What Materials are Used for Building Foundations?

Foundations are usually built with masonry materials such as concrete blocks or brick, or with poured concrete. Masonry materials offer high compressive strength and are much more resistant to moisture and soil damage than wood and metal materials. Wood can be used for house foundations in many cases, where the concrete base becomes an expensive option. Pressure treated wood and various chemicals can be used to prevent rotting and keep wood-eating pests, such as termites, away.

Stones are strong, durable and economical to use if available near the construction site. Stone mainly used for curtain walls and low pillars and, where they can be laid without mortar if economy is an important factor, although it is difficult to make them watertight, even if they are laid with mortar. To protect the house from termite attack, stone foundations are best suited, since they provide a waterproof barrier to entering the house. Concrete is the best material for the foundation among all other materials used for the foundation because it is hard, durable and resistant to compression.

Concrete does not affect moisture and can be made almost airtight for basement walls. It can be easily molded into any shape required for each base. Steel is the most popular reinforcing material used by foundation contractors in the United States because of its strength and durability. It is used in the form of steel rods of different thicknesses.

These steels can be arranged parallel or perpendicular to each other. In general, steel used as reinforcements is usually treated to be rust-free and rust-free. Aggregate is not just a material, but includes gravel, crushed stone, sand, slag and recycled concrete and geosynthetic aggregates. This material can be natural, manufactured or recycled.

Aggregates cover between 60 and 80% of the volume of concrete mix. Its main function is to provide compressive strength and volume to concrete. The amount of aggregates used in any concrete is selected for its durability, strength, workability and ability to receive finishes. To make concrete strong and durable, aggregates must be clean, hard, strong particles, free of absorbed chemicals or coatings of clay and other fine materials that could cause deterioration of concrete.

Fly ash mainly used as supplementary cementitious material (SCM) in the production of portland cement concrete. In addition, it is used in the manufacture of concrete when used together with portland cement, contributes to the properties of hardened concrete through hydraulic or pozzolanic activity, or both. The brick foundation can be built only as masonry units (simple masonry foundation) or reinforced with steel bars to increase the maximum load capacity. Sand is one of the essential ingredients of concrete.

The main function of sand in concrete is to work as a filling material. The sand fills the extra interstitial space left between the aggregates. It plays an important role in the composition of concrete. The amount of sand in concrete determines the strength and texture of the mixture.

In fact, if we remove sand from concrete, it will turn into a completely different material from the difficult to pour and low strength. Instead of laboriously building base forms with boards, some foundation contractors are using lightweight forms made of high-density polyethylene fabric. These flexible fabric systems easily adapt to inclined and uneven sites, simplifying digging, and the fabric is held in place as an integrated moisture-proof membrane. The bulging sides of the finished shoes also help to divert water away from the base.

Mezzanine spaces three to four feet deep are generally unheated but ventilated so that airflow prevents moisture build-up. The foundations of the access space support the entire structure and provide some storage and possibly enough space for the furnace and water heater. The materials used for the foundation of the access space include ICF (Insulated Concrete Forms), CMU (Concrete Masonry Units) and walls of poured concrete. The construction of a wooden base includes below ground foundation walls made of chromed copper arsenate (CCA) pressure-treated wood that sit on a concrete slab on a bed of gravel or crushed rock.

CCA provides resistance to fungi, mold, rot, termites and ants. Some consider wooden foundations to be easier and quicker to install creating warmer homes with lower energy bills than CMUs and poured concrete wall foundations. However wooden foundations cost more than CMUs and poured concrete walls, and are toxic to workers during installation. In addition rot and insects can damage a wooden base if it is not built correctly.

Common in the early 20th century charming stone foundations contain stones joined together with mortar spread between the stones and on top. Stone foundations require waterproofing to prevent the mortar from degrading and decreasing the durability and strength of the wall. In addition stone foundations will crack and bend if the house is not level or poorly built leading to water leaks. However poured concrete foundations decrease in strength if they are chipped (when the concrete surface peels off crumbles or flakes).

Water leakage problems can occur if wall cracks due to improper construction non-structural cracks or if base....

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