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 slab or post & pier
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hilosue
Newbie

6 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2006 :  22:50:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Will be building in fernacres in a year or so and we are wondering the merits of both types of foundation. We have termites, moisture, etc to consider. Any ideas on which is best?

jm minica
Da Kine

USA
251 Posts

Posted - 02/04/2006 :  23:26:40  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you check the "foundations and floors" thread, there is alot of info from different folks there about this subject. There are pros and cons to any of the numerous ways you can do the foundation and floor system of a house. The first thing I always ask is "what's the budget?", because that will determine how many options you have. Once you've established your options, you can compare that to what you would prefer to do, and try to find a match.
If you would like more specific info on all the different foundation/floor system options, you can email me and I can go into more detail. Also, this forum is full of people with alot of experience in this area, so I'm sure your going to get alot of useful info around here.
Aloha,
Mark


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Hotzcatz
Punatic

USA
1727 Posts

Posted - 02/15/2006 :  19:36:27  Show Profile  Visit Hotzcatz's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Aloha Hilo Sue,

Slab floors are pretty hard on the feet! But they are also much easier to install tile on.

Building on a slab is probably easier since you have a big flat area to build your walls on. However, once you've built the floor on a post and pier construction, you also have the large flat area to frame the walls on.

You have to have a flat area to put the concrete slab on, where as if you have "interesting" topography, post and pier may be a much better option.

Personally, I prefer post and pier since the floor is kinder to your feet, you can rearrange the plumbing and electric under the house easier and you have under house storage.

But it is your house, do it how YOU prefer!

A hui hou,
Cathy
Hawaii Drafting Service
hotzcatz@yahoo.com

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leilaniguy
Kamaaina

USA
761 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  15:24:42  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here's another consideration about location regarding slab vs post/pier; I'm in the middle of the rift. Last year in May, after a small 'quake I noticed a crack about 75'long X 4-5 inches wide opening on my lot. I notified HVO, who were nice enough to send out a scientist who looked over my lot and a neighbors' who was having the same occurrance. They assured us it was "just slight settling of the tumulus, it happens in rift areas often, not to worry".. but if it had happened under a slab- Big problem.

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Hotzcatz
Punatic

USA
1727 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  15:58:07  Show Profile  Visit Hotzcatz's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Good point, Leilaniguy!

If your building site has unstable soil or has been bulldozed and not compacted (many engineers require compacting between each 12" of soil) then post and pier is much easier to repair if (when) the land settles.

In our neighborhood we have two houses built side by side, both on where the cane company used to put bagasse and rubbish. One fellow built his concrete as a "floating" pad - i.e. strong enough that it didn't need to be fully supported underneath. He watched the contractor build it and counted the concrete trucks as they came and went to make sure there was a full pour according to the blueprints. (The contractor thought it was overkill.) His neighbor has the same house design, but didn't count the concrete trucks (he wasn't on island at the time) and the contractor just did a "normal" slab. Less than ten years later, the foundation was severely cracking and dropping on one edge. Of course, by this time the contractor is long gone so the homeowner spent most of last summer digging and putting concrete under his house.

Not meant to be a horror story, just a chance for some learning at someone else's experience.

A hui hou!
Cathy

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David M
Punatic

USA
2021 Posts

Posted - 02/16/2006 :  19:24:34  Show Profile  Visit David M's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm gonna guess a crack of that magnitude would have been serious if directly under post and piers as well, perhaps more so if under a whole line of them.
JMHO

David


Ninole Resident
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hilosue
Newbie

6 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2006 :  18:38:29  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Thank you all for your information. I DID go back to the previous thread on "post & pier" and read all of the entries. Its a lot to think about....Your forum is invaluable though and I find myself reading all of the "building" threads. Mahalo to everyone who responded.

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HADave
Kamaaina

USA
662 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2006 :  02:51:43  Show Profile  Visit HADave's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Bringing this forward for newcomers with questions on the subject

HADave

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tada
Kamaaina

539 Posts

Posted - 08/04/2006 :  08:47:43  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have Big Island fever too actually Honokaa fever but I recall my visceral reaction walking thru a slab house last year. My creeping paranoia told me that house would get flooded out in a hard rain. Then my perspective is having lived pretty much all my life on post & pier house in Honolulu where when you look out the window you look over the community or in the case of the Big Island over the landscape. I didn't know how much of a difference it made until I saw that house in Honokaa at least in my little paranoid mind!

I like the Filipino style houses in Waipahu and Kalihi where the first floor is the garage on a slab covered by the living space on the second floor.
Others call it cookie cutter- I call it FFF- form follows function.

Others want to make friends- I just want to make money.
James Cramer
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toucano
Da Kine

246 Posts

Posted - 08/04/2006 :  11:58:56  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
One advantage of P&P is that the centipedes need to work a little harder to get inside...

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Hotzcatz
Punatic

USA
1727 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2006 :  12:45:57  Show Profile  Visit Hotzcatz's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I wonder if some of the "tanglefoot" sticky stuff put on the posts would stop centipedes from getting inside. I'm not even sure where to get it anymore, though, my grandpa used to use it on his trees out at the farm to keep some sort of bugs out of them.

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HADave
Kamaaina

USA
662 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2006 :  12:53:08  Show Profile  Visit HADave's Homepage  Reply with Quote
absolutely, positively, without a doubt. This is the greatest stuff, depending on what else gets stuck, a bug bridge could be made for the ole wise centipede.

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mella l
Punatic

USA
2577 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  05:08:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Bump.

Anyone who has built in the last year or so perhaps might give an update.

mella l

Paris London New York PUNA
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MarkP
Kamaaina

958 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  08:07:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting I never saw this topic before but I have posted on other similar topics.

I have the opposite reaction from leilaniguy regarding the crack across the property and what would happen to a slab. A slab would be much better equipped to deal with something like that than individual piers. I have stated in the past that the best option to protect against such ground movement would be to build on a slab, just make it a very good slab. The slab might cost twice as much as a "regular" slab. So be it. Do what it takes. Spend what it takes. After you do your entire house, if it settles, will settle as a unit and can be jacked back up as a unit. Pretend you are building a bridge. It baffles me how little effort and resources are typically put into the most important part of the house, the foundation.

All slabs crack to some degree. Unless the steel reinforcement is pre-stressed, the steel is just there to hold the pieces together. It can not be otherwise. Concrete has a very small strain at failure. Steel by comparison has a very large strain at failure and is hardly carrying any load at the amount of deflection that will break the concrete, after which the steel will carry all the load.

Hotcatz's story gets to the point. People are used to doing things a certain way and even builders who have been building houses for years may not really know the theory of something like how different slab designs affect the outcome unless they have personally tried different designs AND gone back to review the results over time. This is not something that many builders have done. They just build the same thin slab over and over.

I am not saying you can't get good results with pier and beam but the old plantation style houses were built that way because it was CHEAP. There are so many of them around because the plantations ran everything and it was the cheapest way they could provide housing, not because it was the most durable system.
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MarkP
Kamaaina

958 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  10:02:35  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If longevity and quality of construction were your defining concerns you would have a very robust slab to tie everything together. After that, if you wanted the benefits of pier and beam with an elevated floor, you would build it on top of this slab. What I am hearing is a lot of people talking like these are mutually exclusive or maybe there is some special reason why people don't do both. There is - cost. People are presenting technical reasons in favor of pier and beam and perhaps without realizing it are implying that these are reasons against a slab. In fact they are independent issues.
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MarkP
Kamaaina

958 Posts

Posted - 01/19/2010 :  12:28:08  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
With regard to centipedes I spoke with someone who as a child lived in a house that had an extensive dry-stacked stone wall. He said thay had a lot of centipedes. The father then grouted between the rocks, not as a structural measure but to deny the centipedes access. After that there were noticeably fewer centipedes. They must like the following things:
1. Rock. Don't know why but maybe it holds heat better.
2. Cracks to hide in.
3. Cracks close to the ground. I figure this because otherwise why would elevated houses have fewer centipedes? It seems logical that they would not like to travel either horizontally or vertically where they are exposed. I have also heard that a CMU stemwall a few feet high with wood construction above allows you to detect termites before they do damage because they don't like to travel exposed and so they build mud tunnels that give them away.

The benefit of building with individual piers where the ground is not flat enough for a slab is very real, can't argue against that. I only mean to say that there are benefits to a slab that are independent of whether the rest of the house is raised and which in my opinion you can't reproduce without the slab.
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