For new homeowners, the superficial exterior of their new home is often considered the most vital and important part. But that is far from the case. Without a strong foundation, the new home is susceptible to undesired sideways movement, cracking and, in the unfortunate event of natural weather phenomena, sinking.
Whether your project is to dig out a basement or to build a home on a new residential lot, a strong foundation requires focus and attention to detail. Before you break ground in your new construction project, here are five important tips to consider.
1. Job site preparation
Before the start of any major construction work, the job site should undergo a number of inspections. Doing inspection during the pre-excavation process prevents innumerable problems from occurring once the site is dug into.
Be sure to get the job site inspected for the nature of the soil. Certain soil types such as clay or black earth will require special considerations such as wider footings. Likewise, when inspecting the soil type, it’s important to verify the water table height to avoid water infiltration, which will be problematic later down the line.
Environmental packer testing can be used to determine the permeability of the soil underneath and around your foundation.
Check with your local municipality for any underground lines or pipes that may compromise the job site. Have your lot surveyed during this process to confirm the actual dimensions of your foundation. These will need to be addressed before any excavation takes place.
2. Inspection matters
As the foundation is structurally integral to supporting the weight of your home, you should consider hiring an independent inspector or structural engineer to accurately assess the foundation design and acquire a structural analysis of the job site. It’s an added precaution, but the small price you pay for their expertise and knowledge guarantees that the job is done correctly.
3. Simplification is key
A complex design can lead to costly errors or complicated reviews during site visits. When and if possible, try to simplify as many processes as you can. This includes, as formerly mentioned, the design phase, but also the framing dimensions and building outline of your foundation.
Discuss where processes can be simplified with your builder and designer to avoid mistakes as the job progresses.
4. Water — definitely off-limits!
When your job site is ready for excavation, water can become a detrimental element. There are many factors that may contribute to slab leaks; regardless, when slab leaks occur, they can become a costly problem, particularly when left unresolved.
This is why it is important that your foundation be built to specifications that reflect potential natural weather phenomena that may occur in local surroundings. This includes natural disasters like earthquakes or hurricanes. Addressing these potential problems during the building process ensures it does not become a costly mistake later.
Take special consideration when installing waterproofing material for the exterior foundation walls. Foundation building is not where one should skim on the quality of materials. Using high-quality materials — from construction grout packers and sealers to moisture and vapor barriers — ensures the foundation remains dry for the lifetime of your home.
Likewise, your foundation should have a perimeter drain to channel away any groundwater that may find its way to your foundation walls.
5. Contractor quality
For any homeowner, cost will also be a strong focus in any construction job. And one of the main areas in which homeowners try to save money is by hiring the cheapest contractor. But hiring the cheapest contractor may, consequently, turn out to be a costly mistake.
Your contractor is an investment in the future of your home. By hiring a quality-minded contractor, you make sure the job is done right the first time, every time. And as the foundation serves as the underfoot for your home, this is a job not to be taken lightly, ever.
A quality-minded contractor will take every process of the construction job into consideration, from pre-construction all the way to project close-out. This includes employing innovative environmental solutions for cleanup, and addressing any warranty issues that may arise.
A strong foundation is perhaps the most important element of your new home. The foundation you build your home on will determine how sound and stable your dwelling place will be in the years to come. It’s essential to understand the importance of a strong foundation because, without it, you may be sinking more than just your money into a pit.
Dave Baca is the General Manager at Aardvark Packers LLC, overseeing day-to-day operations as well as sales, marketing, purchasing and work order manipulation. He received his machinist degree in 1989 and excels at design on AutoCAD, transforming designs into the packer systems requested by clients.
April 15, 2018