Building a Foundation


Good boots can last years, decades. Just the same, good foundations can last for hundreds of years. Ensuring your building has a solid foundation is key considering every asset within that structure will eventually rest upon it. Quality foundation work begins with a quality excavation contractor. From site prep including lot clearing and grading to digging for the foundations, Fischer Brothers LLC is a full service company located in Moscow, PA.

There are a number of different types of foundations: slab-on grade, crawlspace, full basement. These can vary depending on location, market expectations, and your personal preference.

Foundations are made from a variety of materials, concrete, block, stone, treated wood. Today, reinforced concrete is used in the majority of homes. This must be done by determining the depth of your foundation. While these are typically around 3 feet deep, if you’re digging in soil with high moisture you’ll need to have a deeper foundation. Your builder or designer is in the best position to advise you at the local level.

Full Basement

Full basements are found around the world, they’re often expected in the Northeast and they’re fairly common around Pennsylvania and surrounding areas. A full basement typically has roughly eight-foot-high walls that enclose a four inch-thick poured concrete slab and footings that are rooted below a region’s frost depth.

If you plan on doing the basement yourself, you’ll want to investigate installing rigid foam insulation beneath the slab. This can reduce problems with mold and mildew, making the space more comfortable, and slightly reduced energy use. The ‘basement smell’ often comes from factors like these, insulated basements can smell clean and dry.

Basements can be entertainment centers, hobby and recreational rooms, gyms, extra bedrooms. If configured correctly, a basement will have good ventilation, a spacious feel, and natural light. Consider digging a well for a grinder pump if you intend on putting a toilet in the basement.


The slab-on grade is self-explanatory: it’s a concrete slab poured on a graded level to serve as the foundation of a structure. Before being poured, a bag of gravel is spread on the leveled ground in order to permit drainage. Wire mesh is used to minimize chances of cracking and electrical conduit or plumbing pipes are installed.

The slab-on grade foundation transfers the weight of a structure to the ground. In northern regions like Pensylvania, special frost proofing is required: in most cases this consists of a short foundation wall poured to protect footings below the frost line. Using a layer of rigid foam under the slab-on-grade foundation is ideal, and critical if the slab will have installed hydronic heat.


Crawlspaces are popular when access to the space between floor and ground level is required. Footings are still placed below the frost line, but with just enough headroom between the ground and floor to crawl. These often include vent openings to prevent buildup of moisture, be cautious though as these can often achieve the opposite without proper measures like covering the ground with a polyethylene vapor barrier or concrete slab. Otherwise, mold and mildew can cause massive structural failure.

Be cautious!

Designing a dry, stable, and long lasting foundation for your structure requires proper details. Hire an established builder with a long-standing reputation of quality work. For added caution, hire an independent inspector to check the foundation before any framing begins. This isn’t common practice, but can be worthwhile, saving hundreds and lots of trouble!

Fischer Brothers LLC has provided high quality foundation services to areas of Lackawanna, Wayne and Monroe Counties for over 10 years, and have completed nearly 50 residential and small commercial foundation projects. We can meet all of your residential or small commercial foundation needs.

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They showed up on time and completed the job in a timely manner. The quality of the work was excellent and communication was great. They also cleaned up after every visit to our home. I would highly recommend Fischer Brothers to anyone. They did a very professional job at a great price. We are extremely pleased!

- Doris F.