If you’re searching for “pier and beam foundation repair,” this is the article for you. You’ll learn what pier and beam foundations are, their different types, how they’re repaired, and why these types of foundations fail. If your home has a pier and beam foundation, this information will tell you when it’s time to call the experts and learn what solutions they’ll use to repair your home.
What Are Pier And Beam Foundations?
A pier and beam foundation is made up of two parts: piers and beams. The piers (also called piles) transfer the weight of your home into the soil below it. The beams rest on top of the piers and connect them together. The piers lift your home off the ground, creating a crawl space below your first floor. That’s why pier and beam foundations can also be called crawl space foundations.
These foundations are commonly found in coastal regions that experience rising tides or when it’s too difficult to build a slab or basement foundation. Here are a few other reasons pier and beam foundations are used.
- If there’s an extensive root system in the soil.
- If there’s a layer of decomposed rocks close to the surface.
- If there’s a lot of stiff clay in the soil.
- If your home is made from timber or logs.
- If your home is built on a slope.
- If the soil has a low water-bearing capacity (how much water can saturate the soil).
Types Of Pier And Beam Foundations
Here are just three of the most common pier and beam foundations built today.
- Concrete (masonry) piers – These solid concrete piers depend on the level of load-bearing strata (strong enough soil). If solid soil isn’t too deep below the surface, homebuilders choose concrete piers.
- Drilled caissons – Also called drilled piers because of their shape, drilled caissons are made of concrete and rebar. Supported by steel cages or other reinforcements, these piers can be drilled deep into the soil until they reach bedrock, providing a stable base for larger structures.
- Concrete blocks – Pier and beam foundations can also be made of just cinder blocks and cement.
What Is Pier And Beam Foundation Repair?
Here are a few different ways professionals repair pier and beam foundations.
- Reshimming – Sometimes, the beams, or the joists that rest on the beams, come loose or experience some movement. Reshimming is when small pieces of wood are wedged and installed between the piers and beams to fill any gaps.
- Repairing or adding new piers – The piers that support your foundation can degrade over time and may need to be rebuilt. Or, more piers may need to be added to support and distribute the weight of your home evenly.
- Replacing beams – Wooden beams and the joists that rest of them can become susceptible to mold, dry rot, or wet rot. Foundation repair professionals will have to detach non-affected beams in order to replace the rotted ones. Experts will need to support your home while the beams are being replaced.
- Crawl space jacks – Foundation repair professionals can use steel support jacks to lift weak joists or beams back into place.
- Underpinning – Crawl space/pier and beam foundations are open to settlement, the same as slabs and full basements. Depending on the access and weight above the foundation, experts can use either push piers or helical piers to lift your sinking crawl space back to the maximum practical level (the amount of lift needed before the movement causes any damage to your home).
What Are Some Common Footing Problems With Piers?
Pier and beam foundations aren’t perfect. Sometimes, pier and beam foundations experience sagging, sloping, or buckling floors. These types of problems need to be repaired fast before the issues start to affect the rest of your home. A damaged pier and beam foundation can lead to sticking windows or doors, drywall cracks, and foundation cracks.
How Long Does A Pier And Beam Foundation Last?
Pier and beam foundations usually last around 75 years before needing any repairs or inspection. However, the overall lifespan of the foundation depends on the soil it’s built on, the type of material it’s made of, and the area it was built in (low or high water tables)
How Deep Are Pier And Beam Foundations?
The piers used in these foundations are usually five to six feet deep below the surface. This can change if a soil test discovers the dirt close to the surface isn’t strong enough to bear the weight of your home. Sometimes, the piers need to reach deep below your surface until they find load-bearing strata.
Who Offers Pier And Beam Foundation Repair Near Me?
If your home has a pier and beam foundation and you need urgent repairs, call The Real Seal! Since 2011, we’ve been repairing and waterproofing all types of foundations: basements, slabs, and crawl spaces. We also offer concrete leveling, foundation waterproofing, and more. Call today for your free inspection and estimate.