Are Foundations Concrete or Cement? A Comprehensive Guide

The terms 'concrete' and 'cement' are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. Cement is an ingredient of concrete, which is rarely used on its own. For example, the slab foundations of your house are probably made of concrete, which has been made with cement, in addition to other ingredients. Poured and block foundations sit on concrete bases or poured pads that serve as the basis for walls. The shoes are built in trenches dug below the basement floor level.

These trenches are wider and longer than the walls they support and function as feet to distribute the weight of the wall and structure above it. The shoes provide a firm surface to resist sinking or shifting to the ground or substrate. A support trench ranges from six inches to three feet deep, depending on the size of the building and the characteristics of the soil. I have built buildings with both materials. The last house I built for my family had a giant foundation of poured concrete, but in the backyard I used concrete blocks to build a magical serpentine retaining wall that looks as good today as the day I built it decades ago.

You can build a foundation of poured concrete that can crack and collapse in a year, and you can build a concrete block foundation that can last hundreds of years without any failure. Reinforced steel is what determines success in the battle between foundation walls and mother nature. If you want a super-strong concrete block base, you need to include both horizontal steel reinforcing wire and, in the cores, vertical reinforcing steel extending from the concrete base. The cores of the concrete block must be filled with strong concrete that has a small aggregate the size of a pea. Poured concrete foundations also require reinforcing steel if you want the walls to withstand the horizontal forces of wet soil.

Another key point to remember is that foundation walls buried in the ground are nothing more than retaining walls. They prevent the earth from cascading into your basement. Modern forms of poured concrete foundations have revolutionized foundation construction. An experienced foreman with a small team of semi-skilled workers can lay concrete foundation molds poured in the morning, and concrete can be poured in the afternoon. The next day, the forms can be removed and the carpenters can get to work. It would take a small army of masons to achieve the same results: building with concrete blocks.

Poured concrete saves a lot of time. Make sure you use a lot of steel no matter what material you choose. My university degree is in geology. I realize that not everyone was lucky enough to follow this enlightening course of study. Several of the classes I took focused on floods, earthquakes, and other natural disasters faced by homeowners.

Sinking, landslides, debris flows and other things can wreak havoc on your life if you decide to build a house in a place where things can go wrong. There is little I can do to help Ann, other than advising her to schedule a meeting with the top three real estate agents in her neighborhood. I'm talking about experienced real estate agents who know what's going on. They will be able to outline any option. However, the best advice is to avoid buying or building a house on land that has a high or medium chance of being damaged by most disasters. You can get this advice by talking to a professional engineering geologist.

These professionals know the best and worst lots to build in a city, town or region. A consultation with one can cost several hundred dollars, but it's the best insurance you can get to make sure your house, or what's left of it, isn't in the center of television news. An above-grade slab base is a solid concrete slab that rests on the ground. The grade refers to the ground level and the slab refers to the monolithic concrete platform. Like all foundations, the slab starts with a concrete base poured 24 inches below the projected finish level.

After pouring the footers, a minimum of two layers of concrete block is placed on the footers. After laying the blocks, all internal pipes are installed. Then a rock backfill is added, followed by four inches of concrete poured on top. Homes with an access space base are elevated a few feet above the ground. Like a slab, a foundation is poured, then blocks are laid to create the base for supporting the walls of the structure. Building an access space base will save costs compared to a basement, but not necessarily time, since it takes approximately as much time to build it as a full basement foundation.

There are three main types of foundations: basement, basement and concrete slab. A fourth, but less common, option is wooden foundations. Since around 1960, pressure-treated wood has been a common base material. Wooden foundations are inexpensive, easy to assemble and can resist moisture and insects. However, wood does not last forever, so it has gradually become less popular as a foundation building material. They are supported by a concrete base; both are reinforced with steel rods and the concrete blocks are filled with grout.

The most expensive foundations are basements, especially if you want a finished basement, while the least expensive is a concrete slab. A poured concrete base is good at withstanding water pressure from outside which means that your home is better protected against leaks. Alternatively if you are looking for new home and strength of foundation is an important selling item for you then you will have evaluate house for yourself and determine if pre-built concrete is right choice for your situation. An access space base would be mid-range although you may find precast concrete slab solutions that cost about same cost Dig deeper into different types home foundations by discussing options.

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