When it comes to the advantages of slab foundations, there are more than just the aesthetic benefits. Slab foundations can offer many advantages in the efficiency and durability of structures. In addition, they can offer increased safety for those walking around them. Furthermore, they offer better resistance to fire damage and natural disasters such as earthquakes. However, you might be wondering which structures can be supported by a slab foundation and which ones cannot.
An excavated area that does not contain any soft soil should be treated with an engineered concrete slab foundation. This type of foundation provides the strongest footing, most waterproofing, and most resistive to water, wear and tear. A typical concrete slab foundation is actually a precast, thick, solid concrete slab that is poured directly onto the earth all at once. The sides of this slab are usually thicker (at least 24 inches) so that additional structural support can be added around the outer edge. If the area that will be poured does not have any soft soil, an organic based concrete slab may be used.
One of the primary disadvantages of a concrete slab foundation lies in the amount of soil pressure that must be exerted on it to keep it upright. If the area that will be poured has a lot of hills and ridges, then more soil pressure will be exerted on the foundation. Additionally, if the area contains a lot of clay soil, then there will be a greater amount of water evaporation from the soil. Therefore, additional drainage will become necessary and more foundation damage will occur.
A concrete slab does not provide protection from ground forces and weather unless the surrounding area is treated with a real footing system. Rebar is simply steel bar or wooden planks that are used as a reinforcement for a foundation. It is important to make sure that the bar is slotted properly into the foundation’s corners and sloped properly to the main floor level. Otherwise, excess moisture may pool around the rebar and cause foundation damage.
Slab foundation cracking can also occur when soil conditions are less than ideal. If drainage is poor in an area, then excess moisture can develop and pool around the foundations. As well, if the soil is too wet, then foundation cracks can develop. However, with today’s concrete and rebar products, this is not an issue.
The next disadvantage is that it cannot provide good thermal insulation. Cold soil absorbs heat before it reaches the surface, which means that cold floors will need more heat to stay comfortable. Moreover, even though the walls are insulated, the floors may still be cold, because the gap between the slabs is usually less than 50 cm. This means that the gaps can become larger and deeper, leading to increased heat loss through the floor.
There are, however, some advantages of slab foundations. Although concrete slabs are more expensive than plywood or steel foundations, they are more flexible and lightweight, which makes them more appropriate for uses like auto body repair. Furthermore, concrete slabs are easier to install compared to other types of foundations, like basement slab or concrete slab on grade foundations. In addition, concrete slabs can serve as the foundation for a wide variety of buildings, like apartment buildings, hotels and hospitals, due to their durability and ease of installation.
All in all, concrete slab foundations are not perfect. They have their drawbacks, but the good outweighs the bad. Keep in mind that your building’s longevity depends highly on the type of foundation you use. For instance, a well-sealed concrete slab may not prevent cracking, so you should take this into consideration. Cracking is most often found in poorly constructed concrete slabs.