The type of foundation you choose for your house will depend a lot on your area. In some locales, full basements are the norm. In other areas, the primary choices are concrete slabs or crawl space, also called raised floor, foundations. Construction costs will vary, mainly with the amount of excavation required, but generally, there is not a great deal of difference between a slab and a crawl space.
Good or Bad
A crawl space can be an asset for your house or a detriment. It depends on how the crawl space is built and finished. A proper crawl space has some advantages over a concrete slab and can add value to hour home, but a bad space can hurt the livability and the value.
Easier Access to Utilities
A crawl space provides access to your plumbing and electrical utilities from underneath the house, making it far cheaper to maintain or repair them. Plumbing in a slab is embedded in the concrete, and a leak or other problem can require tearing up the flooring and breaking up the concrete. Heating and cooling vents also can be run under a floor in a crawl space; they must be in walls on a slab foundation.
Heating and Cooling
An open crawl space without controlled airflow can make heating and cooling difficult and more expensive. Properly insulating a crawl space, however, can make heating and cooling more efficient and reduce costs. Sealing a crawl space with proper ventilation also will improve airflow in the house.
Crawl spaces also can harbor moisture, which can make houses damp and lead to mold problems. Those with dirt are especially vulnerable to moisture and mold problems. A proper crawl space should have a moisture barrier and some gravel or other surface to reduce moisture buildup. This also will reduce the chance of rot in wood joists and beams.
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