Pier and beam Foundation Vs Slab Foundation Comparison

Pier and Beam Foundations

A pier foundation allows you to isolate the house off the ground. This means the house is technically decoupled from the ground as a whole.

Steel studs remove the possibility of wood rot and concrete creates roughly one kilogram of CO2 for every kilogram of concrete. This means pier and beam foundations are more environmentally friendly. You can put insulation up under the bottom of the house. If you have your walls and roof insulated, then your home sits in a nice insulation bag that keeps hot and cold air in respectively. It provides a nice dry enclosure that keeps the house away from the moist dirt and gravel below.

Related: Slab foundation vs Crawlspace vs Basement 

Slab Foundations

Slab foundations involve creating a slab of concrete that the house sits on. They are very commonly used but may be bad for areas with a high moisture content in the ground. Slab foundations are very quick to install when compared to other types of foundation and are relatively inexpensive options.

Related: Slab foundation – pros and cons

Slab foundations are good but it can be tricky to insulate a slab edge. The edge of the slab may be exposed to the sun which is not so bad during the colder months as heat rises. But it is not so good if it is being heated up by the sun in the summer months. It can make a house a lot warmer and increase air-conditioning costs. This is because a concrete slab has a lot of thermal mass that soaks up the energy of the sun that is then passed into the house.

Pier beam foundation vs Slab foundation

Here is a quick run-down of the elements involved when comparing pier and beam foundations with slab foundations.

Pier and beam foundations

Slab Foundations

They are often more difficult to install than slab foundations. Slab foundations are more common than pier and beam foundations, and are often easier to install.
Pier and beam foundations are more environmentally friendly than slab foundations. Slab foundations are not environmentally friendly.
Pier and beam foundations make a house easier to insulate. Insulating the edges of a slab foundation may be tricky.
Pier and beam foundations are not very expensive, but are more expensive than slab foundations. Slab foundations are quicker and easier to install.
It is easier to get to pipes with pier and beam foundations. It can be tricky to get to pipes to undertake repairs if a house has a slab foundation.
They are easier to adjust if extreme ground shifting occurs. They may be difficult to adjust if the ground shifts over a number of years.

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