Poured Concrete vs. Cinder Block Foundations

Up until the 1970s, cinder block was the preferred material for foundations. Now, as concrete foundation companies in Tennessee grow and the technology evolves, most homes contain a concrete foundation. However, like most things, cinder block and concrete each have their pros and cons. Here are five elements for evaluating these foundations and how each type stands up against them:

  • Strength: Both options are strong in different ways. Poured concrete offers improved lateral stability because there are no weak spots at the joints. It withstands outside pressure from water and soil better. Cinder blocks are stronger when it comes to compression. They hold more weight at the top of the foundation than concrete, making cinder blocks preferred among architects and engineers.
  • Waterproofing: As a solid wall, concrete is more waterproof. There are no joints or gaps between blocks to let water in, making concrete an easier surface to treat. Cinder block foundations can also be waterproof, but it takes more effort, and you may still develop leaks at joints and grout lines. No matter which option you choose, always waterproof your foundation. There is not a foundation material available that works perfectly without waterproofing.
  • Wear and tear: Concrete develops very little wear and tear. Unless there is a natural disaster, your concrete foundation will stand up to most pressures. Time and weather eventually wear at cinder block foundations and lead to leaks. Unlike a concrete foundation, you will likely have to arrange for repairs at some points in your cinder block foundation’s life. Cinder block walls are also vulnerable to bowing and buckling. If this occurs, you are likely paying for a wall replacement, which can become expensive quickly.
  • Cost: Unless the concrete truck travels from further than 90 miles away, concrete foundations are less expensive. Workers build them faster, and poured concrete is an efficient and inexpensive material. Cinder block foundations are a specialty that requires skilled bricklayers and masons. This situation leads to higher labor costs and more construction time. These cost circumstances depend on the local availability of concrete and skilled workers, so do not make assumptions until you do your research. There are times and places where cinder block foundations are cheaper.
  • Reinforcement options: If your project requires it, you can add steel rebar to both cinder block and concrete foundations in Tennessee. It can be easier to install rebar with cinder blocks, since the blocks are already solid at construction. Workers simply place rebar pieces between block layers. Concrete needs to be poured and then cure, but if done incorrectly, it may spall. Spalling is when the surface breaks away and diminishes the strength of concrete and rebar. Prevent this issue by hiring a skilled concrete contractor who is experienced with concrete pouring and handling rebar.

When evaluating concrete foundation companies, you must find a reliable contractor with extensive experience. Warrior Precast LLC offers precast concrete experience and provides concrete foundations for residential, industrial and commercial projects in Tennessee. Contact us today to schedule an estimate and start your project.

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