View Full Version : Why I Prefer a Raised Foundation

Joe Nernberg
06-06-2007, 10:39 PM
A Realtor friend called me about a house he will soon market. The architect insists on building on a raised foundation (flat lot) rather than a concrete slab. Realtor thinks this is a throw-back to old construction and potential buyers may be turned off by it. I disagree.

A few of the advantages (in my opinion) are warmer floors and ease of running cables/modifications. What are some of the other benefits?

Rick Hurst
06-07-2007, 05:24 AM
Running electrical wiring / cable to a new location.

Getting to and repairing a plumbing leak.

As a termite man also, I know it is easier to seek out the infestation site and treat it

Foundation repair in my opinion is easier if needed on a pier and beam.

Plus the home inspector charges extra when he has to get in the crawl space. ;)

Jack Feldmann
06-07-2007, 05:38 PM
Easier on your feet.

Less chance of radon.

Finished floor is higher off the ground for those heavy thunderstorms with 8" of rain in an hour.

Michael Greenwalt
06-08-2007, 11:09 AM
Storage space for all those bodies.
Oops sorry Joe, thought you were in Philly!

Victor DaGraca
06-08-2007, 03:31 PM
My home is on a raised foundation. Every other home in the neighborhood is on a grade level slab. We have been known to have some good soakers around Myrtle Beach. All I can say is that it is really funny to watch your next door neighbor exit to the road in a kayak. Mine was high and dry.
Of course we didn't have 6' of water... only 2'.

Jerry Peck
06-08-2007, 04:41 PM
For some unknown reason all you guys seem to think that slab on grade homes cannot be built as high as floor joist system homes can.

I've seen many slab on grade homes which were on sufficient fill to raise them ABOVE adjacent floor joist system homes, which then flooded, but the slab on grade house did not.

You've you to expand your horizons and think larger than simplistic.

If you build the house to BFE, or (preferably) DFE, *it does not matter* if the house has a crawl space of is slab on grade.

Comparing a crawlspace house to a space on grade house like you are, you might as well compare a stilt house to a crawlspace house, 'cause that sucker ain't a gonna flood no whar near as soon as that thar crawlspace house will.

Apples and oranges, guys, apples and oranges. It's not the type of construction, it the height of construction - compare apples and apples.

James Duffin
06-08-2007, 06:24 PM
I inspected a new house for a Realtor friend mother in law. It was in a new development and looked like a typical crawl space house. Looking around the neighborhood you saw crawl space doors everywhere.

I had done all the house but the crawl space so I headed that way and could not find a door. Come to find out it was a slab that had been built up to match the other houses in the neighborhood. The builder had told the buyer it was a crawl space and it looked like crawl foundation so I assumed it was.

After she moved in, the mom in law wanted a surround sound system installed. Since there was no crawl space and hardwood floor was glued to the slab there was no place to run the wires without making a mess in the house. The room had a vaulted ceiling with no attic.

I will take a crawl over a slab any day. Maintenance and renovations are so much easier. With a slab you have to saw concrete to do anything!

Bruce King
06-08-2007, 07:02 PM
I designed a 3600 HSF one level house on a slab that is one of a kind.

The slab is very much different than typical slabs with footers under all load bearing areas, fiberglass admix, reinf. wire and some rebar all on properly compacted soil.

The site was not level so the front has 4 risers and the rear backfilled for a small step down. One end is 5 feet high. Lot is graded for proper drainage.

The thermal mass of the slab and earth provides for awesome performance.
R38 in the attic, high end windows and doors, variable speed airhandlers with R410 heat pumps. Low power bills and amazing temperature stability due to the volume of air in the house (high ceilings).

All future wiring already installed, with two 200 amp panels, about 12 miles of low voltage cables etc. Spare light switches for future exterior items etc.

I have not inspected a house yet with a better hvac setup than this one.

It took 10 months of planning and 12 months construction to complete.

I agree with the problems with most slab houses but this one is a true custom with the plumbing controls, hvac and electrical, lighting designs.

The only thing I did not want is radiant floor heat since it is not needed in this area like up north.

If anyone wants help with a similar house I will be glad to share the details.

House is 5 years old now and still like new with only a few minor hvac repairs made.

Thom Walker
06-08-2007, 09:07 PM
Geez, Jerry! Leave the hyper focus to those of us who are truly ADD. When you do it it sounds like you got up on a really high horse. The flood factor is only one criteria these guys have mentioned. :)
In your world it sounds like you see great varieties of foundation styles in relatively close proximity. In my world, that's the exception. Frankly, your world sounds better, but it is what it is. And what it is doesn't always make much sense. I live on a barrier island and stilted houses or crawl space houses are not permitted. The architectural committee didn't like how they looked. Same goes for adding back fill to raise a slab. No can do; "it would look funny" and you can't bring soil onto the island.
Can a slab be raised as high as most crawls? Yes. Are most slabs raised as high as crawls? No. Most of the world lives in suburbia and the houses are all made of ticky-tacky on slabs four inches above grade. And here, they're now all infringing on easement because the builders wanted to build larger houses without having to buy more land.

I want a stilted house so that I can have an elevator. The ride is too short on a crawl space house. And I don't want another two story on a slab. I'm tired of going upstairs to clean the rooms that never get used. So the next one is 2000sq ft on stilts, with an elevator. A workshop and monster garage at the top of the hill can be on a slab.

Jerry Peck
06-08-2007, 09:49 PM
Can a slab be raised as high as most crawls? Yes. Are most slabs raised as high as crawls? No. Most of the world lives in suburbia and the houses are all made of ticky-tacky on slabs four inches above grade. And here, they're now all infringing on easement because the builders wanted to build larger houses without having to buy more land.

Just like where I come from. "In boxes made of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same. There's a green one, and a pink one, and a blue one, and a yellow one, And they're all made out of ticky-tacky, and they all look just the same." Malvina Reynolds / Pete Seeger

Guess the difference is that the building code departments recognize what flooding does and REQUIRES that the top of the slab be at DFE or higher.

One area I was at for 20 years was South Florida, which is, average AFTER fill, 8 feet above sea level, with a few areas going to the sky high elevation of ... 20 feet above sea level - you would get nose bleeds up that high! :D

Guess that flooding WAS a concern of theirs, as it is (and should be, is required to be) with any community which participates in the NFIP.

No high horse here, just "horse sense".

Heck, our current house in Ormond Beach is all of about 25 feet above sea level. Is that why my ears are always popping ... from the elevation change? :)

Thom Walker
06-08-2007, 10:27 PM
They really put their collective feet down here. Nothing below 9 ft.:rolleyes: That should get us through a Cat one, maybe.

Bruce Breedlove
06-08-2007, 10:55 PM
My house sits at an elevation of 6,300' above sea level. I think I'll be safe from the rising oceans when the polar ice caps melt.

Rick Williams
01-07-2011, 09:34 PM
Some perhaps prefer a slab, but the house that I bought in Mulino, Oregon is a shining example of seepage when it rains (Oregon is of course famous for water). One inch of water outside equals one inch inside at the end of one bedroom, that is the bedroom with a downhill slope to the south and a 2 degree list to starboard! I am still not sure what to do about it, at least it's only getting wet along the last 4 feet of wall......A raised foundation would have made much more sense.

Jack Feldmann
01-07-2011, 11:10 PM
This thread is over three years old.

Rick Williams
01-08-2011, 01:06 AM
Just freshening it up a bit.........( I missed the date by 3 feet)

Trent Tarter
01-08-2011, 11:54 AM
About 99% of all new homes in my area are on raised foundations. Slab homes are considered a cheap, cost cutting method of building a home. In my opinion a raised foundation has better resale value and allows much better access for repairs, future upgrades and replacement of systems.