If you live in an older house built before the 50s, it probably has a pier and beam foundation. They were a standard option for many homes until people started using concrete slabs as the most affordable option. But they are still visible in many older homes, especially in areas that are prone to floods.
One of the limitations of these foundations is that they wear out after some time. This could lead to various issues with your home’s structure.
Luckily, you can permanently repair them and have a strong foundation yet again on your house. This article explores various pier and beam foundation repair methods that can help you get the best results.
Continue reading to know more.
Introduction to Pier and Beam Foundation
Before we look into the methods, what is a pier and beam foundation? It is crucial that we establish this before we dive deeper into the available methods.
Pier and beam are common foundations popular during the post-WWII period. The foundation is made from stone, brick, concrete pier, and wooden beams, unlike slab-on-grade foundations.
The two components of these foundations are extremely important as they support the home’s weight. Thus, they must be installed in a specific manner that assures durability and strength.
One feature differentiating them from traditional foundations is that pier and beam foundations are set above the ground level. Most are suspended about 24 inches from the ground, making them very important in wet areas.
To some, they are a crawl space, although it might not be easy to access them in certain situations. This could make repairing them a bit more challenging.
4 Primary Pier and Beam Foundation Repair Methods
Among the advantages of pier and beam foundations is that you can DIY repairs if you know what to do. However, it is not always easy accessing the repair areas. Sometimes contractors will easily pass through and fix the issues, making it less expensive. But in some conditions, these issues come with a certain level of difficulty. You need to hire someone with the right experience and tools to handle such jobs.
There are four main methods of repairing the foundation. We have discussed them below.
Most people know about reshimming because it could be the easiest and most economical way of dealing with issues on these foundations. The method involves making small but frequent adjustments to handle snugness in the foundation.
No matter how hard you set your foundation, sometimes things just get loose. The world is always moving and shifting, putting the same strain on the foundation.
If you have ever fixed crawl spaces, you know what we are talking about here. However, it is only possible if your home has been properly kept in great condition. The idea is to ensure all the support materials are in place at all times to support your house.
As the name suggests, this method involves using shims, small wedged wooden pieces pounded between the foundation materials. They fill out any spaces that may cause issues within the foundation.
Experts recommend that you refill the gaps between the sill and settled support piers of your home’s foundation at least once every three to five years. This will ensure the foundations stays in the best conditions and avoid more serious issues.
Call foundation repair experts, who will help you set up your foundation properly. Depending on the labor, the project can take less than a day and cost $1,200 to 1,800. This price may seem a lot, but it’s worth it if you consider the potential long-term effects.
Adding Pier Stacks
When interior piers are affected, you will need a more intense approach to fix them. This happens mostly when the blocks degrade or fall out of line. Or perhaps there is not enough space to hold the house’s weight.
The best approach for such is rebuilding. A contractor may choose to add more piers to ensure more even support, distributing the weight appropriately.
Or, the contractor may simply repair the piers that may have been damaged over time. It is all about giving more strength to the foundation and giving your home many more years.
This method is more complex than reshimming and can take two or more days, depending on your home size. It can cost anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000. Your pier will be restored to the best working conditions.
When there are even more severe issues with your foundation, the two methods above may not work. A good approach would be replacing the wood.
This method is necessary if the shaker sill and floor joints are rotten, broken, warped, or worn out. Or when there, not enough support was constructed in the foundation from the beginning. It will need replacement.
Replacing wood under the home is always tricky, considering every piece is connected to another. Removing one section should be done with extreme care and precision.
Due to its complexity, replacing foundation wood is even more expensive. The job will take about a week or so, cost from $10,000 and extend beyond $20,000.
The home’s interior support is often the most affected because they protect the rest of the foundation from elements. Also, many contractors are underbuilt and don’t give them enough support.
But that is not the only area that can be affected. The perimeter support beam can also be damaged due to settlement and weight distribution issues.
The solution is bringing back the perimeter beam to the original position. This method will require the use of drilled bell-bottom piers or concrete piling to ensure proper support. This is an even more detailed repair that requires a highly experienced team.
Choosing the right repair method for your home is crucial. Depending on the home’s weight, some methods may work better than others, giving your home many more years of stability.
Your choice depends on the support needed and the price. And the time taken to finish the project will depend on the method used. Most importantly, always remember to hire the most competent team for the job.
From prevention to repair, learn how to tackle foundation problems effectively. Our comprehensive guide offers insights on identifying early signs, implementing preventive measures, and executing timely repairs. Take control of your foundation’s health today!