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Which foundation wall is better? Is it traditional cinder block walls or the poured concrete walls? Homeowners are partial towards one foundation type over the other. Yet, like everything else, each foundation type has its own set of pros and cons.
In this article, we will discuss the differences between foundations made with cinder blocks or poured concrete walls. We will cover their advantages and disadvantages. So, without any further delay, let’s begin!
Block Foundation Walls vs. Poured Concrete Walls
Block foundations are in the majority of homes built before the 1970s. You can say it was a prevalent foundation type. Cinder blocks are capable of high compression strength. This means this foundation style can take a large amount of weight on its top.
Cinder blocks are ready-made and available off the shelf from big box stores. The blocks are easy to store, and transport to a site. Poured concrete requires preparation before using, and concrete mixing trucks must travel a short distance to the construction site to keep costs down.
A drawback found in a cinder block wall foundation is, they are more likely to suffer issues like buckling and bowing. Buckling and bowing are a result of either poor construction or underground lateral water pressure. Thus, repairing them can be quite expensive, depending on the extent of the damage.
Here is another downside for block walls; they are more prone to water leaks because of the number of joints between each block. The cores inside the blocks can also fill with water, saturate the blocks, and create dampness inside basements.
Unfortunately, cinder blocks will also require skilled labor to lay each block down, adding to the building cost.
Remote locations, where travel is difficult, benefit the most from cinder block construction.
Poured Concrete Walls
Undoubtedly, poured concrete walls are a lot stronger than cinder block walls. They don’t have joints like the ones found between blocks. The only joint found in poured concrete basements is the cove joint. This is where the floor meets the wall, and the wall sits on top of the footing.
Poured concrete walls have excellent resistance to underground lateral pressure imposed by the soil and water. It is the reason why engineers and architects are turning towards them in increasing numbers.
A poured wall does not feature joints like in a cinder block wall, and it is less prone to leak years after construction. There will be resistance against premature leaking or cracks.
During the construction phase, poured walls can pour onto any foundation. If uncertainty abounds during construction, it is the preferred method for last-minute changes. Poured concrete walls are not restricted to the same limitations as cinder blocks. Concrete can pour into any shape and size.
On the downside, poured cement walls can be more expensive than block walls when cement prep and production are far from the site. It is something to consider when building a home from scratch. Otherwise, poured cement is perfect for every type of foundation.
When you build a new home, your main priority should be to create the strongest and safest foundation possible. Poured concrete walls have become the first choice of homeowners and builders. They are easy to construct and durable. They save you from issues like premature water leakage and frequent repairs.
Keep reading below to learn about some other advantages of poured concrete walls.
5 Reasons Why You Should Opt for Poured Concrete Foundation Walls
- They Offer High Strength
Poured concrete walls are hard to beat when it comes to their strength. They are super durable and offer a higher amount of flexural and compressive strength than block walls.
- They Are More Resistant to Lateral Water Pressure
It is imperative to construct a strong structure that offers as much water resistance as possible. No matter how bad the climate gets. Poured concrete walls are free from joints and are much denser than the cinder block foundation walls. They will not give in as quickly to buckling or bowing.
- They Are Fire Resistant
Poured concrete walls have the highest fire safety rating when compared to cinder blocks.
- They Offer Design Flexibility
Poured concrete walls offer more design flexibility for builders. They can opt for a change at the last moment regardless of the foundation type. Builders start with a liquid form, build a mold into any shape and design. This is hard to achieve with cinder block walls.
- They Are Low Maintenance
Poured concrete walls are lower maintenance. They have fewer joints, better at withstanding lateral pressure, and fire-resistant. It is possible to have no signs of cracks or water leaks in the first 5 to 10 years with exterior waterproofing.
Waterproofing a Foundation: Existing Homes & New Construction
In new construction, waterproofing the exterior foundation walls consist of a primer, membrane, and sealant. Drainage channels are sometimes stretched out along the footer to a dry well. Backfill dirt is bulldozed into the space between the foundation walls and the ground. The soil fills the area surrounding the house and covers all the waterproofing.
Both poured and block walls get the same treatment. Unfortunately, the exterior waterproofing doesn’t last long against the powers of nature. The average lifespan of new home waterproofing is 3 to 5 years. If they did a great job, it might last ten years.
Exterior waterproofing does not last long. It is the reason why there are so many dedicated basement waterproofing companies available. It is not a permanent solution.
Existing homes can install an interior waterproofing system to manage their water problem. Interior waterproofing consist of subsurface drain tile (pipes) pitched along with the depth of the footing.
The drain tile is packed in stone, the cove joint covered with drainboard and vapor barrier. The drain tile is pitched to a sump basket with a sump pump to discharge water away from the house. The floor is finally replaced with 3.5 inches of a code-compliant concrete floor.
Many companies will offer exterior waterproofing on existing homes. It’s not only intrusive, but it’s also expensive and will not last long. If exterior waterproofing is so excellent, why do homeowners have basement water leaks?
Poured Concrete and Block Wall Foundation Costs
Is a poured concrete foundation cheaper than a block wall foundation?
Usually, the cost of construction varies from place to place. But as a matter of fact, poured walls cost about 20% less than the block foundation walls.
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