Foundation discussions can get heated. For some reason, builders often dig in their heels when the topic of slabs versus crawl spaces versus basements comes up. It’s time to declare a truce.
It’s perfectly possible to build a great house on any one of these three foundation types, as long as everything is properly detailed. Each type of foundation has advantages as well as disadvantages. If you have a foundation type that you prefer, that’s great. I’m not going to try to change your mind.
Before the development of central heating systems and the electrical grid, most cold-climate homes in North America included a basement or cellar. Why? Because a cellar was the only room in the house where temperatures wouldn’t drop below freezing during the winter. Homeowners could store potatoes, carrots, and turnips there without the risk that these foods would be spoiled by frost.
Of course, most of us no longer have to worry that the food stored in our kitchen cabinets will freeze. However, basements still have virtues:
Even though basements have advantages, plenty of people still hate basements. Here are some of the reasons why:
Let’s assume that you’re familiar with the pros and cons of basement foundations and you’ve decided to include a basement. Here are some issues to consider.
How should I build my walls? In most areas of the country, concrete block (CMU) basement walls have gone the way of the dodo, and that’s a good thing. Poured concrete walls are preferable in all respects to CMU walls.
If you want a basement wall system that includes insulation, you may want to specify the use of insulated concrete forms (ICFs) or a precast system like Superior Walls. Either of these options is likely to…