Whether you’re buying, building, or renovating a farmhouse, the first place to start is the foundation. If you’re rebuilding, you might get lucky and be able to keep the foundation that’s already in place. But if it’s sustained damage or you’re are starting from scratch, then you need to choose your foundation.
The foundation you get depends on what you need. When deciding what kind of foundation to choose for your farmhouse, you must factor in a number of things, including the weather, your needs, your family, and the topography of where you live. There are many options, so choose carefully.
This is your home, or it will be, so don’t make these crucial decisions on your own — consult with the contractor. They should be able to recommend the best options and let you choose from there. Here’s some info on five of your best options:
If you need extra storage or living space, a basement foundation might be the solution for you. If you do create a finished basement, then you’ll have effectively doubled your floor space. A basement foundation is also the deepest option for a foundation. If you live in the Midwest, especially in hurricane valley, you’ll want a safe, underground space.
Once you decide on a basement, you have further options. For example, you can have a regular basement, which is completely underground. This is an excellent option for anyone at risk of tornadoes or hurricanes.
In areas where high winds aren’t an issue, a daylight basement is a good option. It’s built into a slope, so part of the basement is below ground while the other part is above. You can put in doors and windows to the outside, which can help increase natural light and airflow.
Footing and Stem Wall
A footing and stem-wall foundation is similar in construction to a foundation with a basement. The difference is that it won’t exactly be an “open floor plan.” The footings are being buried deep into the ground like a basement, but their exact height and width will vary depending on the terrain. They’re built to the appropriate height to support the slab.
Once the footings are built, you can choose what kind of finishing you’d like. A slab is one option, which is a great, basic choice for anyone who wants ease and simplicity. The other option is to have a crawlspace. Crawlspaces are less expensive than a full basement, but they can lead to moisture problems. However, you can seal up the crawlspace and prevent this issue altogether.
For a simpler solution, precast concrete might do the trick. Typically, precast concrete is done for the walls of a full basement foundation. It has some pretty impressive benefits for the walls as well, especially when compared to traditional cinder blocks. For one thing, it’s a lot faster to install. Each wall section is manufactured offsite and has built-in concrete footing and concrete studs to make it load-bearing.
Precast concrete is typically a lot faster than other methods. The concrete that’s used tends to be a higher density than concrete poured on-site, which makes it stronger and more water tight. Because they are stronger, they tend to have low maintenance and life cycle costs, which is a further advantage. With less costs to shell out in the future, you’ll end up with a foundation that costs less in the long run.
A raised foundation isn’t necessary for every home, and it might be a bit strange to have one on a farmhouse, but it is an option. Raised foundations are usually what you see at the beach, where homes are raised off the ground to prevent damage from flooding. If you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes, then a raised foundation might be the best option.
On the flip side, this is not a good choice if you’re concerned about tornadoes. It makes your home less stable against such forces and with almost no added benefit. Foundations need to both support the home and protect against moisture, which can be a tricky combination that far off the ground.
This is a more technical option, so make sure you have a contractor who is familiar with them.
Permanent Wood Foundation
Wood foundations have been around for a long time. They were actually popular in the 1960s and are now being recommended again for crawlspaces and basements. They’re made from plywood and lumber that’s been treated with a preservative.
The wood is lightweight and waterproof, but they don’t tend to last as long as concrete foundations. But, if you plan to sell the farmhouse in the future, this could be a great idea.
No matter what you choose, there are plenty of options. You’ll have different ones no matter what you need or where you live, so it just comes down to what you envision for your farmhouse. What works best for your situation might be a basement or just simple, precast concrete.