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View Full Version : southerners...slab or crawl space?



fivehorses
Nov. 25, 2009, 06:45 PM
Ok ya'll. I want to know, what is preferable, pros and cons of building a house on a slab or a crawl space.

I am not interested in snakes or anything getting into my living area either.

What and why do you prefer one style over the other?

Building in SC.
thanks.

lesson junkie
Nov. 25, 2009, 06:46 PM
Full basement-where else will your DH put his stuff?

cloudyandcallie
Nov. 25, 2009, 06:56 PM
High ground or low ground?

We don't have many basements down here although Atlanta has them, and the old houses in downtown Savannah have them. Our house is plantation plain and is up on bricks so we can walk under it.

If you are in a low area, check when there is a lot of rain. I'd opt for the plantation plain look, up enough off of the ground so you and workmen don't have to crawl underneath.

Sakura
Nov. 25, 2009, 07:53 PM
Nothing less than this (http://www.e-architect.co.uk/chicago/jpgs/farnsworth_house_gmad06_6.jpg):D

loves me some Mies van der Rohe :yes:

fivehorses
Nov. 25, 2009, 09:09 PM
In AIken county. Told they don't do basements there.

Never mind dh, what about where I am going to store all my stuff!

Only choice is a slab or crawl space...soooo, what's your opinions?

JanM
Nov. 25, 2009, 09:47 PM
Depending on your lot sometimes they do very tall crawlspaces with a real door on the downhill side, it has a cement floor is usually used for storage as opposed to living space, and sometimes they are heated and cooled also (but usually are unheated/uncooled storage only). The problem with cement slabs is there are two kinds-the ones that crack and the ones that will crack someday. I prefer the raised crawl space for work access, but they aren't usually tall enough for easy access. I prefer the walking space underneath that has an unfinished ceiling for working on the mechanicals, and sometimes they do a dropped ceiling with drywall finished side walls.

The modern crawl space is very well closed in with regular access panels and ventilation panels that keep vermin of all kinds out, but you still have to worry about grading the surrounding soil and drainage or you could end up with water under the house.

Nipntuck
Nov. 25, 2009, 11:11 PM
Crawl space. Slabs seem colder to me and generally you can have some storage with a crawl space. I don't mind snakes and spiders and the such anyway. We named the spider that hangs out in the shower. :) We do draw the line at mice.

vineyridge
Nov. 26, 2009, 12:12 AM
I live in a house that was built around 1880. It is up on brick piers and has a crawl space that is a couple of feet high. Back in those days, people had to choose between being warm in the winter or cooler in the summer. Most southerners chose cool in the summer and our vernacular architecture was up. Houses that were properly built with hollow walls and attic vents would pump cool air from the crawl space as the hot attic air evacuated naturally. There was a continuous air flow around the living space. Nowadays, with Air Conditioning houses don't need that pumping action, so the walls are insulated to hold the AC air and also the heat in the winter. Both basements and slabs provide better warmth than crawl spaces, and probably hold cooled air better.

OTOH, it's a lot easier to repair things if they are in a crawl space. Fixing bad pipes can be horrible if they are over a slab and fixing the slab can be equally awful. It's relatively easy to jack up a house if it's on piers. Basements are probably the best choice, if you live somewhere where basements are possible.

vineyridge
Nov. 26, 2009, 12:35 AM
Nothing less than this (http://www.e-architect.co.uk/chicago/jpgs/farnsworth_house_gmad06_6.jpg):D

loves me some Mies van der Rohe :yes:

You mean that Philip Johnson (has he died yet?) STOLE the idea for his Glass House? I'm shocked! Truly Shocked. :)

Just checked. The Glass House came first by about ten years. :) It's on a slab. http://beautifulnetworks.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/philip_johnson_glass_house_new_canaan_connecticut. jpg

Sakura
Nov. 26, 2009, 10:13 AM
You mean that Philip Johnson (has he died yet?) STOLE the idea for his Glass House? I'm shocked! Truly Shocked. :)

Just checked. The Glass House came first by about ten years. :) It's on a slab. http://beautifulnetworks.files.wordpress.com/2008/02/philip_johnson_glass_house_new_canaan_connecticut. jpg

Supposedly van der Rohe and Johnson had a pretty big argument as to which would be the better design... considering where both houses were built I'd say they both make their point... The Farnsworth house was elevated due to its proximity to water, and the treat of flooding. This also allowed Mies to employ one of the five elements of Modern Architecture (as noted by the brilliant architect Le Corbusier)... one of which was to be elevated off the ground by pilotis.

Johnson's house was built on elevated ground thus he did not believe that that particular element of Modern Architecture had to be employed... not that it made his house any less an example of Modern Architecture... as Frank Lloyd Wright was also fond of concrete slab foundations, and he was considered perhaps the greatest architect of his time (of all time if you'd asked him ;) ).

I guess when you boil it all down it is a matter of school of thought... American vs. European... Sorry to hijack the thread :uhoh:.

But back to the OP... I'd vote for elevated... having lived in a house built on a slab... I can say it was a nightmare having all of the utilities running through the attic... doing repairs and installations in the attic on an August day was horrid, not to mention dangerous in the heat!

fivehorses
Nov. 27, 2009, 02:08 PM
thanks all. My property is flat, and although some people have walkout basements in AIken county, it is more common to have a crawl space or to build on a slab.
I love my basement, and it is so useful, but I was told no. Mostly due to the water table and the probability of a wet basement.

Jazzy Lady
Nov. 27, 2009, 02:37 PM
It really depends on how much floor space you're willing to give up to your mechanical room. With a crawl space, you get most of your mechanical and your hvac in the crawl space. Other than that, crawl spaces are bloody useless. I have one, a 4' crawl space and it's useless.

A slab is cold if it isn't insulated properly, but it is very easy to heat a slab. The bonus is that it keeps cooler in the summer time as well. If you aren't dealing with heavy frost issues and have a flat area, go with a slab on grade and if you are concerned about heating, heat the slab. You can heat carpet, engineered hardwood and tile, so it doesn't limit your flooring options at all.

Make sure you have enough storage room for stuff you store though. Maybe make a loft above a garage to store some stuff or a separate house. Because storage is a problem, although the only stuff we have in our crawl space is bins, and you have to roll around on a trolley to get to it, or crawl. Gross.