Having a solid foundation is the key to building a beautiful and functional home. However, many wonder whether to build belts if the soil in the plot is firm. Meanwhile, others are unsure whether the belts should be built along the surface of the foundation or the width of the walls of the structure. Most people believe that building a belt on the foundation built on ground that is not firm would make the house stronger. This, however, is a false belief. Also, people think that there is no need for a belt if the foundation is built on firmer ground or on rocks. However, experts reject this too.
The main function of a belt is to transfer the weight of the superstructure, including the slab and the walls, equally to the foundation. A belt alone cannot increase the bearing capacity of the soil. In addition, a belt is a moisture-proof course that protects the walls from moisture.
Moisture can spread on the walls by capillarity under the floor. It can also happen when the foundation is wet due to insufficient space for the umbrella. Moisture can also seep through bathroom tiles. No matter how the moisture attacks, it affects the layer just below the ground. This would eventually weaken this layer and lose its ability to support weight. Adding a belt on the foundation is the best solution to avoid this.
The plates inside the earth keep moving for various reasons. Such movements can affect the strength of the foundation and cause cracks on it. If belts are built above the foundation, these cracks will not propagate to the superstructure. However, these belts lack the strength to withstand massive earthquakes like the one that leveled Bhuj in Gujarat.
Earthquakes are not the only cause of plate motion. The houses built on the edge of the highways often “shudder” with the passage of enormous tanker trucks or container trucks. In addition, cracks form on the walls of houses built near railway tracks.
Churches and temples known for their massive fireworks during festivals have structural cracks. Such cracks could also be found on houses near quarries. Vibrations could be felt on the structure when blasting rocks in nearby quarries.
The belt must be in the width of the walls. Usually it is not necessary to build belts thicker than four inches. However, be sure to cross-check the measurements of the parts when centering the straps.
Belts can be built in a foot thickness or along the basement area. Although this is not going to give any additional protection to the structure, it will not cause any damage. But, the corners of the sash could cause problems when the bathroom floor is built at a lower level. So, in areas where bathrooms come, the belt should be built only in the width of the walls. Building belts are essential when building houses because they ensure the strength of the foundation and the structure.