The Benefits Of A Concrete Foundation

When it comes to building a home, it is critically important to begin with a solid foundation.  A concrete foundation is the most popular and considered by most builders to be the best type of house foundation.  Concrete is strong and durable and able to withstand just about anything Mother Nature throws at it.

There are two types of concrete foundations:

A concrete slab and concrete blocks.  Both of these provide a good, solid foundation, but there are some differences between them.  The important thing to remember is to use the right concrete foundation materials for the situation.

Concrete blocks are often used to build a foundation.  These are made from poured concrete, but are not solid.  The ingredients in concrete blocks are gravel aggregate, cement, and sand.  These same ingredients are found in a concrete foundation slab, but the size of the gravel is different.

Concrete blocks typically have gravel stones no larger than the size of a pea, while poured concrete will often have gravel stones as big as ¾ of an inch.  This can impact the density and durability of the concrete.

Poured concrete slabs are completely solid.  The concrete pours from the cement mixer and into the form and solidifies.  Concrete block foundations are not solid.  Even the concrete blocks used to build concrete block foundations are hollow.

Concrete block foundations are built by stacking blocks on top of each other.  When you look down at a stack of these blocks, you can see all the way down the center of the stack.

Once the concrete blocks are in place, these spaces can be filled with either poured concrete or a mortar of cement.   If a builder does this, then a concrete block foundation is nearly as strong as a poured concrete foundation slab.

Most of the time, though filling the spaces in a concrete block foundation will not be enough to pass code or satisfy the structural engineers.  This is because concrete strength can vary depending upon how it is poured and laid.

Concrete Foundation

  Strength of Concrete Foundations

Anything made from cement or concrete typically has  high compressive strength.  This can be measured in thousands of pounds per square inch.   This same material will only have one-tenth of that strength when stretching or tension force is applied.

When homes are built, concrete foundation slabs and concrete block foundations are typically subjected to these types of force.  Cement foundations may be bent or placed up against a dirt bank.  When soil is backfilled against a foundation, tension is produced as this soil pushes against the wall.  If the soil is poor, this creates even more tension and adds more weight to the foundation.

Both concrete foundation slabs and concrete block foundations may be strengthened by adding reinforced steel rods.  Steel has a high tensile strength, typically 40,000 pounds per square inch or more.  Adding steel rods to a concrete foundation dramatically increases the foundation’s ability to withstand pressure and weight.

Using concrete to build a cement foundation is the best way to get a strong, durable base for your home.  Work with a professional concrete contractor to determine which type of foundation is right for your home.  They have the expertise and skills to ensure your home’s concrete foundation will last.