Slab-on-grade or traditional foundations?

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pracownik na budowie podczas wykonywania fundamentów
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People who decide to build a house from scratch face many important decisions that will determine the stability, safety and final appearance of the structure. One of the most important elements are foundations.

Choosing between a traditional foundation and a slab-on-grade foundation is not so easy because it requires taking many factors into consideration. Although most people still opt for tried and tested classic construction techniques, customer demand for modern solutions is growing rapidly. We suggest which foundations are better to choose

A ground slab, or saving time

We usually try to stick to proven solutions. This is also the case in construction – traditional foundations are still the most common choice. Their construction is based on footings and foundation walls. They are the most frequent cause of heat escaping in winter and increasing heating costs. In order to prevent this, another solution was created: foundations based exclusively on slabs. They feature much more efficient thermal insulation. They are also more resistant, so the frequent rise in groundwater is not so harmful to them. Foundation slabs can be installed much shallower than traditional foundations. This reduces the cost of labour and time spent on digging deep trenches, storing and then transporting soil. Even at this preliminary stage you can ensure that the house has less impact on the environment. Modern technologies used in the production of foundation slabs also means significant time savings compared to ordinary concrete in traditional foundations. In the case of slabs, the material dries in only 5 days, which is even 3 weeks shorter than with the earlier technology. This is a significant facilitation for both the owner and the construction team, which can move on to further stages of work much faster and more efficiently. In case of ordinary foundations it is necessary to plan almost a month break, only for drying out the concrete in footings

Ecological solutions on the construction site

The demand for alternative solutions for foundations is growing rapidly. Investors and construction companies note that this is closely related to the trend of caring for the environment. Modern technologies allow for more ecological and energy-saving constructions, which will affect the efficiency of the house for many years. It is worth adding that the ground slab works much better on soils with poor bearing capacity. Therefore it allows saving money and interferes less with the environment. Thanks to its construction the foundation does not deform because the acting forces are distributed evenly over its entire surface. This makes the ground slab a better support for the building. The specific layout reduces the danger of walls cracking due to small landslides, even after many years of such processes. Investors are still reluctant to use this solution, because already at the stage of pouring the ground slab it is necessary to have all the necessary connections planned and they cannot be changed later. This is due to the fact that this type of modern foundation simultaneously becomes the floor of the first floor of the house. This is the only disadvantage, which becomes almost insignificant when you consider the number of advantages

Advantages and disadvantages of traditional foundations

The undoubted advantage is that poured concrete foundations can be made by yourself. This definitely reduces expenses in the long and expensive process of building a house. Moreover, the mortar used does not have to be of particularly high quality, the concrete mixed on the construction site is enough. Alternatively, you can use ready-mixed concrete from a concrete plant instead. In this case, a professional company delivers the ordered amount of material to the construction site and pours it with a special pump. Traditionally laid foundations should be from 0.8 to 1.4 m below the ground, depending on the type of soil and the prevailing climatic conditions. The colder it is, the deeper you have to dig. As a standard, it is assumed that the foundation should be set below the frost zone to protect the material from possible damage. However, investors notice that the traditional method of pouring foundations is very time-consuming.

Peter Bowers

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