Investment Properties: A Look into Different Foundations

types of foundation for homes

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If you own investment properties in Oklahoma, your number one focus is very likely minimizing your expenditures to maximize profits. One of the most crucial things you can do as a property owner is to ensure that the homes you purchase are structurally sound. Unfortunately, foundations in the area are prone to damage, and looking for foundation repair in Oklahoma can lead to bills reaching tens of thousands of dollars.

Below, we’ll discuss all you need to know to avoid buying an investment property with severe foundation problems. We’ll discuss the different types of foundations for homes, some of the issues to be aware of with each, and how to handle them if they do arise.

Types of Foundations for Homes and Their Problems In Oklahoma

There are four primary foundation types for homes you’ll find across Oklahoma. We’ll describe each of these below, along with some of the common problems you may experience. You will get to know how to prevent the foundation from cracking.

Slab Foundations

A slab foundation is the simplest style, consisting of a large concrete slab formed and poured directly onto compacted soil. There is no space beneath the foundation for storage or utilities, but they are generally the most affordable foundation style.

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Problems with Slab Foundations in Oklahoma and How to Fix Them

Oklahoma is primarily underlain by clay soil, which expands and contracts more readily than any other soil type with changes in moisture. The rainy season in Oklahoma — between April and June — brings several times the monthly rainfall amount the rest of the year. These wet periods are punctuated by drought conditions throughout the rest of the year.

The natural moisture fluctuations can promote differential settlement, which causes a portion of the slab to settle more quickly into the earth. You may notice uneven floors inside, uncomfortably hot or cold indoor temperatures, doors and windows that are challenging to open and close, and unusually high utility bills.

Differential settlement typically requires supportive push piers placed beneath the unsupported slab section. These piers cost between $1,000 and $3,000 each in Oklahoma and the total repair cost averages around $10,000.

Pier and Beam Foundations

Pier and beam foundation

A pier and beam foundation consists of concrete piers set deep into the ground. Wooden piers are fastened to the concrete piers and support the floor joists of your home. This foundation style provides some under-home space for storage or utilities, but it’s usually open to the outside with no foundation walls.

Problems with Pier and Beam Foundations in Oklahoma and How to Fix Them

The biggest issue with pier and beam foundations in Oklahoma is moisture accumulation. During the early summer, the open under-home area will very likely be wet or humid, as the space naturally attracts moisture. Moisture in the space can promote wood rot, insect infestation, rodent infestation, and mold growth. Humidity also enters your living space via a process called the “stack exchange,” so you’ll likely have issues with indoor humidity levels as well.

You may notice unusually hot or cold temperatures inside, musty odors, water or humid air under your home, signs of termites or other pests in the under-home area, and utility bills that are higher than average.

The best solution for moisture accumulation is to install a waterproofing system. This process often costs around $8,500 for pier and beam foundations in Oklahoma, but it can significantly increase your investment’s upside long term.

Crawlspace Foundations

crawlspace foundation

Crawlspace foundations aren’t prevalent in Oklahoma, but you might come across an investment property with this foundation style. The crawlspace is similar to a pier and beam style, but it has an exterior wall to enclose the area and help manage humidity.

Problems with Crawlspace Foundations in Oklahoma and How to Fix Them

Crawlspace foundations in Oklahoma are most prone to cracking. The expansive clay soil can cause differential settlement just like with slab foundations, and it can also expand against the stem walls, triggering unsafe lateral movement.

You might find horizontal, stair-step, or vertical cracks in the basement walls, visible leaking, dense air or musty odors in the space, mold growth, and efflorescence on the walls, which is a powdery white substance.

Fixing horizontal cracks and stair-step cracks is usually required to maintain structural stability. Earth anchors — averaging around $5,000 — are the best solutions for horizontal cracks. Supportive piers — averaging around $10,000 — are typically recommended for stair-step cracks.

Basement Foundations

Finally, basement foundations are just like crawlspaces, but they provide far more clearance below ground. Most basements have 7 to 10-foot clearance and can be used as additional living space or for storage.

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Problems with Basement Foundations in Oklahoma and How to Fix Them

The issues with basement foundations are the same as those with crawlspaces. The clay soil in Oklahoma combined with the excessive summer rainfall promotes foundation wall cracks, slab cracks in the floor, foundation leaks, and humidity issues.

A basement waterproofing system to correct leaking or excess moisture averages around $10,000 in Oklahoma and usually consists of a French drain, sump pumps, soil gradation, a complete gutter system, crack sealing, and other measures, if required. Fixing horizontal cracks in basement walls or stair-step cracks averages around $5,000 and $10,000, respectively.

Recommended: How can you use Owner Financing to create Passive Income in Oklahoma City?

Wrapping Up: Avoiding Foundation Damage In Your Investment Properties

Maximizing your profits from your investment properties in Oklahoma means ensuring that the properties you purchase and the ones you manage are free from structural damage. Foundation issues can easily cost over $10,000, detracting from your upsides and creating massive headaches for you and your tenants.

One of the best ways to avoid foundation damage in Oklahoma is to be proactive. Have a foundation inspection completed before purchasing your next investment property, and carry out regular inspections and necessary maintenance on the homes you own to ensure they remain structurally sound.

Also Read: 7 Ways to Reduce your Oklahoma City Rental Property Maintenance Costs

If you are looking for a trustworthy property management company in Oklahoma City that can handle your rental properties and make steady profits, OKC Home Realty Services can be your right choice.

scott nachatilo


Scott Nachatilo is an investor, property manager and owner of OKC Home Realty Services – one of the best property management companies in Oklahoma City. His mission is to help landlords and real estate investors to manage their property in Oklahoma.