From Spanish-style haciendas to antebellum plantations, from sprawling single-story ranch houses to simple prairie homes, people looking to settle down and purchase a home in Texas are sure to find a dwelling that suits their style. Residents of our state will agree that the type of homes found here vary widely. And while residences here come in wide variety of styles, home foundation types are rather simple.
Today, we would like to present all the information you need to know about your home’s foundation so that you, the consumer, will be armed with adequate information to make wise choices when purchasing your next home.
Most single-family homes in Texas are built upon two types of foundation: poured concrete slab or pier and beam foundation.
One of the quickest types of foundations to pour is concrete slab foundation. Many builders use this style of foundation because it is both simple and cost-effective. It became extremely popular during the housing boom that our country experienced post-World War II. When veterans began returning home to their families and settling down to raise children of their own, builders needed an efficient and simple way to complete houses quickly. Because of its versatility, poured concrete slab foundations are still commonly used today.
Before the cement can be poured to create this type of foundation, topsoil must be removed, and if well-drained conditions are not present, a layer of gravel, several inches thick may be introduced to the site. To create a strong, lasting foundation, builders will reinforce the area with steel reinforcing bars, also called “rebar”, and a welded wire mesh. However, even when proper steps are taken to reinforce the concrete, over time, slabs can shift, buckle, and crack due to the ground conditions beneath the slab, extreme weather, or other geological events.
Lastly, before the cement is poured, plumbing and electrical systems are integrated into the area so that once poured, these systems will become encased in the concrete.
Pier and beam foundations (also commonly referred to as “post and beam foundations”) are also commonly found in our area, usually in houses built prior to the 1960’s. With this type of foundation, a home’s treated floor is elevated about eighteen inches from the ground, resting on a series of concrete “piers” or blocks. The piers are connected with a series of pressure treated wooden beams, connected with wooden joists, creating subfloor for the residence.
Like with a poured concrete foundation, the plumbing and electrical systems of the home run underneath the residence. However, because of the crawl space that is created through this type of construction, if one of these systems should need attention, they are much more easily accessed.
One of the main problems with pier and beam construction is deterioration. Even if pressure-treated lumber is used in initial construction, wood decomposition occurs over time, and termite infestation is a constant threat. Insects, rodents, and small animals often make their nests in crawl spaces, and, though rare in our area, freezing temperatures could have a detrimental effect on exposed pipes.
The Texas State Historical Association’s division of land resources recognizes over 1,300 different types of soil in our state, each with its own distinct attributes and characteristics. Knowing about your home’s foundation-type is important, but equally important as knowing what is underneath the home’s foundation. That’s where we come in. Perma-Pier Foundation Repair has been serving Texans for three generations, and we have made it our business to understand the geology of Texas Prairie Land soils and the effect different types of soil have on the structural integrity of a building. If you are looking to purchase a home or commercial building in our area, and would benefit from a free foundation evaluation, contact us today!