Foundation Repair 101

8 Different Types of Home Foundations

Written By :

Dayton Foundation Repair Experts

Published on July 6, 2023

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Did you know that there are 8 basic types of home foundations in use today? Knowing their differences can help you better understand potential repair issues over the years. Also, you might prefer one type over the other, a vital consideration when shopping for a new house!

The 8 common types of home foundations include:

  1. Basement foundation
  2. Crawlspace foundation
  3. Slab-on-grade foundation
  4. Raised slab foundation
  5. Stone foundation
  6. Wood foundation
  7. Insulated concrete forms
  8. Concrete masonry unit or cinderblocks

Whether you’re in the market for a new home or are looking to understand a bit more about your current home, keep reading! Some added details about these foundation types can help you better understand their pros and cons. Also, you’ll know when to call a foundation repair contractor to assess your foundation issues.

crawl space tpes of home foundations

What Are the 8 Types of Home Foundations Used Today?

Here are some added details about the 8 most common types of home foundations you’ll see today. Also, remember to call an experienced contractor if you have repair questions about any part of your home. This includes the foundation!

1. Basement foundations

Most people know what a basement is and how it’s designed! However, some homeowners don’t realize that there’s more than one basement style:

  • A partial basement isn’t as large as the home’s footprint. Instead, it only extends underneath a certain square footage of the home.
  • Full basements, the most common design, extend across the home’s entire width.
  • Walkout basements have a separate entryway. As the name implies, you can enter or exit the basement through that separate doorway. Larger basements with full windows are often called daylight basements.
  • A storm shelter is much smaller than traditional basements. These shelters might even sit under an attached garage rather than the house. Also, they typically have a separate stairway accessible from the home’s exterior.

2. Crawl spaces

A home constructed with a pier and beam foundation creates a crawl space. Piers set into the ground attach to long beams along a home’s underside. Those piers lift the home up, usually about 18” or more, creating that gap or crawl space.

3. Slab on grade

A slab or poured foundation is just that; a large concrete installation between molds. Obviously, these do not create a basement or space under the home. On-grade slabs sit along the ground, for a less obtrusive appearance. Also, on-grade foundations mean no stairs, for easier access in and out of the home.

4. Raised slab

As the name implies, a raised slab is a concrete installation raised off the ground. A raised slab foundation is like a cross between on-grade slabs and crawl spaces. However, unlike a pier and beam foundation, raised slabs don’t offer accessible space under the home.

Instead, a builder constructs a raised slab foundation by installing footings or a concrete block wall. Next, he or she fills that space with crushed stone or other aggregate. Then, they install moisture barriers and any plumbing pipes and wiring needed. Lastly, they pour the concrete slab over that space.

5. Stone

A stone foundation is a favorite choice for traditional homes, offering stunning aesthetics. Builders pack large stones around a foundation perimeter with concrete or a putty mixture. Leaving the stones exposed provides a natural look but a strong foundation under the home.

6. Wood

Contractors build wood foundations faster than most masonry or concrete options. Additionally, pressure-treated wood repels wood and insects more effectively than people often realize! Also, a builder starts a wood foundation with a base of cement and stone, to ensure its stability.

7. Insulated concrete forms or ICF

Insulated concrete forms or ICF are expanded polystyrene blocks. A contractor puts these blocks in place and then pours concrete inside them, forming a foundation wall. These ICF blocks offer added protection against moisture, pest infestation, and changing temperatures. In turn, you can enjoy a strong concrete foundation with the added insulation of foam.

8. Concrete masonry unit or cinderblocks

Most homeowners are familiar with cinderblock! However, you might not know that builders often use these to form foundations. Cinderblocks offer added strength for heavier structures and are often faster to install than standard slabs. Also, they don’t require the same curing time as a poured concrete foundation.

cinderblocks types of home foundations

What Is the Best Type of Foundation for a Home?

There is no “best” foundation type for any home, as your choice depends on your preferences and budget. With this in mind, consider some vital details about various foundation types to keep in mind:

  • Homeowners love basements for their added space. A finished basement with proper egress can even count as an added bedroom. In some cases, you can even create a rental unit in a basement.
  • On the other hand, basements hold damp, cold air under a home. Also, they’re prone to moisture problems and pest infestation. Lastly, they’re often the most expensive foundation ty-e to create!
  • Slab-on-grade foundations sit right on the ground, eliminating steps in and out of the home. However, some homeowners might feel that a slab-on-grade foundation makes a home seem overly small. Also, it might not offer the same view of the horizon as raised homes.
  • A raised foundation, including raised slabs and crawl spaces, is excellent in areas prone to flooding. Also, a crawl space means added storage and easy access to plumbing pipes and electrical wiring.
  • Insulated concrete foam offers added protection against freezing temperatures that might crack brittle concrete. Also, this added insulation means less risk of cold air along a home’s foundation.

A foundation repair contractor can offer added advice about foundation designs for your area and home. He or she might note added concerns based on area weather conditions, a home’s weight, and the like.

What Are the Longest Lasting House Foundations?

Poured concrete is typically the longest-lasting house foundation in use today. Concrete offers superior strength over wood, stone, and pier and beam foundations. Also, a contractor can shape poured concrete more readily than other materials.

Additionally, concrete block foundations offer excellent strength for homes and quick installation. In fact, they’re a favorite choice for basement foundations and offer added flexibility against shifting soil.

With this in mind, it’s vital that homeowners remember that all foundations need proper maintenance. Waterproofing repels damaging moisture, preventing concrete damage. Crawl space encapsulation also ensures a stable, dry space. Lastly, remember that proper soil grading keeps away damaging moisture, vital for any foundation design.

Is It Better to Have a Raised Foundation or Slab?

Slab versus a raised foundation depends on your needs and preferences. For instance, are you planning on aging in your home? If so, a slab-on-grade without stairs can be more manageable as you get older. Additionally, some homeowners might prefer the less obtrusive look of on-grade slabs.

On the other hand, some property owners might prefer the opposite, meaning an elevated home! A raised foundation can make a home look more “commanding.” Elevating the home can also mean a better view of the horizon and of your entire property. Also, don’t overlook the added storage crawl spaces and basements provide!

Lastly, consider your area’s weather patterns. A storm cellar or basement can mean better protection against tornadoes and other inclement conditions. A builder or foundation repair contractor can also help you decide the best option for your property.

A Note From Our Crew

Dayton Foundation Repair Experts is happy to explain these 8 common types of home foundations. We hope you enjoyed this information! Also, call our Dayton foundation repair contractors if you’re in the area and need a FREE foundation repair quote. We look forward to hearing from you!


Written By :

Dayton Foundation Repair Experts

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