Difference Between Monolithic Slab & Floating Slab

Monolithic Slab Vs Floating Slab

Slab is one of the most important structural members in construction. There are different types of slabs used in construction. In this article, we will discuss the difference between monolithic slab vs floating slab.

What Is Monolithic Slab?

The name Monolithic means “all in one pour,” therefore in a Monolithic Slab construction, the foundation is made up of a layer of a concrete slab with a thicker area under the load-bearing walls and all the edges of the perimeter to replace the footer in one single pour.

The outside sides of the monolithic slab are kept thick during the concrete pouring to act as the basis for the load-bearing wall, while the rest of the slab is kept at 4 to 5 inches thick.

Monolithic Slab foundations are the most simple, quick, and cost-effective foundations accessible. Because the concrete is poured all at once in a Monolithic Slab, construction is faster and labor expenses are lower.

Monolithic Slab
Monolithic Slab
Source: homebuilderassist.com

What Is Floating Slab?

Floating slabs are concrete slabs that float on the ground without any type of anchorage. Floating slabs serve as the foundation for a wide range of civil constructions, including sheds, vehicle garages, additions, cottages, drive sheds, ancillary buildings, and barns.

As the name suggests, a Floating slab simply resembles a plate that is simply laid over water with no kind of connections between them. When we imagine a building with a floating layout, we must imagine a structure with a normal strip footing foundation that is built many feet below the ground.

The wall is then constructed above the ground level. The floating slabs then physically float on the ground. Because of the floating slabs, the ground preparation is reduced to a larger extent. Since the floating slab does not have a connection with the foundation, it is also called a monolithic slab.

Floating Slab
Floating Slab
Source: signatureflip.com

Construction Of Floating Slab       

To begin the construction of floating slabs, the planned building requires a stable foundation to completely sustain the entire weight of the superstructure.

As previously said, they are more commonly utilized in garages, home additions, and sheds that do not require large foundations. Structure-wise, these structures are light.

When compared to traditional slab construction, floating slabs are proven to be the most suited and cost-effective. The steps involved in the construction of a floating slab are:

1) Excavation Of The Site

It is the initial preparation of any construction. At first, the selected area is cleared and then excavated as per plan.

Making a drainage channel in the sides for water to drain out through the gravel base is also a part of this process.

Water will be removed from the concrete slab foundation by sealing the trench with geotextile and gravel, as shown below.

2) Laying Gravel Base For Drainage

Here a gravel-based layer is laid over the area for drainage of unwanted water.

3) Providing Slab Reinforcement

For the casting process, the slab mold is placed. Reinforcing bars are provided in accordance with the slab’s dimensions and specifications in order to strengthen the structure.

4) Casting Of Floating Slab

The slab formwork is filled with concrete. Depending on the area and workmanship, it is compacted by hand or by a mechanical vibrator.

To make the slab fully productive, it must be well compacted. Curing must take place over a period of nearly 2 to 3 days.

Differences Between Monolithic Slab Vs Floating Slab

Monolithic Slab Vs Floating Slab
Monolithic Slab Vs Floating Slab

Monolithic Slab Vs Floating Slab

Particulars Monolithic Slab Floating Slab
ApplicationsA monolithic slab is the best option for the construction of sub-division communities where the ground is levelled and soil is evenly distributed and densely compacted. It is used to build sheds, manufacturing workplaces, extra rooms, garages, and other structures.
Cost of constructionBecause the concrete is poured all at once in a Monolithic Slab, the construction time is substantially faster and labour expenses are lower. Due to the substantial excavation, concrete, and manpower required for strip footing and frost wall construction, the cost of a Floating Slab is higher.
Possibility of crackingFlat ground is ideal for Monolithic Slab foundations. If the ground is not flat, a large amount of fill dirt is used to level it off; however, if the earth is not properly compacted, this can lead to cracking issues over time. Around the peripheral walls and other large load-bearing places, the Monolithic Slab is prone to cracking. There is no possibility of cracking here until the soil has limited stability or as normal water on the subsurface. Because floating slabs are the concrete slabs that are established over the ground without any kind of anchoring. It is simply a plate that is laid over water with no kind of connection between them.
Suitable area for constructionIt is suitable for the ground where complete elevations are similar and there is an extremely small slope. It is not suitable for floodplain areas. The floating slabs are well suited to areas where there is a risk of movement in the ground layer, owing to high moisture content. It is suitable for floodplain areas.
ThicknessIn most cases, the footings for these foundations will only extend 12 inches from the base to the floor, and the foundation will be only four inches thick. Here around the edge of the slab concrete forms a beam that is 2 feet deep. The slab’s thickness varies between 4 and 6 inches.
Internal heatingWhen Floating Slabs are installed in a building, radiant floor heat can be used to provide comfort and even heating.Here, during cold weather, a layer of insulation can be added surrounding the foundation that will provide internal heating. This layer will keep the structure safe from freezing and thawing.
Disaster resistanceMonolithic slab gives a disaster-resisting structure. It is stronger against the horizontal forces of earthquakes and cyclones etc as compared to traditional buildings. It is not suitable for earthquake-prone areas, but it is a decent solution when it comes to the expansion of houses.
Suitable region for constructionSuitable for hot climate areas.The floating slab has widespread usage in the cold region construction as it avoids seepage of moisture and frosting.
Durability and qualityExtremely high as compared to ordinary construction.Comparatively low.
Repair and maintenanceComplicated.Easy
TechnologyPrimitive technology.Modern technology. There is no need for any form of bricks, blocks, or plastering work in this technology.


I hope you have now enough knowledge about the difference between monolithic slab vs floating slab. Do you know any other difference between monolithic slab vs floating slab? Let us know in the comments.

Also Read

What Is Floating Column?
Types Of Slabs In Construction
Flat Slab – Advantages & Disadvantages
Difference Between One Way Slab & Two Way Slab

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