Monolithic Slab Foundation

When you need an economical, fast answer for the foundations of your development, monolithic slab foundations could be a great solution. Quick to lay and offering a high degree of durability, a monolithic slab is suitable for a range of applications. A traditional foundation that’s widely used here in Arizona, a monolithic slab ensures your building rests on a firm foundation.

What is a Monolithic Slab Foundation?

This is a type of concrete foundation that’s poured as one continuous structure. It’s contoured so that it’s thicker around the perimeter edges, protruding downwards to provide footings on which to mount the load-bearing walls. The footings can be strengthened with steel rods. Typically, the footing parts of the slab are around 12 inches deep, whilst the slab which forms the floor of the building is around six inches thick. To reduce the risk of cracking, a wire mesh is sunk into the concrete, helping to even out any stresses and create a uniform, even surface. In contrast, a stem wall foundation, which is another popular type of foundation, is constructed in two parts – the T-shaped footings are sunk, and stem wall slabs are placed on top of the footings. Once the walls are up, a concrete floor is poured over tightly packed gravel or a similar sub-strait.

What are the Advantages of a Monolithic Slab Foundation?

Low Labor Cost

One of the major benefits of opting for a single concrete slab as your foundation is that the process is far less labor-intensive than installing a stem wall foundation or some other type of foundation option. In most cases, a monolithic slab foundation is the cheapest option out there if you also want durability and longevity.

Fast Installation Process

A monolithic slab foundation is poured in one go (a single pour). This means it’s much faster to complete than a foundation where the footings are laid first, with the concrete slab floor poured at a later date.

For projects where speed and value for money are priorities (which applies to the majority of development projects), a monolithic slab foundation is the most cost-effective option.

No Crawl Space

When a monolithic foundation is employed, no crawl space is created. Although there are some disbenefits to this, there are also several advantages – crawl spaces can be a haven for unwanted wildlife, especially snakes and rodents.

Crawl spaces also reduce the energy efficiency of a property, potentially increasing your HVAC bills. In addition, there’s a risk that a crawl space may become damp, eventually compromising the structural integrity of your property.

Are There any Properties That Aren’t Suitable for a Monolithic Slab Foundation?

Properties Where Frost is an Issue

Where the ground tends to freeze during the cooler months, it’s more common for T-shaped footings to be installed that protrude below the frost line (the depth to which the ground freezes in winter). These deeper footings help retain the integrity of the structure, even when changing temperatures (and hence the freeze/thaw action of water acting on property materials) is having an effect.

A monolithic slab isn’t usually the best option in a climate where frost tends to be long-lasting and penetrate deeply. That said, Arizona rarely has frost. If frost does occur, it tends to be short-lived and confined to the upper inch or two of soil (at its worst). As a result, there isn’t a need for concrete slab foundations or some other type of foundation that’s highly resistant to severe weather.
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Properties on Uneven Surfaces

Monolithic foundations work best when the ground beneath them is level and tightly packed. This isn’t unique to this type of foundation. Any foundation where concrete is poured into position works better when the ground is level and stable. If you have a site that can’t be leveled prior to the foundations being laid, we can work with you to devise a suitable solution.

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Properties Where Earthquakes are Likely

If you are building on an area of tectonic instability, it’s usually better to use a form of foundation that incorporates a crawl space. Crawl spaces provide additional flexibility that lessens the destructive effect of an earthquake. 

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A monolithic slab foundation could be the perfect choice for your next home improvement project. Contact the team at JM Concrete Pros for further details.

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