: Slab foundations on houses.....



Night Wolf
12-29-07, 02:51 AM
Alright, so in NY, most all houses had full basement, maybe not finished, but there was a basement.

Here in GA (and FL) its very rare to see a full basement...

So that leaves crawl space and slab.

I am looking at a bunch of houses, and some are built on a slab foundation and others with crawl space. These houses are all built from the late 50's to the early 80's, similar construction, but its hit or miss.

Crawl space stinks to work in, but atleast you have access to all the envinornmental systems of the house, which can make the world of a difference if there is a problem. The house I am renting, which is similar age and construction as the houses I am looking into has a crawl space, and just the idea of being able to get under the house is nice. On the downside, this house is slightly settling towards the back and in the center, not enough to cause damage or crack walls, but the door frames are not perfectly square.

So I was want to get more opinions on this... should I just write off any houses with a slab foundation? Besides the obvious "what if a problem" you are pretty much at the mercy of the original design of the house, because you can't easily move plumbing and electrical wires around etc...

At first it didn't seem like a big deal, but the more I am reading about the disadvantages to slab foundation, the more it turns me away from it, and what stinks is that there is a house I like quite a bit, and the biggest negative to that particular house is the slab foundation construction.

So would you rule out slab foundation from the start, consider it or it just depends on the whole package deal?

dkozloski
12-29-07, 04:46 AM
It seems to me that there is a water table problem in much of Florida that precludes having a full basement. The high water table also means there is a tendency for buildings to settle and for a lot of moisture in the basement. A slab on compacted gravel with good drainage is one matter. A slab sitting on the dirt is quite another. As lawns and yards age they become higher and the slab settles. Soon you find your house to be a low point and in heavy rains the water comes in. Look for yards with a good slope and drainage. Picture in your mind what the house and drainage patern will look like with a tropical monsoon rainstorm in progress.

c5 rv
12-29-07, 08:30 AM
I would also avoid buying a house on a slab. Here in Michigan I've lived in two homes with rooms built on a slab and didn't like them at all. Of course, we have problems with the cold that you wouldn't.

Crawlspaces are nasty, but there are companies that specialize at sealing them to eliminate (or minimize) bugs, mold, etc. I still prefer an unfinished basement.

urbanski
12-29-07, 09:01 AM
my entire city is slabs. no worries if its engineered right. and if you get a leak, they can run a camera down the pipe and stent it from inside, no more ripped up slabs. call a foundation engineer out to inspect the place you want correctly, costs a couple hundred.

Night Wolf
12-29-07, 09:47 AM
a full basement (unfinished or finished) is simply not common at all to find around here... I'm not used to it either, cause most all houses in NY had a basement, ours did.

Of all the houses I am looking at, only one had a basement, and it was a partial basement, which was an odd situation too, because the other half of the house had crawl space.

Theres really no flood areas here, nor hurricane situations, but the water drainage something for me to look at in general. It does get cold here in the winter, but not cold enough for the ground to freeze (frost on the ground at most) so thats good too.

I am just trying to get a wide range of opinions, because I am learning about it myself and seeing if I should rule out slab alltogether, but the only other option around here is crawl space.

DILLIGAF
12-29-07, 10:03 AM
Nows a great time to buy a house!All slab foundations can be repaired cheaper than a flooded basement.Get a mechanical inspection and enjoy.

EcSTSatic
12-29-07, 11:13 AM
My parents' house in San Antonio is on a slab. It's a geological (you might say geographical) thing. The only problem I see with them is that concrete is very hard to walk on. There's no "give" like in a floor built on joists. I think they compensate sometimes with a subfloor that helps to cushion the slab.
The one advantage I see if you live in a cold area is that you can have radiant heat embedded in the slab. After installing an electric version of it in my newly remodeled and tiled bathroom floor, I'm thinking "I could get used to this :cloud9: "

malcolm
12-29-07, 01:53 PM
My son just bought a house in Waldwick NJ on a slab. Apparently that part on NJ has a very high water table and the whold town in on a slab.We've been working on the house and the floor is not concrete, a sub floor was built on top of the slab, tongue and grove boardsm then finished with hard wood. Feels just like a house with a basement. The only problem is all the plumbing goes through the attic, making adding a doormer difficult because all the pipes need to be relocated. Personally I would not buy a house without a basement and I would stay away from a place that is not level.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
12-29-07, 03:14 PM
Crawlspaces are great for hiding corpses.

slk230mb
12-29-07, 05:27 PM
Half of my house is on a slab, the rest has a full basement. The extension the last owners put on had a crawl space, we dug it out to make a full basement. The half with the basement is always cool/warm depending on the season. It's impossible to get the ground floor on the slab to not be freezing.

RightTurn
12-29-07, 06:02 PM
my entire city is slabs. no worries if its engineered right. and if you get a leak, they can run a camera down the pipe and stent it from inside, no more ripped up slabs. call a foundation engineer out to inspect the place you want correctly, costs a couple hundred.


Nows a great time to buy a house!All slab foundations can be repaired cheaper than a flooded basement.Get a mechanical inspection and enjoy.

:yeah: If you like the house on a slab and it passes inspection, go for it. Everything in this area is built on slab unless it's VERY old; those are on piers. Also, any construction is subject to settling. If the house is a few years old, chances are excellent that all settling has already occurred. Good luck!

Night Wolf
12-29-07, 07:21 PM
Well, I don't think I'll have to worry about slab foundation now, because the house thats on the top of my list has a (very nice) crawl space.... I poked around in there and it really does make life easier.

Brett
12-29-07, 07:57 PM
i moved down here from chicago and it took me a while to get used to the slab concept, but actually in FL you want a slab...its basically a matter of WHEN your crawlspace will flood not IF. a friend of mine in South Tampa has a crawl that constantly floods...his GPS says that his kitchen floor is 1 foot below sea level, so the crawl is a few feet below

77CDV
12-30-07, 12:56 AM
Here in CA, we abandoned raised foundations by the early 60's. Every house I've ever lived in has had a slab foundation. No issues, except after the 1994 Northridge quake, when one corner of the slab cracked. The fix involved jacking up a corner of the house to repair the slab. The end. Also with slab, you don't get nasty creepy crawly things that go bump in the night taking up residence under the house. It also doesn't sound like a herd of cattle going through when you walk across the floor. And, the fact that the plumbing and electrical are accessible also means they are exposed and can be damaged by freezes or those creepy crawly things gnawing on them. Rats and mice do like electrical wire for their nests.

In favor of a raised foundation, they are much kinder to walk on, and stay cooler in Summer and warmer in Winter. I wouldn't make a buying decision based solely on what kind of foundation the house has, unless it was germane to the geographic area. I would consider the house as a whole, and have it thoroughly inspected as a whole. Good luck on your house hunt.

Craig

Night Wolf
12-30-07, 04:21 AM
Hmmm, so I guess slab isn't as bad as I thought it was.... interesting, like I said, they are new to me.

Though the house I am interested in has a crawl space, the yard as a whole has a slight slope, and today looking at houses with the rain coming down hard, it really let me see things about the water and which properties it would pool up in.... I'm glad I got to see that, this property has no flodding or pooling whatsoever, that was one thing in the mix of everything else that appealed to me.

Our house in NY had a full basement, this house I am renting has a crawl space... so far no creepy crawly things going bump in the night or go bump in the night.... actually my fathers house in NY was a crawl space and no creepy things there either.

But, its good to know slabs aren't all that bad as some people make them out to be then, That was my idea of this thread, to get as many opinions as possible.

CadiJeff
12-30-07, 04:37 AM
hey Rick whats up!
I personally don't like either, you can't put a bar in your crawl space or shelter from a tornado under a slab but if a basement is no option it would depend on where the specific house is located and its design.

Night Wolf
12-30-07, 04:43 AM
hey Rick whats up!
I personally don't like either, you can't put a bar in your crawl space or shelter from a tornado under a slab but if a basement is no option it would depend on where the specific house is located and its design.

Welcome to the world of Southern Living.

Serisouly, like I said, all i was used to was basements, in FL no houses had basements because of the water table, and here in GA, I guess its because of the clay? It dosn't matter what price range you are in, houses here don't have basements, and all the new construction, which is all subdivsion is all slab.

Only 1 house had a *partial* basement, because the area of the lot where the house was had such a slope to permit one, I never really saw a partial basement either, but thats what it was, it wasn't very wide, nor very useful, it was about 1/3 the house and the rest had remaining crawl space. But, like I said, that was it.

I too would choose a full basement over crawl space or slab..... but here that simply is not an option, so I was trying to compare the two most common foundation types to gather information.

JC316
12-30-07, 05:05 AM
I have a pier and beam house thats sitting on a slab. I have about a 2 1/2 foot crawl space under there, it's not too bad to work on at all, just kinda creepy. I would go with one that has a crawl space TBH.

c5 rv
12-30-07, 07:36 AM
my entire city is slabs. no worries if its engineered right. and if you get a leak, they can run a camera down the pipe and stent it from inside, no more ripped up slabs. call a foundation engineer out to inspect the place you want correctly, costs a couple hundred.

I was channel surfing last night and came across one of those flip the house shows with a house on a slab. The guy with the sewer camera had detected a number of problems and said the big cost was in digging. I think the total was about $24K to dig through parts of the slab to reach the bad sewer pipe. I don't remember what show or channel it was, but the episode probably was named something like "The Cat House".

urbanski
12-30-07, 08:32 AM
I was channel surfing last night and came across one of those flip the house shows with a house on a slab. The guy with the sewer camera had detected a number of problems and said the big cost was in digging. I think the total was about $24K to dig through parts of the slab to reach the bad sewer pipe. I don't remember what show or channel it was, but the episode probably was named something like "The Cat House".

yeah, maybe the leaks were too large to fix from the inside, but around here several plumbing companies "stent" the leaks via the robot camera, just like they do coronary arteries. also, you can reroute the lines around the slab and cut the leaking pipes off. but last thing you want is a torn up slab :ack:

codewize
12-30-07, 10:31 PM
I would always go for a crawl space over a slab. In my eyes slab = someone cheaped out whereas a crawlspace may have meant there was to much rock to do a full basement.