Which Is Better, A Poured Foundation Or A Concrete Block One?

In the foundation industry, the cinder block foundations vs. the poured concrete debate is raging. It’s hard to say which one is better; however, most of the builders choose poured walls for new homes. According to a survey conducted by the Portland Cement Association, 72 per cent of new homes with full basements are built with poured concrete wall systems, while concrete block walls hold 25 per cent of the national market. Each type has its own advantages and drawbacks.

Poured Concrete Foundations

The poured concrete wall foundations are probably stronger than the cinder blocks. The poured walls have a better lateral strength, which means they are able to withstand more water and soil pressure from the outside. A poured wall doesn’t have joints like a block wall, so it’s more waterproof. Poured walls tend to be the preferred choice for new builders. The poured walls can be formed in any foundation design and can be adapted to last minute changes. Building a poured wall is faster and more efficient, but it can be expensive if the cement plant is far away.If the concrete truck has to travel farther than 90 minutes, a cinder block wall foundation would probably be the better choice. It really depends on the circumstance, availability of concrete and skilled workers.

Why Choose This Option?

Poured concrete over steel rebar foundations are best due to their:

  • Strength: This method of foundation construction can have more lateral strength, holding up better against the expanding/contracting forces of ground soil and water pressure over the years.
  • Water resistance: Poured foundations are simpler to waterproof, since there are no joints (like stacked cinder blocks have).
  • Versatility: You can create any shape wall or foundation with poured concrete.
  • Adaptability: While concrete is drying/curing, you have time to adjust or make last-minute changes to perfect the foundation.
  • Efficiency: It’s typically quicker to pour a foundation than build with cinderblocks, so you could save time, and save money on labor. One exception might be if the building site is far from the cement plant, which can raise costs.

Cinder Block Foundations

Before the 1970s, cinder block foundations were the norm. Almost every house was built with a masonry foundation. While the poured wall wins for lateral strength, the properly constructed cinder block wall beats the poured wall for compression strength. This means that it can hold more weight at the top of the foundation. For this reason, the cinder block wall foundation is often chosen by engineers and architects. A good block wall requires skilled bricklayers to translate into more labor costs. Plus, skilled masons are hard to get through. Block wall foundations are more prone to bowing and buckling, and repairs are costly if you need to rebuild the block wall. While both foundation types can be completely waterproofed, block walls tend to have more leaks because of the grout lines. Water and weather wears down the mortar over time and causes leaks.

When Should You Consider This Option?

A steel-reinforced, masonry (concrete block) foundation may be better when these factors are in play:

  • Distance: If trucking in wet concrete is logistically difficult, time-consuming and/or costly, cinder blocks make sense.
  • Risk of curing problems: While curing, a poured concrete foundation can lose some strength due to possible spalling (where the concrete surface peels, crumbles or flakes off).

Both types can also be reinforced with a steel bar. This helps to strengthen any kind of foundation. One advantage of a concrete block wall is that the concrete is already solid at the time of construction. The poured walls have to be healed on site and can sometimes lose some strength in the process if the cracking occurs.No matter what type of foundation you choose, make sure you install a proper waterproofing system. No foundation wall is going to be good if it’s not waterproof.

Are You Looking for a Concrete Foundation Specialist You Can Trust?

Spaulding Concrete has been laying concrete foundations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for over thirty years.  We have poured hundreds upon hundreds of foundations for homes, commercial and agricultural properties over the years.  The more difficult a project is, the harder we work to provide real solutions and state-of-the-art solutions.  We partner with each client from concept to completion, which enables us to design and implement plans that meet or exceed our client’s goals. Our concrete design team is made up of highly skilled, experienced estimators and craftsmen who work diligently to minimize problems and ensure that we remain on schedule.  With all the resources available to complete your project through strong connections with leading suppliers, we are a single source for any type of concrete foundations. For all our products and services, we use the latest industry technologies so you can ensure your project will be completed on-time and under code. When it’s time to finish and place, you can count on our highly experienced crews who are skilled in all facets of the industry.  Spaulding Concrete will deliver if you need experience with any type of structural concrete. To schedule your free quote, call or contact us today! We are proud to serve Orinda, Lafayette, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood and the surrounding areas.