Pier and Beam or Slab Foundation - Which is the Best?

April 17, 2017

When building a new home, you'll need to decide whether to go with a pier & beam or slab foundation. So which is the best option for your particular situation? Which is more stable, and which is more costly and difficult - pier and beam foundation repair, or slab foundation repair? The truth is, you can't say outright that one of these options is better than the other. Both are solid foundations that can support the average home in the DFW area. The best way to make a choice is to first review the pros and cons of each option.

Pier and Beam Foundations

As the name suggests, Pier & Beam foundations depend upon a pier and beam structure to hold up your house. Piers that extend deep down into the ground and rest on stones are used to support beams that in turn support the home.

Pros of Pier and Beam Foundations

  • Pier & Beam foundations don't shift around as a result of the soil underneath the house since the piers rest on a brick or masonry structure.
  • The crawl space created between the house and the ground makes it easier to add insulation, plumbing and electrical lines beneath the floor.
  • The crawl space also makes foundation repairs easier in the event they are ever needed. If wiring or piping beneath the floor needs fixing, repairs can be performed more easily.
  • Since the foundation has individual piers and beams, if there are problems, you can isolate and fix specific issues without necessarily repairing the whole foundation.

Cons of Pier and Beam Foundations

  • Rodents, insects and even snakes can take up residence in the crawl space.
  • Moisture can come into the crawl space which can affect the beams and wooden flooring. Rotting smells and mold can also be trapped in the crawl space.
  • Pipes laid in the space are subject to freezing.
  • Pier & Beam foundations can be more expensive to construct and take longer to build.

Slab Foundations

Concrete slabs rest directly on the ground, which makes this type of foundation ideal for homes being built on flat lots. In the event you do someday need repairs, you'll have the option of choosing between concrete pilings and steel pilings. Your foundation repair contractor will be able to advise you on the right type for your particular situation.

Pros of Slab Foundations

  • Slabs can typically be constructed faster and more easily than Pier & Beam foundations. They are also usually less expensive to construct than pier and beam foundations.
  • In the cold season, pipes laid inside the slabs aren't subject to freezing.
  • The absence of a crawl space means there will be no water settling, bugs, or rodents living under the house.
  • You can choose from a wider selection of flooring options, wood included, without adverse effects.

Cons of Slab Foundations

  • Whenever foundation repairs are needed, piping and wiring inside the slab can make things a little difficult.
  • Concrete slabs occasionally shrink, crack, and even sink, necessitating repairs by a qualified foundation repair contractor.
  • Basements are not an option with this type of foundation.

To ensure you make the best choice, you should consult a home foundation specialist. To learn more about slab and pier & beam foundations give us a call at (817) 478-1181.

Do you think your pier & beam or slab foundation is in need of repairs? Call (817) 478-1181 to schedule a FREE, no-obligation inspection.

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