Helpful Tips for Maintaining and Repairing Your Pier and Beam Foundation
Pier and beam foundations are one of the oldest types of foundations, usually built before the 1960s. In this type of foundation, the house floor is raised about 18 inches off the ground, supported by concrete piers or blocks.
Pier-and-beam foundations were much more common 60 years ago than they are today. Most homes today are built on modern concrete structures because of their low cost and efficient design. But in many parts of the U.S., post and beam foundations are necessary, especially in areas that receive heavy rains, seasonal moisture, and flooding.
Pier and beam foundations have several benefits: easy access to plumbing and electrical systems under the house, flood protection, and lower energy costs in the hot summer due to better airflow underneath.
While maintenance is key to keeping your foundation healthy no matter the type, post-and-beam homes present unique challenges that homeowners should know to have a solid, beneficial foundation.
Sometimes, foundation repair may be necessary on a post and beam property. The foundation repair process used varies depending on the foundation repair company doing the work.
The most common problems with pier and beam foundations include:
- Cracked exterior piers. Door frames can be lost because the ports have given way or the beams are shifting. This is a typical drawback of these foundations, and the problem is regularly solved by installing new shims and shafts. One solution: replace the exterior piers.
- Sinking floors and shifting beams. When your structure falls or settles, all sorts of issues arise. One solution: install shims, piers, and foundation supports.
- Concrete piers are collapsing. This will make the foundation uneven and cause cracks in the beams and footing. One solution: adjust the concrete piers to stabilize their structure.
- Skewed piers and construction problems. This can contribute to foundation failure because it can cause your joists to move. A good solution: stabilize all foundation piers.
- Poor construction. Unfortunately, this problem is pretty common in column and beam structures. A solution: Raise the foundation and beams.
- Mold and mildew in joists. This is a prevalent form of problem that ruins wood joists and beams. One solution: remove the wood members and replace them. Shims will also be needed in these buildings.
- A wet crawl space. Pier and beam houses often have moisture problems. When complications like this arise, one solution: perform foundation drainage correction service.
- Your basement is probably not something you regularly check; however, looking under your home periodically is essential. First, look at the ground underneath for several months; if it seems consistently damp, you may want to consider installing a heavy-duty liner and dehumidifier. This may be necessary for locations that experience a lot of moisture. Similarly, if your crawlspace looks consistently dry, especially in the hot summer months or during a drought, it is essential to water your foundation. The goal is to keep it dry enough so that mold and mildew cannot grow but not too dry so that the soil shrinks in the hottest months.