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Give Your New Home a Firm Foundation

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A well-built concrete foundation needs to be solid in every sense of the word. Hawaii’s tropical climate and sometimes rocky or steep terrain can pose challenges in construction. This is why it’s so critical to hire a general contractor with extensive expertise and experience in laying concrete. 

Benefits of a Concrete Foundation

Although there are different types of foundations used in Hawaii, more homeowners than ever are opting for a concrete slab type. There are key reasons for this: 

  • Concrete slab is less expensive to build than a house with a crawl space or a pier foundation.
  • The slab-type can be laid faster than other types.
  • Since there’s no airspace in between the home and the foundation, there’s no room for mold or termite infestations to grow.
Preparation before pouring a new home's foundation
The 12-foot retaining wall was formed and poured first. The image shows preparation for the foundation of a two-story home.

Concrete Foundations: Engineered for Stability

Laying a concrete foundation is still a demanding process. It starts with excavating, grading and compacting the soil to ensure proper drainage, slope and stability. This layer is called the subgrade. 

If the natural soil is relatively clean and compactable, a slab can be laid right on top of it without any additional layers. But in instances where moisture or stability is a concern, the contractor will add a layer of crushed gravel on top of the soil. This layer is called a subbase. A base layer of finer material is sometimes placed on top of the subbase to get to an even, level grade. Together the subbase and base should be at least 4 inches thick.

Next, steel rods and wire mesh are laid to reinforce the concrete, as well as drainage pipes. Then the concrete foundation itself is poured. It is poured thicker at the edges to form an integral footing. 

Image of recently poured concrete foundation that is now curing
Recently poured concrete foundation
Image of poured concrete foundation of the first floor of a new Maui home
Poured concrete foundation and first floor of a new Maui home

Getting the Recipe Right

Concrete comes in several different strengths. Care must be taken to use the right formula and the correct amount of water. If too much water is added to the mix, it can change the chemistry of the concrete. Ultimately, this can compromise the strength and stability of the foundation. 

Control joints are then cut into the fresh concrete. These joints are essentially carefully positioned cracks that allow for movement caused by temperature changes and shrinkage from drying. Thanks to these planned cuts, if the concrete does crack it will crack in a straight line instead of randomly.

Finding a Cure

Finally, the concrete foundation is cured. Concrete needs special attention as it cures, especially in hot weather. Concrete that has been allowed to dry too quickly is at increased risk of cracking. 

When your new house is completed, the foundation won’t likely be something you notice. But over the years, a properly constructed concrete foundation will ensure the home’s livability and security, as well as your considerable financial investment. 

Crescent Homes Maui is one of the leading builders of new homes on the island, with decades of experience in new home construction and remodeling. Call us today to learn how our professional concrete team can give your new home a great start. 

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