Basement/Slab question.

IowaHawksJuly 15, 2014

Long time reader and first time poster here. My husband and I are in the dream stage/early stages of building our home and had a question for the wonderful folks of garden web. We own 2 acres of land in the state of Iowa and the land couldnt be any more flat, so a walkout basement is out of question. So because of this we have no desire in having a dark basement under the whole house it would just be wasted money for us, but on the contrary I want our family to be safe in the event of a tornado. So what I guess I'm getting at is it possible to have just part of the house be a basement and the rest a slab? Thanks so much for those that help me out!

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Brian_Knight

Yes but its likely to greatly complicate the foundation construction. Have you considered building an above grade safe room instead?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:30PM
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IowaHawks

Yes we figured it would complicate the foundation quite a bit and I'm sure the costs would follow suite. Would you care to share how above grade saferooms are built?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:39PM
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worthy

the land couldn't be any more flat, so a walkout basement is out of question

No, it's simply a matter of grading. And with that amount of land to work with, you could likely accomplish it with very little in the way of retaining walls.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:41PM
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debrak2008

We will always have a basement or a high crawl space because it gives you easy access to utilities. Those on slabs have difficulty remodeling or repairing water pipes, etc. Plus basements are cheap storage instead of adding extra SF to the living area.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:45PM
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Brian_Knight

Very true. Might be many many loads of fill in but I think it would make for a better abode. A few short but well placed walls could add a lot.

Saferooms arent really my thing but I know the sky is the limit. Steel, concrete, composite, my guess is that wood is among the most cost-effective. This link seems popular for good reason..

Here is a link that might be useful: Fema Safe Rooms

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:51PM
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Brian_Knight

Uh oh.. Are we going there Deb?

This post was edited by Brian_Knight on Tue, Jul 15, 14 at 17:56

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 5:53PM
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IowaHawks

Has anyone received any recent quotes on basements/slabs/crawl spaces they'd be willing to share?

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 6:54PM
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robin0919

That vary s wayyyyy to much on location.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 7:38PM
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debrak2008

I don't get it. Where are we going???

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 7:17AM
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Brian_Knight

Out to dinner and see a movie! No I meant the age-old discussion/debate of slab/basement vs crawlspace. I actually like going there as long as there, isnt a vented crawlspace east of the Mississippi river. And Iam only going there because it seems to be in the OPs considerations.

Since you mentioned it though, I dont think future remodeling is a compelling enough reason to avoid slabs. To me, there are too many downsides of vented crawlspaces to consider them for most projects. There is some recent discussion on the linked thread and at the risk of derailing this one, I think future building codes will make vented crawlspaces illegal and that slabs are better than crawlspaces for securing safe rooms to a proper foundation.

Here is a link that might be useful: GW thread: Slab or Crawlspace?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 10:35AM
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IowaHawks

I definitely agree that a slab will be better suited for an above grade safe room. Also we are thinking we'll be able to save big bucks from not having to have joists span across a crawl space. So many decisions.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 11:27AM
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IowaHawks

I definitely agree that a slab will be better suited for an above grade safe room. Also we are thinking we'll be able to save big bucks from not having to have joists span across a crawl space. So many decisions.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 12:26PM
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nycefarm_gw

We have a 3' elevated crawl space with a slab, also called a rat barrier. No basement as we are on a high water table. There is no moisture, plenty of access to the mechanicals, wiring & plumbing.
Just saying there are other choices...

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 2:36PM
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debrak2008

Thanks for explaining. All I can say is we have a combo of basement and crawlspace and DH is very happy for that because of the easy access to plumbing, electrical, etc.

It is also a very regional thing.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2014 at 6:20PM
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