Home Built on Concrete Slab
LESLIE: Now we’ve got new homeowner Jane from California on the line who’s owning a different house than usual this time and has some questions. What can we do for you, Jane?
JANE: Hi. Thank you guys so much for taking my call. It’s a real treat to get to talk to you.
JANE: Well, I sold my money pit in the country and I bought a house in town.
TOM: Oh, good for you.
JANE: And it’s built on a slab; you know, it’s built on concrete.
JANE: And I’ve never had a house that way. And I probably should have done some checking before but I’ve got it now. And I just wanted to know, are there particular things that I need to be concerned about or be aware of or to watch out for? And I live in earthquake country. What do you know about houses built on a slab?
TOM: Well, it’s actually a very common way to build a house and here where we live in the Northeast, it’s extremely typical. You either have homes that are built on slabs, on crawlspaces or on full basements. And it’s a perfectly normal way to build a house. It’s completely structurally stable.
Of course, it’s a little inconvenient if you want to run a new set of pipes for a bathroom or something like that if you can’t …
LESLIE: Or move all of your plumbing systems completely.
TOM: Right. Because you can’t get under it. But it’s a perfectly fine system.
I will say this, Jane: do you have any problems with termites in your area of the country?
JANE: No. Where I live, it’s adobe soil and the termites really don’t like it very much.
TOM: OK. Pretty dry. Yeah. Because in where we live, it’s hard to spot them when they get into the slab and they do get into the slabs. You may be in an area where they have drywood termites and it’s not as much of an issue. So I think you have nothing to worry about living on a slab.
TOM: It’s just the way it’s done in your part of the country and it should be perfectly comfortable and perfectly stable for you for many years to come.
LESLIE: If you are looking at changing any of the flooring that is on top of the slab, directly on your first floor, there are certain things you need to keep in mind: that you can’t use a traditional hardwood because it will warp and twist. So, laminates or engineered hardwoods are best for you or stone or tile: anything that’s not going to react with the moisture that’s just naturally inherent with a concrete slab.
JANE: What kind of wood did you say?
LESLIE: Engineered hardwood or a laminate. An engineered hardwood is sort of like a plywood base where it’s built up in layers of opposing grain and then the top is the actual hardwood veneer. And that’s structurally stable.
JANE: OK. OK. Well, that’s good to know. Oh, thank you so much. I really appreciate your show a lot. I learn so much from you.
TOM: Oh, you’re very welcome, Jane. Good luck with that new house and thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.