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What’s the Difference Between Monolithic and Stem Wall Foundations?

Amelia Island, FL, Jacksonville, FL & Waycross, GA.
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What’s the Difference Between Monolithic and Stem Wall Foundations?

Not many laypeople understand the nuances of the various foundation types. So you must rely on the best in the business at Cayman Builders. Experience with the local environment is irreplaceable when building quality new homes at affordable prices. Because while one may be less expensive and quicker, you may actually be better off with the more time-intensive solution, especially in the South where rain and wind can play havoc with foundations. Don’t try to figure out for yourself whether you’re better off with a stem wall or monolithic foundation — just call Cayman Builders for answers you can trust.

What Are Monolithic and Stem Wall Foundations?

What Are Monolithic and Stem Wall Foundations?
Monolithic and stem wall are two popular types of foundations for your quality new home. They’re two of the most popular types of foundations because they’re secure and lasting. The foundation forms the most important part of your house. When your foundation has structural problems, you start noticing crumbling, cracking or buckling walls, which can cost a bundle to repair.

For high standard of quality in custom-built homes, Cayman Builders is unmatched. They always insist on using the best materials and types of foundations for its homes, especially if you’re building on your own lot. From building eco-friendly homes with unique open floor plan designs to technologically advanced smart homes, the quality craftsmanship is always superior. Your vision of a dream home is captured and made real at affordable prices.

Why Choose Monolithic Foundations?

Designing and personalizing your new home starts by choosing the right foundation. The construction system that begins with a monolithic foundation is quite unique. It uses what’s referred to as the “all-in-one concrete pour” that involves adding all the concrete into the wood foundation mold to form a solid foundation.

Reasons the monolithic foundation may be the right choice for your home include:

  • Building is fast. Once the soil is prepared, the concrete is poured. The base can be anywhere from four to 10 inches in thickness. For load-bearing areas, more concrete is added for reinforcement.
  • A monolithic foundation is durable. It can last about 50 years if properly constructed. The primary reason for this durability is the way the foundation is built, with no cold joints or seams. Also, steel reinforcement or a sturdy metal mesh is added for extra strength, which increases the rigidity and stability of the foundation.
  • The construction system is simple. The entire foundation takes just a couple of days to dry out, which lowers the labor costs and allows construction on the rest of your house to begin much sooner, reducing the overall wait time for completion.
  • It’s best for flat lots. If the location of your lot is on even, flat soil, the monolithic method is the best type of foundation for the most efficient home building. However, if your ground soil is a bit uneven, builders use post-tensioning to reinforce the foundation. This technique involves adding steel cables inside plastic ducts in strategic positions for added support.
  • It offers lower maintenance. Unlike beam or pier types of foundations, a monolithic foundation needs very little maintenance. You just have to check the foundation for cracks regularly.
  • It gets better energy efficiency. Energy efficient homes often are built with the monolithic foundation. As there is no space between the ground and the house, there is no waste of energy, which ensures low monthly energy costs.

How Do Stem Wall Foundations Work?

One of the biggest advantages of stem wall foundations is that they can work on uneven ground. The construction takes care of the varying heights. To complete a stem wall foundation, the construction usually takes place in three stages:

  • The concrete spread footing is poured at the ground level, on compacted soil. This helps to even out the ground.
  • The foundation wall is created using masonry or concrete blocks to the desired slab level. At this stage, fill dirt is also added and compacted to provide more strength and rigidity.
  • Finally, the concrete slab is poured to get the stem wall foundation.

In comparison to monolithic foundations, construction of the stem wall involves:

  • Multiple concrete pours to get the foundation ready. This also means it needs a longer time to dry out between each of the concrete stages.
  • The process can be labor-intensive and time-consuming.
    This foundation is much more solid, sturdy and stable, as the construction system allows for efficient load bearing and less stress.
  • The crawlspace that’s created is best for homes where there is lots of rain and chances of flooding.
    Another advantage is that the crawlspace gives you access to wiring, plumbing and other mechanical systems, something that’s missing from the monolithic foundation.

Which Type of Foundation is Best for My Home?

From the very beginning, you’re paired with a Cayman Builders representative with decades of experience in custom home building in Florida and Georgia. Every step of the way, professionals advise you on your best options, while explaining the difference in costs and benefits.

Choosing the location that best suits your needs and your budget is a big part of the process when you don’t have your own lot already. While the final decisions are yours, you can rest assured that your interests are always taken into consideration. For the best professional guidance based on decades of experience laying monolith and stem wall foundations, contact Cayman Builders to start your process to build a custom home.