How do you choose between a basement or slab on grade?
Hi, my apologies if this question has already been answered or has any glaring misconceptions. I've only recently begun my journey into building my first home and am just starting to plan my layout. I thought to copy the old bank barn style and have my house built into a north facing hill. The main floor is accessed from the north and west, while the entire south would be windows from the main level and the basement, with the basement walking out to the south side. I thought this lower profile would help with heat/cool retention from the earth, as well as protection from elements.
But, after reading some of your wonderful articles, I am wondering if the slab on grade is better and have a 2 storey house instead? Is the energy loss from the 2nd storey less than a basement? And also, what about using the slab on grade with the Legalett solar air floor as your basement floor?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much!
We prefer a slab on grade over a basement for a bunch of reasons, and this page here is written specifically to address your question, so start here –
How to choose between a slab on grade and a basement
However, is your lot sloped in a way that creating a flat surface for a slab is a problem? If so, the Legalett prefab slab on grade with air heated floor we built could be a good solution for you as well, and they do ship across Canada and the US. Where are you located? And I think that system would be particularly advantageous if you did want to create a foundation with a walk out basement.
Legalett provides raft slabs which are engineered to spread the weight evenly, so the are much more solid and not prone to structural cracking like standard concrete slab floors. So, you could pour the slab then seat an ICF Foundation wall on it, leaving you with a basement thoroughly insulated with no thermal bridging and a reduced chance of mold forming compared to standard basement construction methods.