Pier and beam i Texas.




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Although pier and beam foundations have dropped in popularity over the years there are still many crawl space foundations in north Texas. There remains many crawl space home dating back a hundred years or more as well as quite a few modern homes that have been been built over the last twenty to thirty years. The problem is that  crawl space construction has evolved over the years and "one repair procedure fits all" does not work anymore, in fact it never did.  There have been changes in design and with  the materials that have been used. This includes: from the type of piers used to  support the floor to the type of materials used for the perimeter support. The one constants seem to be the fact that the soils support the perimeter and the underfloor piers, and if the soils shift the foundation shifts and cracks appear, and the floor tends to become uneven. Add to that moisture problems in the crawl space and around the perimeter, venting and under floor wood deterioration to mention a few of the problems that must be dealt with when foundation problems become evident..

What has seemed to have happened is that many may claim to know how to deal with pier and beam movement  but fewer and fewer companies or individuals really understand, how to work on, or want to work on crawl space construction. Those that do work on them often don't address the actual problem... most anyone can stick a jack under a floor, jack it up and slip some support between the ground and the wood under the floor, and this can show a temporary improvement. But it takes years of experience to understand the cause and effects of the many different types of crawl space construction and the many aspects of getting it right.. They must understand the soils, the moisture, the type of floor supports,the type of perimeter supports, the amount of venting required, the best way to access,and much more about properly repairing a failed pier and beam foundation. And most just don't do it right!

Foundation repair on pier and beam

Typical pier and beam foundations.

Pier and beam foundations come in many flavors.

  • Floor above ground level 
  • Hole in ground under floor 
  • Concrete perimeter beam 
  • No perimeter but beam supported by either concrete or wood posts 
  • Floor low to ground  
  • Floor high above ground

Advantages of crawl space is the ability to get to utilities for service under the floor.

Tool Tip

Pier and beam construction does present its own set of problems including proper ventilation, keeping the crawlspace dry by using extra drainage precautions, possibility of wood rot and mold, as well as,  keeping the perimeter beam stable.

Besides it being very unpleasant in most crawl spaces to view the problems, it is usually difficult getting materials into the crawlspace and often necessitates  cutting holes in the floor to bring in materials and perform the repairs. This has caused the majority of North Texas foundation repair companies to either discontinue working on pier and beams, charging very high prices for the inconvenience or handling it in a less than competent way.

Some of the more common problems found in crawl space construction:

  • Lack of ventilation (not enough or to small vents)
  • Plumbing leaks
  • Drainage issues
  • Wet soil
  • Rotten wood
  • Support wood touching soil
  • No crawlspace entry
  • Mold
  • Rust and deterioration on metal bracing
  • Piers not supporting beams
  • Piers rolling
  • Wood shims 
  • Lack of adequate space for utilities to be serviced