Concrete foundation, unlike other forms of foundations, are not only extremely sturdy but are also incredibly economical to set up. Contrary to what many people believe, a concrete foundation does not simply sit on top of the soil like a traditional foundation does. Foundations, in fact, are often considered the skeleton of a building, moving the weight between the ground and whatever structure rests above it. So what are home foundations made of exactly? A concrete foundation, though not by any means the cheapest or easiest, is the strongest because it is the most versatile, too.
A concrete foundation consists of four elements: the base, the slab, the footing, and the cap. The foundation must meet all four of these elements at once. The foundation begins with the base, which is basically a layer of hardened dirt, gravel, or another substance that will help the weight of the entire building sink into the soil. The layer of soil will also protect the base from the harshness of the environment. Then, after the base is in place, the next layer is the slab, which forms the foundation’s foundation wall.
The slab should be constructed in such a way that it rests directly on the foundation. If it does not sit on the foundation directly, there is a good chance that it will become damaged or fall down, which is obviously something that no one wants to happen. Besides that, concrete foundations have to take the pressure of being moved by both weight from below and the weight of the objects sitting on top of them. Furthermore, there are times when special equipment is needed to construct stronger concrete foundations – for example, when installing a swimming pool underneath a concrete foundation.
The next layer, the footing, is what gives the foundation its strength. The importance of this lies in the fact that the weight of the objects that are resting on top of the foundation need to resist the pressure exerted by the water. The footings, therefore, play a very important role. They are responsible for absorbing the water that melts on top of the foundation and moving it to where it can evaporate. On the other hand, if the footings are insufficient, the foundation will be damaged by the weight of the water and the objects that are resting on it. Therefore, one of the most important things to consider when constructing a concrete foundation is how well the footings to support the weight of the objects that are resting on top of them.
Although frost has its disadvantages, it does play an important role in strengthening concrete foundations. Frost-heave occurs when the surface beneath the footing becomes thin, and it makes it easier for water to seep through and melt the foundation. It is much more common in basements and crawlspaces than in other areas, however. Moreover, if the foundation is wet, the frost-heave problem may not even occur, since water can help maintain the surface underneath.
There are several ways to prevent frost-heave problems from occurring. One of these is to build a t-shaped foundation. By having two equal sides with the bottom part of the t-shaped foundation at ground level and the top part at higher level, water can easily drain off the foundation. A well-drained slab – one that drains well – is also a good way to prevent frost-heave. Another way to prevent frost-heave is by increasing the amount of concrete in the foundation. If you have a concrete slab that drains well, you don’t have to worry about adding extra concrete to the base because the additional concrete is already doing the job.