Which is a better (and/or more preferred) option in cary -- slab foundation or crawl space?

Asked by NoName, 27519 Sun Jun 12, 2011

In the cary/morrisville/raleigh area is a slab foundation better or crawl space better?

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Sharon Lewis’ answer
Sharon Lewis, Agent, Garner, NC
Thu Jul 7, 2011
After reading all these answers, I asked a friend who is a home inspector, hands down, crawl space was the response. Reason being, you can access everything underneath easily and as said before, if something goes wrong with the slab.....you have to pull out the jackhammer, plus its easier on your body to walk on something with 'give'
0 votes
Susan Crawfo…, Agent, Hillsborough, NC
Sun Jun 12, 2011
I too believe that it must be a personal preference after doing diligent research. I have lived in both and I won't ever choose a slab foundation again. I have had issues with cracked slabs (I live in a 4 yr old townhome that I purchased new, and my slab cracked in multiple places. It took ripping up all flooring on my first floor to repair, we walked on concrete floors for almost two weeks while the builder tried to figure out best course of solution, and it was a nightmare!) Do all slabs crack? Don't know. I know my experience personally. I also have several clients who bought slabs that regret it for some of the very same reasons as listed here. Best answer is to really REALLY study it before you make a decision. Sometimes price is the issue...if you can't afford to build on a crawl space and your only other choice is to rent, then I would take my chances with the slab. Even owning something that COULD potentially cause problems later is better than paying someone else's mortgage while you have no benefits of home ownership.

Good luck to you!

All the best,
Susan Crawford, ABR, Broker, e-PRO
Triangle Home Crew Realty, LLC
1 vote
Bill Eckler, Agent, Venice, FL
Sun Jun 12, 2011
There are advantages and disadvaitages of each, however, an insulated crawl space with legitimate space to move around in, will allow freedom and ability to make repairs and access plumbing, heating, and electrical for repairs as well as be able to be more creative for your future home needs. A crawl space will also allow for a warmer floor during cold weather.

1 vote
Linda Cromar…, Agent, Athens, GA
Sun Jul 3, 2011
I wouldn't weigh in on this because you have many good answers, but after graduating from UNC and teaching here for many years, I relocated to the DC area and lived in several homes. If a house did not have a basement, it invariably had a crawl space foundation. In a basement the utilites enter the home through the basement...not through the concrete floor. Pillars allow for remedies if the soil "shifts"...a problem when clay expands and contracts. (I am not a structural engineer and this language is only my way of describing).

On the downside crawl spaces can have problems with excess moisture.

Slabs make homes more affordable.
0 votes
, ,
Sun Jun 12, 2011
I don't think either is bad and should not be a major factor in the decision. You should, however be a little more diligent in radon measurement with slab construction. Cracks in the concrete can allow radon gas, (an odorless colorless gas that is the second leading cause of lung cancer), to be trapped in your living space. WIth a crawl space, radon has a chance to get aired out but you should at least have an initial radon measurement prior to purchasing any home. if you want to learn more about indoor air quality, please visit my website, EcoBroker section.
0 votes
Vivian Olkin, Agent, Carrboro, NC
Sun Jun 12, 2011
The only thing I'd like to add to some of the excellent answers below is that my contractor Always prefers crawl spaces. Over time, most houses need repairs, upgrades or additions. Slab is very difficult to work with because of needing to drill or jack hammer the space. Higher end homes generally have crawl spaces. You'll see a lot of developments of less expensive houses, all with slab. Are you buying a house that is already built or are you building?
Web Reference:  http://CrazyVivHomes.com
0 votes
Tom Menges, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Sun Jun 12, 2011
I have a strong personal preference for a crawl space or a full basement (which you probably won't find) over a slab. As mentioned by other responders, a crawlspace gives you relatively easy access to the plumbing, hvac and electrical elements under the home. Should something go wrong with those systems requiring replacement in a slab home, your options are to live with it or plan to jackhammer away some of the slab--not a happy set of choices. Termites add another dimension to the question. On a slab you can look for termite evidence yourself fairly easily (providing you remember), but will have to act quickly if you see issues because the termites don't have very far to travel from the ground into the framing of your home. You are a whole lot less likely to routinely go into your crawl space to look for termite evidence, but if there is something going on, you have more time before they get to the wood in your home. What I hated in my last home, which was on slab, is how quickly my legs got tired from standing on a surface that was dead and unforgiving. Growing up, my family had a small hotel where we occasionally had conventions of dancers. The dancers always commented on how much they loved our place because they could dance all day without ever feeling tired (the dance floor was on a basement) compared to other places which had convention centers build on slab. I never understood what they were referring to until I owned a house on slab and had tired legs.
0 votes
Rex Osborne, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Sun Jun 12, 2011
There are two types of slab. Elevated and Slab on Grade. If you compare Elevated Slab with Crawlspace, there are some distinctions. Crawlspace is gentler on the feet as you walk around the inside of your home. The floor has a gentle "give" to it. A crawl space is much more common in my market and could be considered more appealing to the market place. Most likely because it is required when topography is rolling or less than flat. Most local contractors use this type of construction. The crawlspace gives easy access to electrical wiring and plumbing. The Elevated Slab give a nice exterior appearance from the outside, and eliminates the "crawlspace" which can collect, mold, moisture and creatures which will go un-named! Some of the plumbing and electrical wiring is in the poured concrete and can be difficult and messy to get to in case of a leak or issue. The Slab on Grade would be the least desirable, in my opinion due to the fact that it can easily allow moisture to enter the home from the outside, if not properly graded. The only benefit you would have with slab would be if you need to be able to enter without any steps into your home (eg. wheelchair or electric vehicle).
0 votes
Michael Colv…, Agent,
Sun Jun 12, 2011
Being from the D.C. area where homes are typically basement or slab, I agree with all the answers, depends on the terrain and area. I have found that more expensive homes typically are crawl, I prefer crawl just because of access to things, it is really buyer preference.
0 votes
Linda S. Cef…, Agent, Franklin, WI
Sun Jun 12, 2011
I've lived in both and I prefer the crawl space even though I do live in a flood plain. JoAnn is correct when she says to do research. Talk to some people who have either. My guess is you are going to get equal pros and cons. I think Bill's answer is right on the money! Learned from experience.
Web Reference:  http://www.lindacefalu.com
0 votes
JoAnn Thaxton…, Agent, Port Royal, SC
Sun Jun 12, 2011
A native of NC I can tell you this would depend on preference. They both have advantages and disadvantages. Slab houses are my preference most because I have 3 children and when they decide to break the rules and take a run through the houseI don't hear their feet. Crawlspaces do require more mantenance. NC's water table is much higher than the rest of the country so typically that means more moisture in the soil. This moisture seeps up through the ground and into the crawlspace. With proper ventilation and ordinary care/maintenance chances are you shouldn't have moisture problems unless you are in a flood zone or low lying area that is prone to flash flooding. Your agent should be able to tell you if your home is located in these areas. I would recommend doing some research online to help you decide which would be a better fit for you and your family. I hope I helped! GOOD LUCK!
JoAnn Thaxton,REALTOR
Remax by the Water
0 votes
Stanton Homes, , Raleigh, NC
Sun Jun 12, 2011
In the Triangle area, more slab foundations are found in entry level production-built homes and more crawl spaces are found in more premium, custom, or upper end homes. The type of foundation can be determined by the site conditions - a sloped lot is more likely to require a crawlspace foundation, and sloped lots are very common in this area.
Web Reference:  http://www.StantonHomes.com
0 votes
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