When our custom construction company builds additions, concrete block is our foundation of choice. All of the plans we bid on (most of which include full basements) specify block rather than poured foundations. And to keep our lives simple, we don't subcontract the work — we do it ourselves.

Such was the case with a two-story addition that we began building last year. Measuring approximately 15 feet by 26 feet, the addition expanded the home's existing kitchen, added a new entry and family room on the first floor, and created space for a new master bedroom suite above. With easy outside access through a bulkhead door and 8 inches...

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