Pier and Beam Foundation Pros and Cons

In most of the South, including the Dallas metro area, there are two popular styles of foundations. Slab foundations are simply a solid concrete surface on which the house sits. Pier and beam foundations are a bit more complex. They feature piers of rebar and concrete that are anchored deep in the ground. Beams then connect the various piers and distribute the weight of the house. Whether you’re planning on building a house, in the market for a home, or make a living selling homes, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of pier and beam foundation design. Here’s a breakdown from the experts at Align Foundation Repair:

Pier and Beam Foundation Advantages

  • Stability Over Time: One of the main pier and beam foundation benefits is stability over time on loose soil. If you’re building on soft ground, or on soil that expands and contracts due to moisture, a slab foundation may shift. Since pier and beam designs are similar to building on stilts, they allow for a crawl space between the ground and your home. This means there will be little shift in your foundation as the years go by.
  • Easy Access to Utilities: Another perk of the crawl space between your home and the earth is easier access to utilities. If you want to add a bathroom, or rewire cable or electricity it will be a breeze with a pier and beam foundation.
  • Less Likely to Flood: Since pier and beam foundations are usually elevated approximately 2’ off the ground, they are less prone to minor or moderate flooding. If you live in a flood prone area, you may want to choose to build your home with a pier and beam foundation for this reason alone.

Pier and Beam Foundation Disadvantages

  • Vermin: Unwanted guests may try to make their home in the crawl space created by a pier and beam foundation. A lattice around your foundation can be an attractive way to keep larger animals out. Should you have an insect infestation, it’s best to call a professional exterminator.
  • Mold and Mildew: Moisture underneath a pier and beam foundation house can lead to mold and mildew buildups. This can cause an unpleasant odor in your home.
  • Creaky Floors: Floors built on pier and beam foundations are more likely to creak as you move around your home. While some noise is normal, it can be a sign of a larger problem.

If something seems off with your foundation, don’t hesitate to call a pro. Contact the pier and beam specialists at Align Foundation Repair today, and make sure your foundation stays strong for many years to come.

Drilled Pier for Home Foundation

Pier and Beam Foundation Problems

Pier and beam foundations are commonplace in the North Texas, area due to the construction generally working well for the soil conditions in the region. Nevertheless, the foundation isn’t without its problems, especially when exposed to weather and temperature extremes. We’ll highlight some of the common pier and beam foundation issues and what homeowners can do about it.

The Common Issues at a Glance

Water can cause movement of both interior and exterior areas. Too much water in the soil can cause the piers to sink. This can also cause piers to tilt, resulting in beam destabilization if one pier sags deeper than another. In turn, this causes components like the door and window to get out of kilter and not open or shut properly.

With a moist environment also comes a flooded crawlspace. The moisture can also make its way into the joists and beams, setting the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. In turn, this leads to wood rot. Moldy wood is also a festering ground for termites.

Another issue is shim failure, which is often due to poor construction and use of inferior materials, such as plywood or sheet-rock. Steel shims are far sturdier.

Signs of a Damaged Pier and Beam Foundation

The signs are similar to that of other foundational issues. This includes cracks where the wall and ceiling meet. You may also notice cracks in areas with concrete, such as garage and basement floors. If the concrete is chipping or flaking, then that may be another symptom. This is especially the case of older homes, which often contain inferior concrete made from salty sand.

How to Prevent Pier and Beam Foundation Problems

It’s apparent that water is a prime attributor of pier and beam issues. Prevention, therefore, revolves mainly around water buildup prevention and watering during dry times.

• Clean the gutters and clear it of leaves, dirt, and other debris.
• Redirect the downspout. As a general rule, the spout should be at least 5-feet away from the base of the house.
• Consider a French drain system. We especially recommend this if your home is located on the downward portion of a slope that makes it susceptible to pooling water.

We Correct Pier and Beam Issues

Contact Align Foundation Repair if you notice any of the symptoms above. Pier and Beam foundation problems require immediate remediation. Letting the problem exacerbate can result in greater damage to the home.