Post-Tension Foundation: Getting to the bottom of how it works

by Craig Powell on May 11, 2011

Post-tension cables in a grid pattern
Before the concrete foundation system for a home or community is determined, a certified soil engineer takes random samples of the soil from throughout the community. After carefully examining and testing the contents of the soil, the engineer suggests the type of foundation and slab system that is most appropriate for that community.

At Shea Homes, we always meet or exceed the soil engineers’ recommendations.  For example, if the soil engineer recommends a full monolithic of slab system, we often decide to use a post tension slab system. Post tension slab systems are generally of higher strength than other slab systems.  It’s our commitment to ensure that your house is built on a high quality foundation and slab system that will serve you for a lifetime.

We are constantly seeking to advance our structural designs to provide superior quality homes.  Since 1998, Shea has primarily built post tension slab systems, a method proven to meet engineering standards and exceed code.

In a post tension slab system, steel cables are criss-crossed throughout the foundation area before the concrete is poured. Several days after the concrete has been poured and begins to cure, the cables are “tensioned” to strengthen the slab, making it even more solid than it would normally be.

While traditional re-bar helps hold the foundation together to minimize cracks, the cable tension grid provides active reinforcement to the slab to help eliminate nearly all concrete cracks.

Occasionally, we still use a full mono foundation in some of our communities (as determined best by the soil engineer).  However, no matter what technique we use, we take great care to inspect the workmanship every step of the way. We know how important it is to leave nothing to chance or error when it comes to something as critical as the foundation of your home.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Concrete Pumps August 30, 2011 at 10:31 am

Sounds like quality work done by your crews. I have not heard of post tension slabs before. The way it is described here, it makes sense that it would be stronger. Would this be something that could be done in a footing or stem wall to or does it just make sense in slabs? Thanks for the info. Dave


Terry March 20, 2015 at 8:38 am

I was wondering if you could answer the following question. I reside in trilogy in Gilbert AZ. I notice that I need a termite treatment. The question is my home a post tension home or a slab?
Thank You.


Sheri Troy March 24, 2015 at 8:47 am

Hello Terry,

I’m happy to provide you with the telephone number to the Trilogy customer service department, and they can assist with your question. You may reach the customer service department Monday-Friday from 7am-4pm AZ time at: 1-866-535-9989. Thank you.


Meridith Doucette March 24, 2015 at 10:32 am

Hi Terry,
Please contact our customer service department at 866-535-9989. Thank you.


Brian Axford July 5, 2015 at 6:56 pm

I am purchasing a Shea home built in 2001 located at 2801 Rancho Rio Chico Carlsbad CA 92009 and look to do some future improvements to the home. Before I do I need to know if it was built with a post-tension slab and to find any other information about the home that could help. I would appreciate any information you can provide.

Cheers, Brian


Sheri Troy July 8, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Hello Brian,

Please contact the Customer Service Department at: 800-395-5922. Thank you.


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