Understanding Pier and Beam Foundations

A pier and beam foundation, also called a crawl space or post-and-beam, is a type of foundation found in many older homes. Pier and beam foundations have advantages, but they can be susceptible to serious problems such as cracking, seepage, unevenness, and mold due to moisture. Further, homeowners with crawl spaces often experience sinking from pier rot. Intech Anchoring offers viable solutions to these problems, but it is first imperative to determine the probable cause of the damage before choosing a course of action.

Causes of Pier and Beam Foundation Problems:

  • Poor Drainage: Insufficient drainage can leave the foundation more prone to cracking and the growth of mold. Drainage can cause unwanted moisture when directed toward the basement, which can be caused by misdirected garden and lawn watering.
  • Soil Problems: Moisture retention within the soil can cause sheetrock cracking, an unevenness in the basement floor, and seepage into the basement area through the foundation walls.
  • Original Construction Problems: Pressure over time can cause old cedar piers to rot through. If rotting occurs, sinking can follow and cause severe degradation to the foundation.

Once the cause(s) of pier and beam foundation deterioration have been determined, a solution can be selected and implemented.

Primary Solutions to Pier and Beam Foundation Problems

  • Foundation Shoring – Reinforcing the foundation with timber piers.
  • Foundation Strengthening – Supporting the foundation with concrete columns.

Pier and Beam vs. Slab Foundation

Homeowners and potential buyers will benefit from an understanding of various foundation types. Two common types are pier and beam foundations and slab foundations, which both offer varying advantages and disadvantages. Being informed with foundation facts can help potential home buyers make better purchase decisions and help existing homeowners handle repairs
A pier and beam foundation consists of a concrete beam supporting exterior walls of the home and interior support beams (piers) that support the floor joists.

Pier and beam advantages:

  • Easy repair of utilities and wiring
  • Ability to add extra insulation simply
  • Less expensive to repair

Pier and beam disadvantages:

  • Longer construction duration
  • Greater susceptibility to bugs and rodents
  • Expensive flooring
  • Likelihood of frozen pipes and drainage problems

Comparatively, a slab foundation, or “slab on grade,” consists of a large slab of concrete poured over a base of gravel and rebar with a plastic moisture barrier.

Slab foundation advantages:

  • Less expensive construction
  • Infrequency of bugs, rodents, and moisture leakage
  • Dynamic flooring options
  • Better resistance to frozen pipes

Slab foundation disadvantages:

  • Cumbersome repair of plumbing and gas lines
  • Greater chance of cracking
  • Expensive repairs
  • No basement

Trust Foundation Expert Intech Anchoring

Intech Anchoring offers many methods of underpinning/piering that can solve the problems attached to pier and beam foundations. Steel underpinning, helical piers and resistance piers are among the reliable solutions offered by Intech Anchoring. The cost of these repairs can vary depending on the severity of foundation disrepair. Intech Anchoring can provide a free estimate for your needs.
To obtain your free estimate, contact a skilled, experienced Intech Anchoring installer near you! 734-432-5111