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Featured Article:

Basement Waterproofing: A solid foundation is something that every home needs. If a home's foundation fails....

The foundation of a home is essential for two major reasons. The first is that it anchors the home to the ground. The second is that the rest of the structure will sit upon it. The foundation of the home is truly the support of the home.

In many areas of the United States, basement foundations are utilized. A home’s foundation must be anchored below the freeze line of the soil. In many climates this freeze line is at a depth that constructing a basement is the most cost effective. Basements are usually made of concrete, either poured or blocks. Rebar is used to provide structural support. Cracks can develop in concrete and thus water intrusion, or leaking, is a concern. To prevent this, waterproofing is done to the foundation. On the outside of the foundation plastic drain pipes are laid to carry water away from the house foundation. Then, the exterior of the concrete is either tarred or wrapped with a waterproofing material. This provides another layer of water protection. When using concrete block, waterproofing is even more essential because of grout lines that may leak over time.

In more arid climates of the United States, pressure treated wood foundations are a new trend. Walls are typically 2" x 8" studs with 16" centers. They are constructed at the same time as the house framing. Waterproofing materials are still used on the exterior of the foundation. The wood foundation will provide a warmer and drier basement space, as well as interior walls that are easier to finish.

In climates of the United States that have freeze lines at smaller depths, or higher water tables, crawl spaces are popular foundations. Crawl space foundations are built on top of footers and generally range between two to four feet high. Crawl space foundations give you flexibility that slab on grade foundations do not. Utility rough-ins can be reached from the crawl space, making changes easy in the future. Slab on grade foundations in which the concrete slab is poured over footings onto graded dirt, do not have this flexibility. The footings are placed where the load bearing walls will be. The utility rough-ins are immovable in the concrete. Slab on grade foundations are less costly and popular in high water table regions. Another advantage of slab on grade foundations is that there are typically only one or no front steps, back steps, or steps from the garage into the house.

A retaining wall can also be considered a foundation structure. Retaining walls are used on sloping property. By cutting the wall into the dirt, you can create a level area above the retaining wall. Traditional retaining walls were made of old railway ties. But new materials include stone, brick, concrete block and more. These are much more eye pleasing and come in a variety of colors. The landscaping enthusiast can use retaining walls to create many different outdoor looks, including gardens and outdoor living areas.

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