Basements were once considered a must-have feature for storage and extra living space, but many builders began switching to slab building a few decades ago. Leaving out the basement and putting the first floor directly on the top of the foundation offers numerous benefits to the homeowner, whether you're the first owner or the fifth. Find out why you may want to look for a single family home built on a slab to enjoy five distinct benefits.
A few simple mistakes made when sloping the dirt around the home can send water constantly leaking into a basement. When you build a solid slab instead, grading mistakes have a much smaller effect on the home. Water flows around the home because there's no wall to seep through, resulting in fewer mold problems and a stronger structure. It's a good idea to fix grading issues to prevent long-term erosion around your foundation, but you won't have an immediate basement flooding problem during your first rainstorm when you buy a home with no basement.
Radon is a colorless, odorless gas that has serious effects on your family's health. It can increase your long-term cancer risks, and in the short-term it also causes headaches, dizziness, and other unpleasant symptoms. Radon can't move as freely through the ground and into your home when you buy a home featuring a slab foundation. You'll still need radon testing, but you won't need a constant detector just to make sure you're not accidentally increasing your chances for developing lung cancer.
Superior Settling Resistance
All foundations settle and move a little over time, but basements are hollow spaces that are particularly prone to shifting and movement. This means that you're more likely to spend money on foundation repairs in the future if you choose a home with a basement instead of a solid slab. Slabs are poured from a single piece of concrete, while many basements feature block construction that has hundreds of joints that can fail and cause leaks or more serious structural instability.
It's also easier to reinforce a slab because of its solid construction. Running a few layers of concrete mesh or rebar frames will add a lot of strength to a slab foundation, but even more of the same material is needed for a basement due to the vertical walls. This means that homes constructed on a slab tend to cost less during resale as well.
The total height of a house plays a large role in how safe a home is for both elderly and young family members. Stairs and steps pose a fall risk for anyone who is learning to walk or dealing with mobility issues. Slab-built homes are lower to the ground because most basements tend to extend partially from the ground instead of leaving the home flush to the ground. A home on a slab is directly on the ground, eliminating entry steps unless there's a raised porch or other addition. This makes the home much more accessible for everyone, making it a great choice for both new families and adults taking care of their parents.
In general, a slab is cheaper to pour than a basement. This is true whether you're choosing block or poured basement walls because both require more material and labor than a slab. Slabs also dry quickly and allow construction to continue at a faster pace. If you're waiting on construction of a new home, you'll save money by spending less time in a rental with weekly or monthly costs. Slab-built homes come with a lower price tag due to these savings being passed down by the builder or previous buyer, and they're also cheaper to maintain due to the eliminated need to dry out a basement.