When you are looking to buy a home, the first thing you should determine is the type of foundation. The foundation is the first part of the home constructed and sets the groundwork for the remainder of the home. This is the most important part of the house and a properly designed foundation bears the weight of the entire house while protecting it from the climate, moisture, ground movement, etc. There are a few main types of foundations used by builders depending on factors such as the budget, location, soil, type of house and climate. The main types used are Slab, Crawlspace, and Basement.
This is the least expensive type of foundation and one of the easiest to build. Slab on grade foundations consist of a concrete pad poured directly on the ground. These foundations typically work well in warmer climates that do not experience freezing and thawing that can lead to the concrete cracking. The water supply and drainage pipes are encased in the concrete so if there is a problem the concrete may have to be broken in order to find a solution. However, not all slab foundations are grade on slab built on concrete directly on the ground. Some homes may be built on elevated slabs.
This type of foundation elevates the house as opposed to a slab foundation that are usually build right on the ground. However crawlspaces can create moisture which leads to mold issues because they are typically vented from the outside.
The Full Basement Foundation is the most expensive type, is the deepest of the three foundations and adds a whole floor to your house. Basements are generally at least six feet in height giving you extra living space. A full basement contains the same amount of floor space as the other levels and can be conditioned by HVAC ducts or unconditioned. The pros are the added space and the opportunity to finish the basement and use it for recreation or as a rental. However, many basements have flooding issues and if unfinished can be quite dark and dreary.
Regardless of the type of foundation you should insulate in order to conserve energy and do your part in helping the environment and living green. Insulating the foundation contributes to energy conservation for the entire home. Home foundations can be insulated from the outside or inside. There are also many other types of basement foundation repair that can be used to make your foundation more green such as building forms from plywood and aluminum and reusing forms if able. It is important to research all the conditions before deciding on a foundation if you are building. If you are buying it is important to understand the type of foundation and the materials used in the home you are purchasing and how you can make your home as green as possible.