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Old 03-01-2009, 05:16 AM
 
Location: New Jersey
844 posts, read 2,676,754 times
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Since the south has more bugs, brown recluse spiders, etc, wouldn't a slab be preferable over a crawlspace? On the other hand, a crack in a slab will povide a perfect highway for the bad guys, and damage may not be seen until it is significant.

I have a crawl space now in NJ, with a concrete floor, and have found it great when I want to modify plumbing, wiring, etc. Also easy to inspect for termites. However, I would think down south, it would provide a perfect gathering ground for the bad guys.

Last time we were in the New Bern area looking at homes, there seemed to be a good mix of homes built on slab and crawl space, so not sure what the trend is, or what is best in that locale?

Thanks again,.....marc
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:56 AM
 
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I've been asking the same thing, and I have heard arguments both ways. Obviously the people who build and sell slab homes will tell you it is a better option.

A contractor buddy of mine said I should beware of tract developments with slab homes. He told me that slab homes have the potential to be better than crawl spaces (in what way I don't know), but that the too many of the slab homes are constructed in a sloppy fashion. I don't know though, hopefully someone will come along with a better answer.
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Old 03-01-2009, 11:08 AM
 
Location: Southeastern Cumberland County
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Our house is on a slab....makes any changes to heat, water, electrical a BIG pain in the you-know-what! We've had some trouble with our heat pump and then you have to go in the attic and crawl around for that---but there's not alot of room up there and it's a very tight fit.

With a slab house, the air vents have to be in the ceiling--fine in the summer, because cold air falls...but hot air rises, so guess where all the heat stays? Makes it cold in the winter!
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:05 PM
 
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A slab house is OK if your builder does it right.
Either way hire someone to watch the entire building process no matter which way you decide so you know you are getting the new house you pay for.
Also heat pumps blowing hot air through the vents in the ceiling do not keep it nice and toasty warm like up north with floor vents.
Also if you have any drain problems or water supply problems...well they all are under the slab and come up through it.
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:56 PM
LLN
 
Location: Upstairs closet
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I have seen both. Surprised to see as many slabs as I have in Eastern NC. Slab or crawl space would not be in my top 5 or 6 or probably top 10 items to determine if I would buy a home.

There are a lot of homes with crawl spaces and so far we are holding out against the spiders, snakes, snells and puppy dog tales. Critters should not be an issue.

lln
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Old 03-02-2009, 07:31 AM
 
Location: Asheville
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Dear Marc,
If your goal is to avoid spiders, and you think slab will help you, it won't. I lived in a relatively new slab house, and a recluse found its way onto my kitchen wall, and this was in the middle of this state outside a large city. The best way to keep down insect population is prevention, and that's to hire someone to come around regularly to spray the outside perimeter of your home. But in general you get used to the "wildlife" in Southern climes, altho I'm not sure I could take it if I moved to Florida and found a gator snuggled up in the bushes by the patio.
GG
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:50 AM
 
Location: Newport, NC
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Do they ever build homes with full basements in NC? In PA full basements are the rule rather than the exception, and in searching NC homes I was surprised that full basements seemed rare.
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Old 03-02-2009, 04:50 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rtom45 View Post
Do they ever build homes with full basements in NC? In PA full basements are the rule rather than the exception, and in searching NC homes I was surprised that full basements seemed rare.
PA and coastal NC are worlds apart geographically, yes? How high is your area above sea level? Even parts of PA get flooded, No? That is why we have chosen to build above ground, and place space above garages, called Bonus rooms, rather than invite dampness, etc, below ground.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Valley of the Sun
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This thread has been a great read. It certainly reveals how many different impressions home owners have regarding slabs and crawlspaces. Previous poster made the point of geographic worlds apart between PA and NC, so true. The reason for so many basements up north compared to the south is the frostline. Your foundation has to come below the frostline which varies roughly to your latitude. In NY code may require a depth of four feet in NC it may be eighteen inches(pls don't cite these numbers as code). If you have to go four feet in NY or PA you may as well go another four feet and treat yourself to a basement for a little more than you had to spend anyway. In Coastal NC the water table tends to be low and do you really want to build over a pool where you hoped a bsmt would go

Regarding crawlspaces the building science community has rewritten the rules on them. Conditioned or closed are the way to go and if you do your research you'll find it to be so logical you'll be scratching your head as to why its been done the way it has been for so long. Please look at the info offered gratis on buildingscience.com or here's a NC company that is utilized by entities all over the nation, Advanced Energy located in the RTP in Raleigh. Short ex. of conditioned crawl...six ml poly vapor barrier on ground extending up wall of crawl, walls of crawl are insulated with rigid foam over poly, the space is sealed, no vents to outside. In effect the crawlspace is to viewed as a minibasement. Yes it gets a little more specific but you get the idea.

Another quick aside to anyone building new. Please consider radiant floor heating, more efficient, more healthy, and most of all more comfortable. It goes into a slab (a wet system) or below deck or a component of the deck in a crawlspace (dry).
Hope I haven't been too long winded but it's not an easy topic to cover in just a few words.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:51 AM
 
Location: Asheville
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Paulie, wait a minute, if I'm not mistaken crawl spaces have to have those little rectangular ventilation things in them. But you CAN put a screen over them. A few years ago we had our home inspected, and some of the vents were blocked to our crawl space, and he said to unblock them. Perhaps code varies from county to county, state to state. I ain't no expert. But I just wanted to point out that I think a crawl space has to be ventilated. GG
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