What is a Raised Slab Foundation? - Complete Guide

January 13, 2023

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Are you a homeowner asking, what is a raised slab foundation? This is not an uncommon question for anyone considering new construction! Most homeowners understand a slab foundation and one with a crawl space. However, a raised slab might be something new to them.

If this describes your situation, keep reading! A simple explanation of foundation differences can help you choose the right one for your project. Also, you can better understand needed maintenance if you own a property with a raised slab. Above all, call a concrete foundation repair contractor near you as needed for added questions and needed fixes.

What is a raised slab foundation?

First, note that contractors refer to the ground’s surface as its grade. Second, a slab foundation refers to a large concrete block or piece under your home. An “on grade” slab foundation sits directly on the property’s grade, usually atop some gravel and soundproofing materials.

A pier and beam foundation differs greatly from a slab. Large beams attach to the home’s underside and then to posts or piers sunk into the ground. This foundation design lifts the home off the ground by several inches to a few feet. In turn, a pier and beam foundation creates a crawl space under the structure.

A raised slab foundation is like a cross between a standard concrete slab and a pier and beam foundation. First, a contractor sets down footings, or a foundation base. Second, the contractor typically adds a bed of gravel or dirt and then a moisture barrier. Contractors then install plumbing pipes as needed, and wire mesh to support the slab.

Lastly, your foundation concrete pours the concrete over the mesh, onto the footings. Those footings raise a home several inches off the ground, which some homeowners prefer. However, a raised slab foundation doesn’t create a crawl space like a pier and beam foundation.

what is a raised slab foundation

How high is a raised slab foundation?

One advantage raised slab foundations offer is added flood protection. Building codes usually dictate their construction at 12 inches above flood levels. However, local codes always affect foundation construction. Additionally, a contractor might adjust that slab thickness according to your home’s design.

For instance, remember that foundations hold up a structure’s weight. Consequently, a contractor might suggest a thicker slab if your home includes stone floors or other heavier details. Your contractor might also take into consideration local flood risks and suggest a more elevated slab to compensate.

Is it better to have a raised foundation or slab?

There is no “cookie cutter” answer as to the best foundation for a home. Pier and beam, on grade slab, and raised slab all offer pros and cons! In turn, it’s best just to consider those advantages and disadvantages when choosing a foundation design for your construction plans.

  • Pier and beam foundations allow for easier access to plumbing pipes and wiring underneath a structure. Also, homeowners can use a crawl space for storage.
  • Additionally, lifting a home off the ground with a pier and beam foundation protects it against flood damage.
  • Unless an on-grade slab foundation home has a second story, they mean no stairs to manage! In turn, they’re safer for the elderly or anyone with balance issues, joint pain, and the like.
  • Slab foundations are often quieter than pier and beam foundations, as they have no space under them to create echoes.
  • Also, pier and beam foundation crawl spaces might trap moisture that risks mold and mildew in the home. In some cases, that crawl space can also become home to bothersome pests.
  • Raised slab foundations offer the advantages of a slab while picking up a home off the ground. In turn, they’re often safer in flood zones.
  • Lastly, note that some homeowners might appreciate the added height of a raised slab foundation. Their home might seem grander, or it might offer a better view of the horizon from interior rooms.

How long does a raised foundation last?

High-quality concrete slab foundations can last 50 to 80 years, if not even longer. However, homeowners might consider waterproofing that foundation, for added protection. Also, you must check for termite damage and other such risks over the years.

Above all, ensure you slope your property’s grade as needed to direct water away from the foundation. Water collecting under that slab risks cracks, leaking, and other damage. Additionally, wood framing tends to absorb that trapped moisture, leading to wood rot. If you notice any signs of foundation leaks, address those immediately!

Lastly, ensure you don’t put undue stress on the foundation. This includes adding stone floors, a sunroom, and other additions. An engineer can note if the foundation can support that weight. If not, add underpinning or other support before modifying your home.

Fort Wayne Foundation Repair Experts is happy to help answer the question, what is a raised slab foundation? Hopefully, you found this information informative and useful. Also, if you’re in the market for expert services, call our Fort Wayne foundation repair contractors. We’ll schedule a FREE inspection and price quote at your earliest convenience. Above all, we stand behind every project we take on with an industry-leading warranty. To find out more, give us a call today.


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