Caribbean Home Foundations

Choosing The Right Type of Foundation For Your Caribbean Home

Caribbean Homes and foundations

The type of foundation used in your Caribbean home will require careful thought.
Photo Credit : Caribbean Land and Property

The increased risk of extreme weather is just one reason why a solid building foundation is becoming more important now than ever before.

A lot of thought must go into deciding what type of foundation will be best for your Caribbean home. Determining factors include available budget, personal needs, soil type and weather conditions. If you are building on a sloping lot in Dominica, you may, for instance, not be able to use a slab foundation while the high water table in certain parts of Barbados may ruin your plans of a basement foundation.

By having a closer look at the three most common forms of foundation you will be able to better ascertain which type will be best suited to your own personal needs.

Crawlspace foundations

Bequia Ocean View Villa

Bequia Ocean View Villa constructed on a well thought out, solid foundation
Photo Credit Caribbean Land and Property

Homes that boast a crawlspace foundation are generally elevated off the floor by approximately two feet. This type of foundation is prevalent in areas where the ground soil has a very high clay content and where water is likely to accumulate.

A Crawlspace foundation is generally built by laying a concrete footing and then using blocks to create the foundation to support the walls of the home.

Crawlspace foundations are generally a lot cheaper than a basement but not as cost-effective as concrete slabs. A crawlspace also makes access to your wiring, piping, and ductwork significantly easier, making future upgrades and repairs a lot simpler. Despite installing vapor barriers, crawlspaces remain prone to moisture and facilitate the growth of fungi, and mold that can spread to the rest of your house.

Exuma beachfront House

“As far as price is concerned, slab foundations are your cheapest options and also require the least amount of maintenance”.
Exuma beachfront House. Photo Credit Caribbean Land and Property

Slab foundations

Slab foundations are the most popular types of foundation, especially in warmer climates such as that found in the Caribbean. A slab foundation is basically a flat, sealed concrete pad that the house is then built on. No accessible space exists in this type of foundation, making it ideal in areas that have a relatively high water table.

Slab foundations are easier to install than other types of foundation and also require minimal prep before building can commence. As far as price is concerned, slab foundations are your cheapest options and also require the least amount of maintenance, adding to their value.

Unfortunately, slab foundations may result in potentially-expensive repairs as plumbing systems are usually buried underneath the slabs, necessitating the slabs to be broken in order to reach the faulty piping. Slab foundations also offer your home reduced protection from inclement weather including storms.

Basement foundations

Depending on where in the Caribbean you are building your home, you might not be able to have a basement due to a high water table. A home with a basement generally starts with a hole approximately 8 feet deep and ends with a concrete slab. Where cinder blocks were traditionally used for basement walls, they were prone to cause severe structural failure. Today, most basement walls are constructed from poured concrete which has eliminated most problems pertaining to moisture penetration and structural integrity. The biggest advantage of a basement foundation is undoubtedly the additional footage gained.

The type of foundation for your Caribbean home will be affected by many factors including finances, soil type/terrain and climatic conditions. Dominica Guest House. Photo Credit Caribbean Land and Property

The type of foundation for your Caribbean home will be affected by many factors including finances, soil type/terrain and climatic conditions.
Dominica Guest House. Photo Credit Caribbean Land and Property

A finished basement can also provide an energy-efficient living space that remains cool during summer and warm during winter. A basement foundation also makes routine maintenance and repair jobs substantially easier than it would have been if you only had a crawling space or had to dig into a slab. On the down-side, a basement foundation is generally the most-expensive foundation type, for obvious reasons. It is also recommended that you install a sump pump as flooding is a very definite possibility as far as basements are concerned.

If you have your heart set on building a house in the Caribbean it is pivotal to ensure that it is built on a strong and reliable foundation.

Without a good foundation, your house will not be as sturdy and safe as it should be, resulting in structural damage that can cause huge expenses and a drastic depreciation of your house’s value.

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