Home Foundation Choices

Building from the Ground Up

home foundation,basement foundation
Your home foundation serves a threefold purpose:

* It lifts your house above the ground
* It keeps out cold and moisture
* It holds your house steady even when the earth surrounding it is prone to movement

One of your first decisions will be choosing what type
of home foundation you will build.

Will you build on a pier foundation, slab or basement?

Start by asking the following questions:

  • What is common for my area?

  • Will my choice affect resale value?

  • What do professionals recommend?

  • Are there requirements or restrictions
    on my choice?

What is common for my area?

If you live close to the ocean, most likely your home will be built with a pier foundation. In many parts of the world, you may have a choice between a slab and a basement foundation. If you live in an area prone to flooding or with a tendency towards major soil expansion, most homes will NOT have a basement.

In areas of the world where basements are common, you will want to seriously consider building one as well.


For several reasons. And this one is important:

Will the home foundation I choose affect the resale value?

A local real estate agent will be able to answer this question for you. Also, if most everyone in your area has a basement, then most likely the answer is a resounding yes.

If pier or slab foundations are the most common in your area, find out why.


Important Tip: Be sure you check with your homeowner's insurance company before making your final decision on a foundation. If the foundation type is unusual or uncommon in your area, you may not be able to afford it!

In one instance I read about, it was actually cheaper in the long run for a homeowner to have a basement dug after the house was constructed, than it was to continue to pay the spiked insurance premiums.

Basement square footage is often considered the "cheapest square footage you can build." In my area of the country, basements can be built at about 1/3 the cost of upper level square footage. The savings rack up quickly!

This may be your opportunity to add significant square footage to your new home at an affordable cost.

Once your decision is made regarding the type of foundation, then you can choose or design a home plan based on that criteria.

What do professionals recommend?

A professional you may want to seriously consider hiring is a structural engineer. He will assess your site and give his recommendation as to the ideal foundation for your specific piece of land.

Then be certain you do your homework and hire a reputable builder who will carry out those recommendations carefully.

Why are these professionals critical to your home foundation building?

Because if you have a foundation problem, you WILL have numerous problems with everything built above it! This could possibly result in a serious sinking feeling - not only in your stomach, but in your heart, your wallet, and in your house itself.

Your choices here can affect your entire building project.

Be sure you check out your builder thoroughly before you sign on the dotted line.

Poor workmanship on your foundation could end up costing you thousands of dollars, loads of time and conflict, and unending headaches. Believe me, you don't want your dream home to end up a nightmare because of a poorly constructed foundation.

Are there requirements or restrictions
on my choice?

Be sure you check with the city or county government in your area of residence to find out if there are any restrictions on your choice of house foundation.

If you plan to build in a subdivision, check the "Covenants and Restrictions" information. If you don't yet have your land, consider your choice of a home foundation as an important criteria for helping you decide where you will build.

Your structural engineer and your potential builders should also be aware of general practices and restrictions in your area of the country.

Enjoy your researching process and build a firm foundation for future living in your green home!

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