Foundation Types Found In Charleston SC Houses
Home inspections are an important part of the process when closing on Charleston SC houses. The low country atmosphere is very desirable (though some would disagree with that in mid July) but the elements here can also have an effect on houses in the area.
There are many types of Charleston SC houses to choose from and the foundation is always a good way to categorize them. The flood zones along the coast have an effect on how they are constructed, as a home’s flood zone determines the height at which a home’s ground floor can be above seal level.
Most of the lower priced houses in the new construction market are built on a slab foundation. They are less expensive to build and are easier to inspect. While the perception that slab homes are inferior to other types of foundations, many architects feel that a slab foundation is a better building type due to efficiency. Many on slabs have lower power bills because of the constant ground temperature and the lack of warm and cool air flowing underneath.
Inspecting homes on a slab foundation is easier on inspectors because they do not need to suit up and crawl underneath. Inspectors look for specific things with Charleston SC houses built on a slab foundation, such as the ability for a homeowner to walk around and easily see the slab. The ability to look for termite tubes is important. Clearing the landscaping back to expose an inch or two of the homes slab foundation around the perimeter is important.
Many of the older Charleston SC houses are built on a crawlspace. The ranches that were built in the 1960’s were not affected by flood zone determinations and it was simply a preferred building style of the time. Crawlspace homes are raised between 1.5 to 4’ off of the ground and most of the problems found in these homes come from a lack of airflow below. High moisture levels also occur when a home has it’s HVAC ductwork in the crawlspace.
Raised per foundation homes are also frequently found in the area because they need to be raised above the flood plain. The bottom floor must be 12’ above sea level. Raised pier houses are many times preferred because of the additional storage space achieved as basements are not commonly found in the Charleston SC area.