Slab vs. Crawl Space Foundations
Generally, slab foundations are good for areas that get a lot of rain. They also tend to be cheaper. Crawlspaces work in drier areas or those with sloped terrain. This type requires more labor and are more expensive to build.
What’s the Difference Between a Slab and a Crawlspace?
A slab foundation is just that — a concrete slab with a house built on top. Footers sunk in the concrete help to support the home’s weight. Houses built on slabs don’t have basements and usually don’t have many stairs leading into the house.
A crawlspace foundation separates the home from the ground. Footings are poured, then bricks, cinder blocks or concrete pillars are used to make a foundation for the home’s walls. A crawlspace is the area between the ground and the home’s first floor.
What’s the Cost of a Slab vs. Crawl Space?
Slab foundations are generally about half the costs of crawl spaces since they require less work to build. Both require a professional to prepare the site. While the price of a slab home is based on the cost of concrete and the labor to pour it, the number of footers and foundation corners influence the price of a crawlspace.
- Materials: $3,500
- Labor: $7,000
- Total: $10,500
- Materials: $5,000
- Labor: $12,500
- Total: $17,500
Costs based on a 1,500-square foot house.
What’s More Durable: Slab or Crawlspace?
If installed properly, both types should last about 50 years.
- Can crack due to shifts in soil and growth of tree roots.
- Are stronger and can hold a lot of heavy furniture.
- Are susceptible to termite damage.
- Can be compromised by flooding and moisture.
Is a Crawlspace or Slab Better for a Rainy, Wet Climate?
A slab is better in wet, flood-prone areas.
- Can be built up above base floor elevation to protect from floor water.
- Design should direct rainwater away from the house’s walls and foundation.
- Reduces condensation in the structure that can lead to rot or mildew growth.
- Trap moisture underneath the house allowing mold growth.
- May require sump pumps to remove water during heavy rain events.
Which is Best for a Desert Climate?
Crawlspace foundations are preferred in dry climates since you don’t have to worry about moisture getting trapped beneath the house.
What are the Pros and Cons of a Crawl Space vs. Slab Foundation?
- Faster to build
- Low foundation maintenance
- Energy efficient
- Difficult to inspect for termites.
- No storage beneath the house.
- Water pipes are less accessible and slab foundation repairs are more expensive.
- A/C units, water heaters and other HVAC units must go in the home or attic.
- Floor is hard on your feet, regardless of finished floor covering.
- Good for sloped lots
- Better for soils like red clay
- Accessible plumbing and wiring
- Insect inspections are easier
- Comfortable for standing and walking
- May offer storage
- Longer to build.
- Stairs usually required to enter home.
- Less energy efficient since air flows under the home.
- Subject to pest infestations.
- Prone to moisture.
- Cracked foundations can cause house settling.
If you’re thinking about building a home, consult a home builder to find out the type of foundation that’s right for your home.
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