Caring For a Pier and Beam Foundation

January 25, 2014 Melanie Chaney

Before the 1960s, one of the most popular types of home foundations was the pier and beam. In fact, it’s still prominent in many of historic neighborhoods and cottage districts throughout Texas. While they’re not used as commonly today, pier-and-beam foundations do have some advantages over slabs, mainly because of the crawl space.

Advantages of Pier and Beam Foundations

  • Easy access to mechanical issues such as plumbing or electricity
  • If well-crafted, pier-and-beam foundations tend to have fewer issues and less expensive repairs than slab foundations
  • Earlier detection of termite damage since the insects must navigate through the crawl space to reach the wood

Disadvantages of Pier and Beam Foundations

While the crawl spaces found in pier-and-beam foundations do offer the above advantages, they’re not without problems. The most common problems are moisture-related. With heavy rains in Texas, water can accumulate under the house and, unless there is sufficient drainage, cause all sorts of issues that weaken and sink the foundation over time. Other common problems with pier-and-beam foundations are simply due to design and pier placement. If the beams are not properly spaced, the weight becomes too heavy and sagging occurs. Additional crawl space concerns include:

  • Mold
  • Higher electricity bills due to poor ventilation
  • Rotting wood
  • Creaking floors
  • Gaps between the posts and beams, weakening the support

Maintaining Your Pier and Beam Foundation

These problems are why it’s essential to properly care for pier-and-beam foundations. How? Baird Foundation Repair recommends CleanSpace® Vapor Barrier crawl space encapsulation. This is a four-step process that can address the most common crawl space issues by isolating the home from the earth. The process consists of:

  • Installing an interior drainage system to handle groundwater and prevent moisture buildup
  • Sealing up all the crawl space walls and floors
  • Sealing off any air leaks
  • Installing a dehumidifier to reduce the opportunity for mold growth

Signs Your Foundation Needs Repair

If damage is already present, there are solutions for repairing pier-and-beam foundations that are relatively fast, cost effective (financing available) and fix the problem permanently. For instance, at Baird Foundation Repair, we replace any rotting or sinking posts with 10-inch reinforced steel concrete posts. These weather-resistant posts are installed at a deeper soil level for secure stabilization.

To determine which solution is right for your home’s foundation, a professional should assess the type and degree of damage, the size and accessibility of the crawl space, and the area in which the damage is occurring. Repairs to pier-and-beam foundations are one of our specialties. To schedule your free quote, call or e-mail us today! We proudly serve San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston, Austin, and surrounding areas.

CleanSpace , cracks , creaking floors , foundation repair , gaps , mold , rotting wood