Build a Strong Foundation for Your Home

If you are having a house or some other building built, one of the most important decisions you will be faced with is what kind of construction material will be used. Most buildings use some combination of wood, concrete and metal, but there are various different kinds of each material. With home building, you are likely to need concrete for the foundation and wood and steel for the structure of the house. The foundation is something to concentrate on because if the foundation is done improperly, it can lead to huge problems for the entire house.

Most homes have either a poured concrete foundation or a block concrete foundation. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Concrete block foundations, which were used almost exclusively up to the 1970s, have more compression strength than poured concrete, meaning they can support more weight from above. On the other hand, poured foundations have more lateral strength, and they are less likely to crack and buckle. Poured foundations also are more flexible when it comes to building and can accommodate last minute changes to construction plans.

One alternative that combines the best of both worlds is insulated concrete forms. These are essentially concrete or polystyrene walls that have reinforced space in between them that can be filled by concrete. This construction material can be stronger than either concrete block or pour concrete foundations, with buildings constructed with it six to nine times stronger than those built without it, but it has a number of other advantages as well. It saves money, with basement foundations using ICF costing about 40% less. That’s largely because it is less complex and also cuts down on waste. Another big advantage is energy efficiency. Buildings constructed with ICF usually have energy costs that are 20% to 25% lower. One additional advantage of using insulated concrete forms is sound dampening. Walls with ICF forms lead to a much quieter environment.

There are a number of factors to consider in building a home, including what materials to use in your foundation. If you prefer a certain method and materials, you need to make sure it is something your contractor is comfortable with. These days poured concrete and ICF are more common, but you can find a builder who will use concrete block if you look hard enough.

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