Concrete Foundations

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Concrete foundations are the most common type of house foundation, primarily because of their overall strength and durability to withstand the elements. Your house foundation will most likely be either a concrete slab foundation or a concrete block foundation.

What is a Concrete Slab Foundation?

A concrete slab foundation is made up of a single layer of concrete poured approximately 4 to 6 inches thick. Concrete slab foundations come in three different forms:

  • Frost protected: Used only on buildings that have central heating, this type of house foundation consists of two sheets of insulation laid at the base and outside of the foundation wall. It's ideal for areas that are prone to frost because it prevents heat from escaping through the edge of the concrete slab.
  • Slab-on-grade: This type of concrete slab foundation is used in warmer climates where the ground is not prone to freezing. The concrete is poured on top of a bed of gravel to improve drainage on the property. The edges of the slab are thicker than the rest of the slab, which serves to reinforce the foundation.
  • T-shaped: T-shaped foundations are used in areas prone to freezing ground. The T-shaped foundation has special footing below ground for added support, as well as a block perimeter wall and gravel. Unlike frost protected and slab-on-grade foundations, a T-shaped foundation is not poured all at once, but typically requires three pours before it's completed.

What is a Concrete Block Foundation?

A concrete block foundation is made from concrete blocks rather than poured concrete. A concrete footing is installed, and a foundation is built on top of it. Concrete block foundations must be filled with concrete and rebar for stability and insulation. They are then parged with mortar to provide a more uniform look. Concrete block foundations typically take longer to construct than concrete slab foundations and are more expensive. However, they provide excellent insulation in areas prone to freezing.

When deciding on a concrete slab foundation or a concrete block foundation, consider your budget, timeline and climate before making your decision.

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