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What’s the Difference in a Monolithic and Stemwall Foundation?

Though typically overlooked when thinking about the custom home building process, it’s important to consider the foundation of a home. There are two primary types of concrete slab foundations used in residential construction. These are monolithic and stemwall foundations. The main differences between the two are in their design and construction methods.

A monolithic foundation is a single, continuous slab of concrete that forms both the foundation footing and the concrete slab of the home. It is typically poured all at once. The entire foundation is poured in one continuous pour, hence the name “monolithic.” This type of foundation is used in areas where the soil is stable without much slope on the lot.

The stemwall foundation consists of a footing that is poured first, followed by a series of concrete blocks or “stems” that are built up from the footing to the desired height of the foundation. The walls are typically constructed using concrete blocks. Once the walls are in place, a slab is poured on top of the stem walls to create the floor of the building. This type of foundation is typically used in areas where the there is a decent amount of slope on the lot or if the home will have a brick exterior. Because a brick needs a ledge to sit on, stemwall foundations are an ideal choice as they provide this ledge. However, monolothic foundations can be made to form an extra ledge for this purpose.

Which is right for your custom home? Ask your trusted bay county custom homebuilders, AR Homes® Panama City (BCB Construction, LLC). With our expertise and experience as custom homebuilder in Panama City, Florida and the surrounding areas, we can recommend which foundation makes the most sense based on the slope of your home’s lot and other factors such as brick exteriors.


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Do you have a custom home building question or topic you’d like to learn more about? Ask Brian Baber, an accomplished author and industry expert with an MBA and General Contractors license. A highly respected builder of custom and luxury homes, Brian’s company is an independently owned and operated franchise of AR Homes®. Through his website and regularly published content, Brian is determined to make the custom home buying experience more informative than ever before.

AR Homes® (BCB Construction) Franchise Owner Brian Baber. Best custom home builders in Panama City, Florida.