Laying the foundation of your new home is one of the very first steps in your build (well, after finding the perfect location), and, just like at every other stage, you’ll find yourself presented with options. Each come with their own considerations, as well as different price-points, so we’ve put together a brief guide to the different types of foundations and some budget considerations you might not have thought of.
Concrete Slab Foundation
Pros: Made of poured concrete, this is a very low-maintenance option.
Cons: Plumbing fixes are tricky with a slab foundation since the concrete is poured over the pipes, so they’re tough to access.
Budget consideration: Slab foundation is the most affordable of the foundation options.
Insulated Concrete Foundation
Pros: ICF provides continuous insulation on both sides of the wall, giving you a warmer, more comfortable basement space.
Cons: ICF is about 30% more expensive than a poured concrete foundation, so you’ll need to add room in your budget.
Budget Considerations: ICF is better value in the long run because it eliminates energy loss and thermal bridging so you’ll save on energy bills.
Crawl Space Foundation
Pros: Built a few feet off the ground, a crawl space is warmer than a slab, and makes it easier to access pipes for any plumbing issues.
Cons: A crawl space foundation needs to be insulated and conditioned to avoid the growth of mold and fungi.
Budget Consideration: Slightly more expensive than a slab foundation, plus you will need extra budget for the necessary treatment and conditioning.
Pros: This is an 8ft (or deeper) hole with poured concrete walls and a concrete floor. A basement foundation gets you more space at a lower cost per square foot, plus you get energy-efficient living spaces that stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
Cons: Require additional budget to install proper drainage like a sump pump to avoid flooding.
Budget Considerations: In addition to the additional drainage costs, basements are best for bigger budgets - especially if they’re finished or walk-out basements.
Additional General Budget Considerations: Whichever foundation you choose, make sure to leave extra room in your budget for excavation. Not only will you cover the cost of the excavation itself, you might be surprised if something like rock is discovered during. You’ll have to cover the cost of blasting during the process, so having an ‘emergency fund’ of sorts is a good plan!
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