House Foundations, Crawlspace vs Raised Slab

When determining the type of foundation your house will rest on it's important to understand the two most popular foundation types (Southeastern US).  Our non biased pros and cons are below:

 

Crawlspace

Cons:

  • Crawlspaces are notorious for moisture problems.  (If your project location is in a damp or high moisture climate it would be beneficial to have your crawlspace sealed and conditioned to prevent moisture build up, mold and wood rotting.)
  • Higher labor cost to install. 
  • Termites can be a problem.
  • Higher maintenance.
  • Can be a place for critters to live like varmints, bugs etc.

Pros:

  • Wood floor framing provides some give when walking (easier on joints).
  • Provides access to underside of house for electrical, plumbing and ductwork.
  • Remodeling is much easier with crawlspace. 
  • Air vents can be located in floor.
  • Possible storage space.

 

 

Rasied Slab

Cons

  • Remodeling can be costly due to slab removal.
  • Harder on joints / body.
  • Duct work may need to be located in an unconditioned attic (less energy efficient).
  • May feel colder.

Pros:.

  • Lower maintenance.
  • Can give appearance of crawlspace with out added costs.
  • No moisture issues if installed properly.
  • Can be lower to ground for accessibility. 
  • Can contain radiant floor heating for warmth.
  • Wont harbor allergens.
 

SUMMARY

If installed and graded properly, the crawlspace is a good option if you foresee possible remodeling projects especially moving plumbing fixtures.  It's also possible that your home will have a higher resale value. The best part of the crawlspace is the space under the house, but moisture issues should be considered.  If budget permits we suggest to have the crawlspace sealed and conditioned at an additional cost to prevent moisture problems. In general, a crawlspace will have more upfront costs but more flexibility for the future. 

A raised slab foundation is a good idea if you don't foresee a future remodel project and if you prefer to avoid any moisture and allergen issues typically associated with crawlspaces.   Since there are no under floor space requirements the floor can be lower to the ground if handicapped or accessibility requirements are needed.  If lower construction costs and eliminating moisture problems are a major goal, a raised slab is the way to go. •