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The Value of a Post Tension Foundation: A Must in OKC!

The foundation of your home is critical for the structural integrity. Like anything else, when you start with a strong foundation, you set yourself up for success. The foundation’s job is to bear the weight of the home. With Oklahoma’s clay soil, we need a system that provides greater strength to support the homes we build here. Beacon Homes relies on the value of a post tension foundation, an absolute must in OKC!

That sinking feeling

To understand why the post tension matters, let’s look at the alternative. A pier and grade foundation uses footings (piers) spaced a few feet apart. Concrete is poured into the footings. Because of the clay soil here in the Oklahoma City area, the footings should be 12 to 18 feet deep and 12 to 20 inches wide, below the frost line. When those piers aren’t deep enough, the moisture from rain, ice, and snow can sneak in under the foundation, causing the soil to shift, which impacts the foundation on top of it.

The cost to repair a foundation runs into significant money, so whatever you thought you saved by buying the home with the pier and grade foundation will be spent on the repairs—and maybe cost even more, depending on the structural damage to your home.

The post tension solution

A better choice for Oklahoma homes it the post tension foundation. This system provides critical reinforcement to better support the weight of a home built on clay soil. Post tension is a system of tendons, like those strong connections that hold your muscles and bones together. These tendons are made from high-strength wires that are wound together and then inserted into a plastic sheathing so the wires don’t contact the concrete.

The tendons are laid in the foundation’s grid, about 48 inches apart, where the slab will be poured. The concrete is poured, making sure the cables remain at the correct depth, and is left to cure for a few days (or longer, depending on the weather). Once the concrete has cured to 75% of its design strength, the cables are pulled taut using a hydraulic jack. The cables are tensioned to 33,000 psi. Stretching them this way elevates the concrete slab, compressing it, which protects against cracking. The ends of the cables are then anchored and the concrete is left to cure completely. The cables form an inter-connected network embedded in the slab.

Imagine how much more strength this web of powerful cables adds to your foundation, versus piers positioned a few feet apart.

The added value

In addition to the strength the post tension foundation provides, it’s actually more economical to install. The post tension bears some of the weight, so we can pour smaller footings—reducing the cost while also increasing the slab’s stiffness and structural integrity.

Post tension is stronger, more efficient, and more reliable. It provides the strength to better maintain cohesion during earthquakes.

When looking at new homes in the OKC area, be sure to ask the builder about the foundation system used. Generally, a pier and grade foundation exposes a higher depth of concrete above ground. For post tension, look for circles a few feet apart in the foundation. Each circle is the end of a post tension cables.

Or you can just choose one built by Beacon Homes, because we only allow for post tension foundations. Your home is far too important to cut corners that compromise your safety.


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