Slabs, Basements, and Piers
Ok, we started this discussion on another thread and now I think a lot of interest is showing about house foundations.
So we'll put our comments here.
The link below leads to the previous thread, and the foundation comments started showing up toward the last half of the remarks.
I am making my remarks here, to sort of lead off.
I was just visiting in Iowa for one night. They were telling me that their basement in the old farmhouse has had water in it all spring and summer. Very sad. I am not familiar with basements/cellars/root cellars/storm cellars. Although when I was a kid, my aunt in the country had a sort of storm shelter which was halfway dug into the ground with heavy timbers supporting the mounded over earthen top--which had grass growing all over it. It was also the place they put the milk and such. We always watched out for snakes getting inside too.
In Louisiana, and along streams which frequently had water out of their banks, the houses were usually on piers. This let the water pass under the house and not ruin things. It was also a cooler house, with deep front porches, high ceilings, tall windows, protective shutters outside and windows which opened inside.
And I'm not sure about Levittown and the mass produced homes there built after WW2, but I think even up that far north, they were on slabs. Anyone know for sure? I remember my DH saying that his sister had a house on a slab in his little Massachusetts town. I'll have to ask him about the slab being affected by heaving. Putting hot water pipes within the slab could be one form of heat, but also would lead to corroded metal pipes because of the nature of concrete. That's why all the concrete bridge supports are deteriorating, water, concrete, and metal reinforcements don't make for a long term relationship.
The barns in colder climates have a deep foundation of stone sometimes 10 feet tall. That makes the barns in Minnesotta look a lot more massive than the barns in Alabama. I saw a horse barn the other day that was built on a concrete slab....but it was in Mississippi. They had floor drains in the center hallway, and I know they must have washed the whole barn down one way or another. It sure did not look like my grandpa's barn!
And I lived in one house in Mobile which had a basement. It was usually full of water, and it could not be used. It was an old old house that was probably single family when it was built, but by the time my parents moved in, it had four families renting. Anyway, basements in houses around here are the exception and not the rule.
Here is a link that might be useful: Frustrated w/ real estate agent.. WanttoRetire