceptible to rodent and insect infestation.
- Vibration: If you have large pets or hyperactive children in the house, the floor may vibrate a lot.
- Moisture: Excessive moisture can build up if the foundation isn’t properly ventilated. This can lead to a myriad of problems, such as wood rotting, fungi growth, and mold problems.
Common Causes of Foundation Issues in Texas
As a homeowner or a potential homeowner, it’s critical to understand what causes foundation problems in the first place. In Texas, the common causes include:
- Wandering tree roots. Roots may suck up most of the water in the soil, causing the soil to shrink and lead to foundation settling. This is why foundation watering is key during the dry season.
- Plumbing leaks. Water problems are a common cause of foundation damage in Dallas. Until you fix the leak, the foundation will continue to shift.
- Drought conditions. Expansive clay soil shrinks during the dry season. This then causes the foundation to settle.
- Improper landscape drainage. This causes pudding near the foundation. Over time, this will cause the foundation to shift.
- Inferior foundation construction. Inferior concrete and insufficient steel will contribute to movement in the slab.
Are there certain types of homes more susceptible to foundation problems?
Foundation failure can be caused by an infinite number of variables. Normally, homes constructed on un-compacted soils are more vulnerable to foundation failure. This is regardless of the type of foundation they are built upon.
If the home is resting on soils existing within the zone of influence, then it’ll be more susceptible to foundation issues. Structures whose foundations extend beyond the zone of influence, on the contrary, are often less susceptible.
There you have it. All the information you need to know about the two types of home foundations commonly found in Dallas, TX. Choosing the right one is critical to the longevity of your home.