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Old 08-19-2008, 10:58 AM
179 posts, read 435,533 times
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I live in the upstate of south carolina as well and my 1st two houses were on slabs. I did not have any trouble with them. It would have been nice to run speaker wire below the house. I believe it is very common around here for them to be slabs. It is only been in the recent years that they have started build homes with basements so the only options were slabs or crawlspaces. I don't have a preference.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:00 AM
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
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wonderful! i'm glad you live in the upstate and have some real experience with slab foundations there. i think i'm starting to be sold!! haha

thanks everyone! i still need a horror story, but if one doesn't come, that's okay!!
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:14 AM
9,124 posts, read 31,360,543 times
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Originally Posted by fisher33 View Post
wonderful! i'm glad you live in the upstate and have some real experience with slab foundations there. i think i'm starting to be sold!! haha

thanks everyone! i still need a horror story, but if one doesn't come, that's okay!!
There's plenty of horror stories regarding slabs that were built on poor soils and settled, or about pipes that broke under the slab and had to be repaired, etc. However, for every slab horror story I can probably find you 2 or 3 horror stories regarding homes with basements or crawlspaces with mold issues, water seepage, bulging foundation walls, settlement cracks, etc. Regardless of the foundation type, it all comes down to proper construction techniques, which is something that no one can evaluate for you via the internet.

All of that being said, I wouldn't think twice about the house being built on a slab- just make sure you have a thorough home inspection by a competent inspector and you should be fine.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:20 AM
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
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Reputation: 406
Okay, all boils down to the inspection and making sure the foundation is right. That seems common sensical enough - I'm just so happy to hear all slab foundations aren't money pits or trouble waiting to happen! Quality is still quality w/ slab or basement or crawlspaces.

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate it. This has been great help!
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:33 AM
Location: Rural Central Texas
3,555 posts, read 8,696,865 times
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I have lived in Texas, North Carolina and Alabama...on homes with and without crawl spaces.

I prefer slabs to pier and beam foundations. There are tradeoffs to be sure. Pier and beam are shakier and the sounds of kids playing vibrate the whole house. Foot steps are louder and heaven forbid someone drop something heavy! The whole neighborhood comes running to see if you are okay. No problem with slabs for that issue. Run, jump, throw a tantrum...the rest of the house is still and quiet.

It is easier for small people to use the crawlspace to run wires, I prefer running wires in the attic though. The air circulation under the house tends to keep the floors cooler, nice in summer but hell in winter. Slabs are fairly constant temp year round. I have found that rodents tend to prefer crawlspaces to slabs however.

Depending on your builder, supply lines run in attics or slabs. I worked in the San Antonio area most of my construction career and nearly all supply lines ran in slabs in that area. A few small builders from out of state ran them in the attics, but had problems with them flooding the house during hard freezes while the houses were still vacant. Many house had to be gutted and rebuilt before they learned to keep heat on even when the home was still being built.

I am leery of attic water lines as a result of working on many of those homes that the attic supply lines had burst because I know that leaks occur even without a severe stressor such as a freeze. I would prefer a leak under my slab to one over my kitchen or bedroom.

In areas of high clay content in the soil foundations are preferred because it is slightly easier and much cheaper to relevel the house when the piers float. In areas of rock, such as northern San Antonio where the limestone ledges are mere inches below the topsoil, it is much cheaper to pour a slab than drill or dynamite 50-60 pier holes.

Slab cracks are not always a problem even when they occur. Manytimes these cracks are only superficial and are not all the way through the slab. Ugly, but still only cosmetic. It is a problem when the slab breaks all the way through. That can be a house killer, BUT....if you get an engineered slab it is insured against this defect and if such a thing happens you are covered for repairs by the engineering company's warranty on the slab and building as long as what you built conforms to what you told the engineering company you were going to build.

I know one case of a house that the owner changed his roof in mid construction and put on a tile roof instead of a composition shingle roof. The extra weight of the tile broke the ridge of the house and I am sure voided the warranty on the slab as well. That was a scary job, shoring up that ridge with steel plates to keep the roof up. The weight busted seals on 3 hydraulic jacks before we got the steel plate attached. We were so thankful the rest of the jacks held long enough for us to finish shooting the fasteners in place.

I built my house a few years ago on a clay soil area and I chose an engineered slab and higher density concrete than standard building codes required.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:36 AM
Location: Pawnee Nation
7,528 posts, read 14,164,344 times
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You have two different things. a foundation and a floor. The foundation is critical to any house, whether it is a slab floor or a crawlspace. A solid foundation will allow the house to last for hundreds of years. A slab floor, on the other hand is simply a floor.

If you have problems with moisture with a slab, you are going to have SERIOUS problems with a crawl space. If there is enough ground water to permeate the slab, then you are going to have standing water under the house that will develop mold and insect infestations.

If, on the other hand, your slab is put on a well designed (for the local soil and water conditions) foundation and footing, has well compacted fill, sleeved PEX water lines, and Schedule 40 PVC drains, there is about a $2.40 a sf savings in cost over the crawl space, and it is superior in a lot of ways to the crawl space (you never have to worry about freezing, PEX is invulnerable to just about anything but UV as is the PVC).
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:57 AM
Location: In a house
21,412 posts, read 20,156,050 times
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The only comparism I have between slab and non slab foundations and their quality is when we lived in CA. All the homes in our neighborhood were custom built homes. They were beautiful ranch style homes. When we had the big Northridge earthquake, which was only a few miles from where we lived, our house had severe damage and we had a crawl space no slab foundation. Our next door neighbor had a slab foundation and only one small vase broke in their home--infact they went back to bed as soon as the shaking stopped. So at least for earthquakes the slab foundation seemed to hold it's own! As far as mildew I would have thought with a crawl space there is a place for the water/moisture to collect under the house making it more susceptible to mildew but from reading here I guess not!
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:49 PM
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
1,294 posts, read 5,865,365 times
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Thank you all so much for your replies. I've printed out everything and written down a list from everything you've all said and will definitely ask an inspector all these questions. I also feel like asking if they water the foundation after the other poster on the board tonight...

Again, thank you all and I thought I'd post a photo of the outside of the house. Isn't it cute?! This picture really doesn't do it justice; it's much cuter in person.
Attached Thumbnails
Slab Foundation-house.jpg  
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:01 PM
Location: Southeast, where else?
3,877 posts, read 3,770,952 times
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Default Slabs

Originally Posted by fisher33 View Post
I've done some searching and saw a few threads on slab foundations. It seems as though the major concerns are hard to access pipes, cold floors, and mildew. Along with ants in some places.

My husband and I like a house that is on slab foundation. The house is about 15-20 years old, rock fireplace, great neighborhood, etc., etc.

My dad is adamant against slab, saying they're what cheaply built houses are built on (we live in upstate, SC) and it's not the way houses are built anymore. He said he wouldn't pay any amount for a slab house - well this frustrates me because he's stubborn and I like this house! I trust my dad and want to go w/ what he says but he is a little skewed sometimes (as we all are) in believing what we wants to believe (we're just alike).

So, I need to find out what the REAL story is behind slab/ crawl space foundations. Is it bad owning a slab foundation home? Horror stories? Benefits?

This house would more than likely be a starter home and we'd probably stay in it for 4-5 years, maybe longer. Would it sell b/c it's on slab or would we have a hard time getting rid of it - for that fact only (other factors not considered)?

Thank you all!
Slabs tend to be more suscptible to settling issues than basement foundations. Not to say they can't have trouble but, it's typically less of an issue.

You may/may not have an advantage if the house was built that long ago. The house probably has settled but, they weren't using fluorodane (spelling?) in the early/mid 90's so termites could be a problem. They can get though the tiniest of cracks and by the time you spot them (Walls, cabinets) too late.

The worst part of a slap is that if, god forbid, you ever have plumbing problems, ouch. The sewer and water lines are probably encased which means, you have to chip the floor up to replace. If the leak, they can line them and avoid the expense but, it's a risk.

Slabs are just one more way to provide a cheaper foundation. Upper SC (Greenville/Spartanburg?) has plenty of basement homes. Don't bother with sub-basements. Although they allow you access to utility pipes and wiring, they are very prone to termite activity. Termites are blind foragers and once initiated can do a great deal of damage in a relatively short period of time. They like wet/damp areas to thrive.

This roughly means you need to crawl under the house in a sub-basement 2X a year (ideal) make sure you don't see their tubes climbing up your walls.

I'm with your Father. The delta between slab and basement is not that much more and the resale is always better Slabs, like townhomes, don't typically appreciate much. One major foundation repair or utility repair can really set you back.

If you insist on this particular house, insist on a termite bond, and perhaps a foundation check. Even if you have to pay for both it's probably well worth it.

Keep looking. Best of luck.
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Old 08-19-2008, 09:09 PM
Location: Nothing could be finer... I'm in S. Carolina!!
1,294 posts, read 5,865,365 times
Reputation: 406
Thanks for your response. I was waiting on a response like this one! I was suprised everyone was agreeing that slabs are okay. So you think no to slabs because of the area and termites mainly? And b/c in the upstate, they tend to be seen in more cheaply built houses? I'm not insistant on this house, but I do really like it and it's a lot nicer than any of the other houses out there. It's on an acre, nice size, everything - except for the SLAB. is it a deal breaker in your opinion?
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