In colder climates, like Eastern Pennsylvania, winters are not getting milder. When we are exposed to several consecutive below-freezing days and nights that extend into weeks, the low temperatures can affect many of the exterior components of our homes. This includes shallow foundations that do not reach below the frost line. This is why you need to consider a frost protection foundation for your home.
When a standard foundation does not extend below three feet in depth, the structure may be vulnerable to frost heaves. Subsequently this can cause severe cracking and displacement.
As an alternative, in recent years, builders have employed frost-protected shallow foundation (FPSF) designs that provide protection from frost-heaves. FPSF can even be used when the structure has not been anchored at least 36 inches below ground level.
These effective strategies have been developed to retrofit shallow foundations. This enables even more buildings to survive colder temperatures while using less energy and materials.
In some instances, for example, while converting a sunroom or patio into a permanent interior room, design build experts have been able to adapt the foundations to eliminate the risk of frost heaves.
Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations (FPSF)
In the past, local code requirements meant builders had to create footings for a “slab” structure that were almost half as deep as a full basement. This process significantly increased the cost of labor, energy, and materials.
To address this wastage, builders and designers studies found that a foundation could be just as effective at resisting cold temperatures if it had adequate insulation. The need to deeply anchor into the ground is no longer a requirement with the development of FPSFs.
Now homeowners planning to extend their interior square footage by integrating a patio or sunroom can do so – even with a minimal foundation. Additionally, the add-on is much less expensive with the effective use of FPSF technology.
What Is an FPSF?
The National Centers for Environmental Information defines a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation as “a practical alternative to deeper, more costly foundations.”
FPSF construction involves placing insulation strategically around the bottom of the structure. This helps to raise the soil temperature and frost prevention depth around the structure to a minimum of 16 inches, rather than the previous 36” to 48” requirement.
The insulation is usually a concrete slab with a rigid-foam polystyrene (EPS) or extruded polystyrene (XPS) material covering.
The National Association of Homebuilders provides in-depth guidelines and information regarding the proper application of the insulation. These guidelines are for both new or existing structures.
Ask Your Design Build Company About FBSF
FPSF offers several benefits to the homeowner. Protecting the structure from the stresses of cold weather for the long term is the first significant benefit. Conservation of materials and energy reduction also lowers the total cost, not to mention the contribution to environmental responsibility.
Suppose you are discussing an extension of your home or modification to an existing space. In that case, the design build company should offer a frost-protected shallow foundation option to avoid unnecessary costs, excavation, and materials.
Headquartered in Hatfield, eastern Pennsylvania, award-winning Master’s Design Build has been serving homeowners in Montgomery, Bucks Counties, and surrounding areas for over a decade. Remodeling interior and exterior features, the Master’s professionals have artistically converted kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, and other spaces into beautiful and highly functional areas for owners and guests to enjoy.
The Master’s process begins with an idea, a vision the homeowners may have to improve their living environment. Working collaboratively with a Master’s designer, the ultimate remodel plan will evolve and meet the owners’ needs and budget.
By working with a proven design-build company, your original design can be flawlessly converted into reality. The design build’s professional construction crew is part of the process from start to finish. Continuous communication from planning to the building process also makes the experience much smoother for homeowners.
You can see many of Master’s exceptional finished projects by visiting their website’s Gallery of Projects.
To learn more about the design-build process, contact Master’s Design Build Remodeling and General Contractor at 1-215-723-6162.