Slab v crawlspace in Overland Park KS. Thoughts?

5 Replies

Can anybody with building experience and knowledge of the KS City climate give me some feedback on buying a home on a slab in Overland Park? The realtor I've been working with was quick to point out that a particular home I was eyeballing was worth considerably less because it was on a slab rather than a crawlspace. 

I understand that slabs are not a good fit for cold climates as they can crack if the ground freezes, but then this house has been around for decades already. 

Looking for some feedback on a slab house in this area. Does it really impact the value that much? Is it the wrong region for a slab based on climate? Would you buy a house on a slab in Overland Park? 

To me, so long the slab isn't a significant risk/liability, it would seem that such a purchase would still make sense since the typical renter doesn't care if there's a slab or a crawlspace. Obviously a full basement is a benefit, but that's apples to oranges. Only when it comes time to sell it down the road is this a possible detractor. Right??


One of the negatives of a slab is that if you need to do some repairs, you could have to get into the concrete.  Whereas at least on a crawl space you usually have some space to be able to do some work.

@Jake Riordan Understood, though I’d have to believe that’s pretty rare with a home that’s been fine for decades. Do you commonly see slabs in your area or do you feel it’s an outlier to have a slab out there? I’m wondering if a slab was appropriate to begin with?

David, keep in mind that you don't know that "a home that's been fine for decades".  Older homes are going to have more problems, especially if they have cast iron pipes and are older that 40 years (the expected life span of cast iron).  A house on a slab is far more difficult to replace sewer/waste lines than a house with a crawl space.  If you're going to buy an old house on a slab, see if you can get a plumber to inspect the lines with a sewer camera. It will cost you about $250.  Don't worry about the climate issue.  If the slab was going to crack, it would have done so long ago.

OK, that helps. Now for the valuation part. Is a home on a slab worth less generally?

The reason the slabs may be a concern is that the potential for the  soil to heave and crack from the clay in it.  It's fairly common in KC. A crawl space gives some separation from the floor above, so movement can happen.

I agree with @David Cruice on the scoping of lines. It could be a pricy mistake if you don't. Overland Park in general is not that old, so I don't think you will see cracked cast iron pipe too much. It happens more in the urban areas that are older.

I'd be more nervous about a crawl space built with concrete block.