Concrete House Foundation: Everything You Need to Know Before Building

You’re a do-it-yourself homebuilder? A contractor is building it, but you are choosing the materials? If you’re in this a situation, you absolutely need to know the ABCs of concrete flooring!

As a matter of fact, the foundation is the first step of any new construction (right after the plans, of course!) The word says it all: the foundation is what the entire structure sits on. In the following article, you will find answers to all your questions about concrete formwork: such as choice of concrete, selection of a contractor, related costs, best time of year to do the work, and more.

Why is the house foundation step so important?

The choice of a contractor and materials for the construction of your home’s foundation must be thoroughly informed and reasoned; it is an important investment!

Besides, this step must be done perfectly right the first time. If problems occur in the foundation a few years after construction, the repair costs will be extremely high (among other things, costs associated with raising the house). In short, you must make an informed choice to ensure that your house is built on a solid and durable foundation!

What is a precast concrete foundation?

This is the most popular type of foundation today. There are hardly any concrete block foundations left. This is due to its watertightness, durability (freeze-thaw resistance) and long service life. This technique is also the best for integrating a livable basement. We are talking about an easy-to-perform technique that greatly minimizes the risk of errors while offering major benefits.

During construction, the concrete is poured into the formwork which acts as a mould and forms the base of the house.

How long does a concrete foundation last?

If the contractor does the job right, a concrete foundation should have a life expectancy of more than 150 years. Naturally, homes built with quality materials and a good finish will last longer than those that are poorly constructed to begin with.

Obviously, cracks occur for a variety of reasons over time, for reasons beyond our control. When conditions are very dry, the soil shrinks as the water evaporates, which can cause the foundation to slightly move. When conditions are wet, the soil will exert more pressure on the foundation walls.

How to choose the right contractor?

The most important step is undoubtedly the choice of the contractor. Not sure what criteria would help you take the best decision? Here are the key points you need to consider.

Quality of the Concrete and Its Conservation

The concrete that (mixture of aggregate, cement and water) commonly used for foundations is  conventional concrete. Do your own background check on the concrete quality of contractors you are interested in. Make sure your contractor offers the best techniques to extend the life of your concrete foundation: drainage, waterproofing and insulation. These techniques keep out the natural elements that wear concrete over time.

Contractor’s Site Vicinity

Since project costs are always the primary challenges, any means to save money are good. Make a list of contractors who operate and source near you. The shorter the distance for hauling materials, the lower the total bill!

Time of the Year

Are you anxious to get your house built and want to book the contractor as early as possible in the spring? Think again! It is certainly possible, but recommended to wait a few weeks (or months) after snowmelt for optimal results. As a matter of fact, melting snow swells the water table (natural water well) and this can complicate the work in different ways. For example, you may not be able to get a foundation as deep as you would like for your basement if water has not yet gone down.

Possibility of Adding a Finish

Depending on your ambitions (and budget), you may want to have curb chains, a driveway or any other additional finishes. If so, make sure your contractor offers these services and schedule them as early in the project as possible!

Contractor’s Reputation

This is the most important point. Since your house foundation needs to be done right the first time and be in good shape for many years to come, it doesn’t hurt to do some research on the company you want to hire.

Find out about the contractor’s history. Has his name ever been published in the press for the wrong reasons? Has he ever been acclaimed by the public? Whether positive or negative, a quick press review will tell you a lot about the specialist you are considering.

Nowadays, the easiest way to quickly look up customer testimonials is on the web (directly on Google, in most cases). Take a few minutes to read comments; you will learn a lot. Does the company meet its deadlines? Are good quality materials being used? Is the customer service courteous? You will find many more answers to your questions!

Prices

Once your list of trusted contractors is well established, ask about prices. This is obviously an issue, as we are talking about an important investment for the future. Compare quotes for similar jobs and take the time to make a choice that fits your budget.

Building for the Future

As mentioned earlier, the concrete foundation of your home is the foundation of your great future project. That’s why you need to trust the experts in the field! Whatever the size of your project, our ACI-certified engineers and technicians will provide the technical support you need. Our concrete experts can adapt the composition of concrete mixes to your particular needs. With over 60 years of experience in the field and equipment that has proven itself time and time again, we know our concrete!

Would you like to speak to a Groupe Bellemare expert about your house foundation, concrete in general or any other residential construction issue? Contact us!

Back to blog