Understanding the Basics- Home Foundations 101
The true strength and durability of a building restfully on its foundation. The main purpose of the foundation is to hold any building or structure that is above it and to keep that structure upright and stable. A strong foundation keeps everything balanced and supported whereas a poorly constructed foundation is actually dangerous and puts any occupants or people in the neighbouring area at risk! This is why a foundation is so important to any home or building and is also why it is important to understand the basics of foundation development and support.
Home Foundations 101
The very first part of any home that is designed and constructed, the foundation is the single most important piece of the puzzle and is the key to having a home that is durable and supportive. While it is not seen once the home is built, the foundation affects every aspect of home design, maintenance, support, durability, and safety. “Building a good foundation requires a lot more than digging a hole and pouring some concrete into forms. It must be tailored to its site like a custom suit, taking into account soil conditions, water tables, even the quality of the backfill. And as with a custom suit, every detail must be perfect: the base properly compacted, the formwork set up right, the concrete free of voids” (This Old House). Disregard just one of these key aspects of the foundation, and the best designed and prepared design for your home can fail. Investing the time and money and resources necessary to make a strong and durable foundation are well worth it both in the short-term and long-term views!
What is the Purpose of a Foundation?
A foundation has three key roles that it plays when it comes to the construction of buildings:
- The basic piece under the ground that is designed to support the structure above it and support the weight of the entire building.
- Well-built foundations are designed to absorb the abuse of Mother Nature and to stand strong during earthquakes, hurricanes, and other disasters.
- The foundation has to be designed and built in such a way that it keeps the ground moisture from seeping in and damaging structural components.
Weight Bearing Considerations for Home Foundations 101
The final thing to consider when looking at what role a foundation plays, it must be able to withstand what is known as dead load weight and live load weight. “The dead load is the weight or the load of the basic structure itself. This is called dead load as it remains constant. On the other hand, the live load is the weight of the people and other objects that they bring with them. The foundation must be firm and must be able to channel the weight of the entire building to the ground. If the building is being constructed on sloping regions or moist ground, the foundation has to be customized and durable” (SA Homes). It is easy to see how these two weight loads work- the building itself may weigh 20 tons but there could be an additional 2 tons coming in and out at any time. The foundation must be able to hold all of this weight safely day in and day out. A good foundation will deliver all the support and stability needed to keep the building and its occupants safe and stable!