What is a Raised Foundation?

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As the name implies, a raised foundation lifts the home off the ground. Raised foundations come in three forms: crawl space, pier and beam, and raised slab. While each type is different, they all provide excellent support for the building and help it avoid contact with the ground below. 

a raised foundation lifts the home off the ground. Raised foundations come in three forms: crawl space, pier and beam, and raised slab.

Three Types of Raised Foundations

  1. Crawl space foundations: These foundations consist of sub-surface footings. From those footings, walls extend above the ground and connect to the home. These walls create a small enclosed space between the house and the ground. Within that space, it is common for piers and other support structures to exist. Crawl spaces provide easy access to utilities. If they’ve undergone encapsulation, they can also be used to store things like tools and holiday decorations.
  2. Pier and beam foundations: This foundation type includes long piers that extend deep into the ground. The home rests on beams that connect to the top of the piers several feet above the soil’s surface. Pier and beam foundations are most common in areas where flooding is common. For example, beachfront properties.
  3. Raised slab foundations: A raised slab foundation is similar to a crawl space foundation. It includes footings that support perimeter walls that then support the home’s weight. The primary difference is that rather than creating an empty space, builders will fill a raised slab foundation with porous material intended to allow for easy drainage below the house.

Three Types of Raised Foundations

What Are the Pros of Raised Foundations?

The list below provides some of the pros of a raised foundation. However, since raised foundations come in different forms, some of these pros apply to certain foundation types but not others.

  1. Prevention of water damage: The primary benefit of a raised foundation is that it helps prevent water damage in areas where flooding is likely. Since raised foundations literally lift the home off the ground, the house should remain free from damage when water reaches the foundation area. This advantage is why pier and beam foundations are common in areas near large bodies of water.
  2. Easy access to utilities: Both crawl space and pier and beam foundations allow for easy access to utilities.
  3. Easy access for repairs: The fact that crawl space and pier and beam foundations provide easy access to utilities makes it easier for repair teams to provide the necessary services.
  4. Protection from tree roots: Pier and beam foundations are especially capable of avoiding problems related to invasive tree roots.

What Are the Cons of Raised Foundations?

While raised foundations come with several advantages, they also have some downsides, including the following:

  1. Pest infestations: The space between a home and the ground that many raised foundations create can be the ideal location for insects and unwanted animals.
  2. Minimal storage space: Unlike basement foundations, raised foundations do not provide any type of storage space. However, there is one exception to this. Crawl spaces that have been encapsulated can provide some valuable storage space.
  3. No added living space: Unlike full basements, raised foundations do not provide any type of living space.
  4. Moisture issues: Moisture-related problems are common in crawl space foundations. Open crawl space vents can allow moist air to flow in and condense on cooler surfaces. High amounts of moisture in a crawl space can lead to many issues, including mold, wood rot, and pest infestations.
  5. Poor energy efficiency: Many raised foundations are not energy efficient because they provide less protection from extreme temperature changes outdoors. Since raised foundations create an open space, your home will be more affected by hot and cold air, making it more difficult for HVAC units to maintain a comfortable living environment inside.

Other Foundation Types

Other foundation types include the following:

  1. Full basement foundations: This type of foundation includes footings that extend deep into the earth, at least six feet or more. This depth allows the foundation to go below the frost line in many locations. Additionally, you can also finish a full basement, creating an entire floor of additional living space and storage.
  2. Slab foundations: Slabs are some of the simplest and most cost-effective foundation types. These foundations consist of a poured concrete slab that rests on the ground. Since slabs don’t extend deep into the ground, they are not useful in regions that experience frost. Slab foundations also do not help mitigate flooding damage or provide space for storage, living, or easy repairs. Still, the simplicity and affordability of these foundations make them popular.

Slabs are some of the simplest and most cost-effective foundation types.

What is the Right Type of Foundation for You?

This article provides some key insights about raised foundations and other foundation types. However, if you want to know which of these foundations is best for you, reach out to a foundation professional who can steer you in the right direction.

If you live in the Triangle, Triad, or Eastern North Carolina, Regional Foundation & Crawl Space Repair is the ideal team to choose for any foundation-related matters. Contact us today to learn more about raised foundations and our repair services.