Foundations

Do you know what the single most important part of a house is? Some might say the roof is the most important part as it seals the structure from rain water that can intrude into the supporting framework causing dry-rot. Others will point out the value of using copper water pipes instead of iron or plastic pipe which can rust or deteriorate in the sun. Some believe using better house wrap along with thicker insulation in the attic, under the floor and in the walls helps to keep the inside temperature steady. To many women the most important part of a house is found in the cosmetic appearance of cabinets, countertops and lighting. However, to the men and women who design and build houses the single most important element of a building is its foundation.

Any structural engineer or building designer will tell you that the integrity of a building rests solely on its foundation. The foundation is what the building is anchored and bolted to. Making the decision to build on the wrong foundation is a recipe for disaster. Every year we watch as heavy winds, rain and flood waters rip incorrectly attached houses off their foundations depositing the debris along the storm path.

Today engineers calculate and design the right foundation before building commences. During the first step contractors excavate trenches, install steel rebar and pour concrete into them. The concrete covers and encases the strong steel skeleton forming a solid footing that is keyed into the earth. If the wrong concrete or steel is used in the wrong proportions then when the storms come the building will not be able to withstand nature’s forces and disaster results.