Once the paperwork and prep work is done and the lot prepared, the first thing that will happen in actually building your new custom home is laying the foundation.
When you’re planning the structure of your house, there are multiple different foundation types to choose from — and your choice here could set the tone for the rest of the build’s direction. When you’re working with one of our top notch architects to plan out your house, here are the main types of foundation you’ll be considering.
Concrete slab foundations are extremely popular because they are both the quickest and the cheapest option.
These concrete foundations provide a more airtight base for your home with less risk of termites or mold. The slab itself can be quickly poured, reinforced with metal mesh and bars where needed.
These foundations are best for warm and moderate climates, since extreme cold increases the risk of shifting or cracking (which is quite challenging to repair). Because houses built on concrete slabs sit lower to the ground, this is an option that should be pursued with caution if your area is at all prone to flooding.
The crawl space foundation is a halfway point between a standard slab and a basement. With this structural plan, the home itself is elevated a few feet off the ground, supported by blocks.
One of the biggest benefits to this type of foundation is that it leaves clear access to a lot of utilities, like plumbing and electrical wiring. Because it’s not sitting directly on the ground and has some conditioned air below it, the floors also stay warmer in the winter. It’s more affordable than a full basement.
You should be aware that a crawl space will take more time to build than a simple concrete slab. It will also be more costly, particularly because the exterior walls of the crawlspace will need to be fully insulated, just like the rest of your home.
If you want to add a lot of extra square footage to your home, digging a full basement is the way to go. Depending on your property type, the basement might be entirely underground, or it might be partially built into the side of a hill with one wall in the open air. Either way, the basement is a great way to make the most of a lot of land.
Basements are based on a concrete slab once the necessary space has been dug out of the ground. You’ll have a lot of choice in how much you want to finish it, with the freedom to leave it unfinished and come back to it later if you have budget concerns.
Because basements require more structural planning, more maintenance, and tend to be more of an investment, you’ll want to be sure to consult with a professional so you know it’s the best choice for you.
If you are building a smaller home on a difficult plot of land, a pier foundation could be a good option for you. This type of foundation is built with supporting pads of cement or strong wood posts placed at strategic intervals. This tends to raise the house at least 18 inches off the ground, which provides access to utilities the same way a standard crawlspace foundation does.
This type of foundation can be both sturdy and long-lasting for compact homes. It is less prone to flooding due to being raised off the ground, but it’s not recommended for areas that often have very strong winds.
Now that you know your options, let’s get starting laying your foundation!