1950's Slab Foundation?

I am looking at a house built in the early 1950’s. According to realtor, it is a slab foundation. However, walking around the outside, there is no “gray line”. No crawlspace vents present and it does appear to be a slab foundation from interior. What type of slab might this be? Brick veneer on exterior all the way down past soil. No gray line. Any help would be appreciatted. Thanks

:shock: :shock: If your depending on the realtor to tell you what type of foundation the house is on, you might need some additional training. Just my opinion. Or are you “buying” the house?

Although not the best building practice, many homes in the south of that era and even later have the brick veneer all the way to and even below grade which would obstruct the ability to see the slab. Isn’t there some carpet you can carefully lift a corner of and look for concrete?

Stomp on the floor, and that’ll tell you pretty quick what you’re dealing with.

I am looking at buying, not inspecting. It does look like a slab foundation from the interior. No concrete visible around exterior of structure. I questioned realtor about foundation, she said she thought it was slab. Normally can see slab along exterior wall. Just looking for your opinions on what type of slab this would be.

That’s right.

Mac, Are you having the home inspected? I am guessing not. Might be a good idea.

Lack of foundation vents usually indicates a slab on grade, but every now and then I see a house that was built without vents, which is a very bad thing in this part of the world.

Regarding stomping on the floor… If the floor is built on sleepers, you may reach the wrong conclusion.

**The comment below is the comment we use when we find a home in our area with siding reaching the ground. You could replace stucco with any other siding that may be installed on the home.

The stucco extends to the soil without the benefit of a weep-screed. Weep screed is a horizontal strip of metal that isolates the stuccoed house walls from the foundation and allows them to move independent of the foundation. This not only prevents cosmetic horizontal cracks that are commonly seen at the base of many stuccoed walls but also isolates the stucco from the soil and inhibits the wicking effect of moisture being drawn up into the stucco which in turn creates the flaking and peeling that is common on such surfaces. Also, the absence of weep screed can lead to moisture-related problems. Therefore, the base of the walls on the inside should be monitored for any signs of moisture damage or mold, which is not apparent at this time.

Hmmm…interesting description of a weep screed, to say the least. Can’t say I’ve ever seen a weep screed on a brick veneer wall.

It is also possible the area was regraded to correct an issue and they graded above the brick ledge as that was the only way to obtain proper grade. Unfortunately that correction method would be wrong. About the only real way to know is dig a little and see if you find the slab.

All slabs are not going to be visible no matter how far you dig.
If you dig enough, you will see the footer, not the slab.

One method used here with full brick homes is to have the brick resting on the footer. The footer is poured long before the slab. (non-monolithic and non-floating slab)

The slab is poured inside the “box” of CMU’s which have an L-shaped open CMU at the top where the concrete flows inside it and down into all the CMU’s. Sometimes they pour a good concrete mixture inside the lower CMU’s called grout before the slab is poured if the foundation wall is higher, ie. sloping lot.

The brick will be several feet underground and the framing a foot or more above the grade. So the framing is on top of the slab edge which is actually reinforced with the L-shaped header CMU around the entire perimeter.


Slab-on-grade foundations here, even back then, were generally monolithic pours. Footers here are not required to be deep (usually 12" - 24"). If you would like to read about Texas slab-on-grade foundations here is a good reference for you http://www.houston-slab-foundations.info/. Of course these really are not Texas specific building techniques.

I am sure there have been many cases of older homes constructed with much different techniques than today. However, I have not run into any homes here that were intentionally designed to have the brick veneer buried well below ground as you described. I am sure other Texas Inspectors may wish to provide other information. Possibly they have seen what you are describing.


You can also try the Tax Assessor office records (not sure where you are). Some of the Tax Assessor’s will put the foundation type in the records. These are online for many offices. I have not run into errors with what they report but there is always the possibility.

It’s a left coast thing…:cool:


Hire a qualified inspector prior to closing, I’m available!

Is it a wood frame structure or brick and block?

Normally, you should never be able to see the slab along the exterior wall. The proper way to build a slab is to keep it entirely within the foundation, unless it is a monolithic pour with the stem walls, and then you still won’t see it. If there is no means of access to a basement or crawl space, it’s a pretty safe bet to be a slab on ground.