Which Material to Choose for a Solid Foundation? | homify

Which Material to Choose for a Solid Foundation?

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by Dal Ben Giardini
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One of the basic needs of every human being is the need for shelter. A popular dream is that this shelter is to our exacting standards, meeting every desire that we may want. Whatever your dream home, or your basic shelter, every house needs a strong foundation. When building your dream house, how do you know what will be the best foundation? Where do you start to find out what foundation will be best for your dream house? Every house needs a foundation that can support its weight and provide a flat and level base for its construction. The foundation of a house is most commonly built from concrete, although some are made from stone, brick or treated timber. When choosing a foundation for your house consider the area where you are building. The soil type and climate play an important part in deciding what foundation is best for your house.  homify has done the research and found the best materials for a solid foundation.

A Foundation for a Cold Climate

It is important to choose the right foundation for the climate you intend to build in. A foundation that may be perfect for one climate may be a disaster in another. Wood foundations may be great for a warm climate as they allow air flow, although a disaster in a fire prone area. When building in a cold climate it is important to choose the right foundation. When the ground in colder climates freezes it can lead to damage in concrete foundations. In these situations it is best to use a frost protected foundation. These foundations are specially designed for colder climates. They provide extra support for the foundation with concrete footings that extend below the frost line. This foundations utilise insulated concrete to protect the foundation from frost damage. This house was designed by Haacke Haus

Traditional Concrete Foundation

A traditional concrete foundation is the most common foundations for home construction. The concrete foundation essentially consists of a slab of concrete that has been poured onto the foundation area. It consist of a single layer of concrete that is several inches thick. These foundations rest on a bed of gravel to assist with drainage. These types of foundations are unstable in cold climates as the ground can freeze and alter the level of the foundation. Concrete is an excellent material to use for foundations as it is less likely to corrode, decay or rot like many other materials. Concrete is also a relatively economic choice for house foundations. Although one of the best reasons to choose concrete as a foundation is its resistance to wind, water, rodents and insects. This makes concrete one of the better choices for a house foundation. This house was designed by ELK Fertighaus

The Right Foundation for your Soil Type

The most suitable foundation for a house often depends on the type of soil it will be built on. A house built on poor soil will require a deeper foundation than one built on a better quality soil. The most common type of foundation is poured concrete foundation, but there are several types of poured concrete foundation depending on your soil variety. A gravel and sand type soil will support a poured concrete foundation although it will require adequate bearing capacity. A clay based soil is often subjected to movement due to the expansion and contraction of moisture. In these soils a deeper foundation is necessary to ensure that the foundation remains stable in all weather situations.  If you are unsure of the soil type in your area it is a good idea to seek expert advice. Local councils can also provide advice regarding the soil types in your area.

Reinforced Concrete

3D Luxury Floor Plans Design For Residential Home by Yantram Architectural Design Studio
Yantram Architectural Design Studio

3D Luxury Floor Plans Design For Residential Home

Yantram Architectural Design Studio

Some kinds of soils do not provide enough support to allow a traditional poured concrete foundation. In these situations, an extra level of stabilisation is required. Reinforced concrete is often the solution. Reinforced concrete is concrete that has had steel reinforcing bars embedded into it for extra strength and stability. These foundations are used on very weak or expansive soils such as clays and peat. They allow the foundations to float on or in the soil. These types of foundations are not suitable in all environment. When choosing the right foundation for you house seek advice from local builders and architects that are familiar with the local soils and climate.

Rubble Concrete Foundation

One of the lesser known foundation types is the rubble concrete foundation, or rubble trench foundation. Various forms of these foundations have been used for hundreds of years across the world. Frank Lloyd Wright rediscovered these types of foundations at the turn of the twentieth century stating that they were perfectly static, with no sign of movement. A rubble concrete foundation is essentially a continuous trench filled with crushed stone and topped with a load bearing beam.  This type of foundation is unusual as it provides structural bearing and water drainage at the same time. A rubble concrete foundation is more environmentally friendly as it uses less concrete than a traditional foundation and can utilise recycled crushed concrete fill.

Brick Foundations

Thatch Cottage with Storm Evolution Rustic style windows & doors by homify Rustic

Thatch Cottage with Storm Evolution


Brick foundations have been around for hundreds of years. Many of the older historic homes in the worlds largest cities have brick foundations. A brick foundation is essentially a concrete footing topped with a brick perimeter wall. Inside this wall there are a number of columns or post, each with their own footings. These posts are there to support a series of beams, which in turn support the floor joists. The thickness of the walls depend on the load they need to support. This of course refers to the size and type of the house. A large house with several levels will require a thicker wall and stronger posts to support the weight. With the new technology in concrete house foundations, brick foundations are becoming less popular.

The choice of materials for the foundation to your dream house is an important decision to make. It is essential that you have all the information required to make the best decision. When considering which foundation is best for your house consider the climate which the house is situated and the soil type you will be building on. These will both have a large impact on what material will be best for you. Consult your architect and builder for more information on the most appropriate foundation for your building project. For more inspiration see Visualise Your Next Home Project Like an Architect.

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