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The Foundation is Everything

You have probably heard people say that the foundation of a house is more important than the house itself. You also might have heard of cases where the foundation cost more to set up than the entire house in terms of money. All of these are true and are not exaggerated. The foundation of a house is everything and more because it goes a long way in determining if the house will remain standing for a long time or if it will sink.

According to The Constructor, the foundation is the lowest part of the building that is in direct contact with the soil, transferring loads from the structure to the soil safely. The foundation is divided into two generally:

The Shallow Foundation

Also known as spread footing in the construction industry, the shallow foundation is the type of foundation created with depth as little as 3 feet into the soil and is mostly used for light buildings such as kiosks and beach sheds. Because it is not deeply rooted in the soil, the shallow foundation usually does not consume a lot of resources in terms of building materials and money. There are three types of shallow foundations as well called individual footings, strip footings, and raft foundation.

Image of a shallow foundation

Whenever the weather is cold, it is important that extra attention is paid to shallow foundations in order to avoid freezing. A proactive measure that construction engineers often take is building the foundation above what is called the Frost Line.

The Frost Line is a level in the ground that is above where freezing begins. In cases where the foundation cannot be built above the Frost Line, insulation is always put in place in order to ensure that some level of heat passes from the building, into the foundation and the soil in order to prevent freezing.

The Deep Foundation

Also called pile foundation, a deep foundation is the type of foundation created with depth as deep as 60 feet to 250 feet into the soil and is mostly used for high rise buildings such as towers and duplexes, in order to ensure that these sort of buildings do not collapse suddenly at a later date. It involves the use of a lot more cement and irons. Therefore, it is considered to be significantly more expensive than the shallow foundation. The deep foundation also has two types which are the end bearing pile and friction pole.

Image of a deep foundation

In Nigeria, Lagos to be specific, a lot of people believe that the type of foundation put underneath a building is only dependent on the type of soil the land being built upon has. Clients often go back and forth with construction engineers because, despite professional counsel, they want to go ahead and build a duplex on a shallow foundation because the land is located on the mainland, which is considered to be strictly dry land.

There is a common misconception that deep foundations and german floors are strictly for properties on the island because that area is considered to be mostly swampy and sand-filled. This is not totally true because the design of the house to be built is considered alongside the nature of the land it’s going to be built upon when determining the type of foundation to be built.

It is very important to note that a foundation can be perfectly built using concrete, steel, stones, bricks, and others. The type of building materials used in constructing a foundation and the building as a whole also depends on the design of the building as well as the nature of the soil of the land it’s been built upon.

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