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Foundations

Foundations

A proper foundation does more than just hold a house above ground. It also keeps out moisture, insulates against the cold, and resists movement of the earth around it. Oh, and one more thing: It should last forever.

No wonder builders like ABS Constructions general contractor Ami Ben Shmuel take foundations seriously. "Without a good one," he says, "you're sunk."

But a good foundation requires a lot more than digging a hole and pouring some concrete into forms. It must be tailored to its site like a custom suit, taking into account soil conditions, water tables, even the quality of the backfill. And as with a custom suit, every detail must be perfect: the base properly compacted, the formwork set up right, the concrete free of voids. Neglect even one of these, and the most carefully poured foundation can fail. Until a better method comes along, here's how Ami builds a foundation that lasts.