Pier and Beam Foundation Repair: How It Works
Think you may need pier and beam foundation repair but unsure of how it really works? At Foundation Repair Pros, we’re breaking it all down for you right now in our latest post!
Worried you might need pier and beam foundation repair?
The structural stability of your pier and beam foundation degrades with age. As a foundation ages, it is more susceptible to environmental stress and design flaws.
The good news?
Pier and beam foundation repair is one of the easier and more affordable foundation repairs. It is much less labor intensive than repairing a concrete foundation.
In this article, we’ll break down pier and beam foundation repair so that you can better understand the causes of your foundation’s damage and the process required to fix it.
The Basic of Pier and Beam Foundation Repair
A pier and beam foundation is a traditional foundation system for homes. Yet, it measures up to modern, concrete foundation when it comes to efficiency and durability.
One great feature of these foundation designs is larger crawlspaces. You can use these crawlspaces to contain plumbing connections. This makes plumbing repairs much easier.
You can also use these large crawlspaces to install central heating systems.
Reasons You Experience Pier and Beam Foundation Problems
A basic understanding of the causes of foundation problems will help you better identify the problem. Then you can approach the situation with the appropriate repair procedure.
The following conditions can affect your foundation and may require pier and beam foundation repair.
Moisture happens. Certain seasons bring major moisture to the soil underneath your foundation. You might notice cracks within the foundation.
If your soil bed contains a high amount of clay, you’re at increased risk for moisture damage. Clay supports increased moisture retention.
Soil expands as it absorbs heavy moisture. This causes your foundation stress. The result is uneven flooring sections, sustained seepage along basement floors, and cracked sheetrock.
It’s a common practice for residential dwellings to contain cedar piers. While durable, cedar piers restrict the footing area of your foundation.
This means your foundation is unable to pass stress to the sub-flooring. Constant compression and rotting underlying soil cause your foundation to sink.
Your foundation will experience more cracking and molding if your drainage system isn’t directed away from your home’s basement or foundation.
Improper drainage directs moisture to your basement area, leading to the lower layers of your foundation. As if this weren’t enough of a problem, this constant flow of water makes proper ventilation impossible.
Signs You Need Pier and Beam Foundation Repair
How do you know if your foundation is falling victim to any of the above problems?
Some signs of a serious problem include:
- Moisture in the crawl space
- Mildew and mold on or around the beams
- Unlevel window sills
- Uneven frames
- Sagging floor
If you observe any of these common clues, it’s time to consider repair. Next, we’ll break down how foundation repair works.
How Pier and Beam Foundation Repair Works
There are a few different types of pier and beam foundation repair. Each is appropriate depending on the root cause of damage. Knowing the process of each helps you to prepare for your impending repair.
When you notice your foundation is unable to handle stress, site shoring is your ‘go to’ repair.
How can you identify this? Cracked patterns concentrated along the base of your walls show your foundation can no longer handle stress.
Shoring refers to the process of introducing more support to your home’s foundation. Your repair will consist of inserting timber piers to increase the load-bearing capacity of your foundation.
These piers will go underneath existing beams in your foundation. They add surface area to the footing area which helps transfer stress into the new piers.
Strengthening The Foundation Itself
Another repair method involves using a sonotube to strengthen your existing foundation. Use a sonotube if your basement shows serious cracking or your floor slopes.
A sonotube is a concrete, hollow column. They’re inserted in aging foundations to even any slopes and add durability to your structure.
Sonotubes come in many sizes. You’ll find them in pre-cut and pre-shaped columns.
Your repairmen will place these columns around the rebar of your foundation’s footing area. Concrete is then poured in to make sure the sonotube is secure.
Underpinning strengthens your foundation weakened by many factors. It reinforces the area underneath the load of your foundation.
Underpinning includes many different practices. Understanding your foundation’s structure and the causes of damage will help you choose the right one.
The traditional mass concrete method is best used for shallow areas. It involves removing weak soil underneath your foundation and replacing it with concrete. This method provides immense strength for any foundation.
Another type of underpinning uses beam and base. This method uses the traditional mass concrete method and incorporates beams to add further support.
Stress is transferred to a concrete beam. This spreads the stress in an even manner, resulting in increased support.
Mini-piled underpinning involves transferring the load of the foundation to the underground soil more than 5-meters deep.
Your repairmen will drive piles encased in steel into pre-drilled holes. They’ll rest on this more secure soil. Pile diameter ranges from 15 to 30 cm and can reach up to 15-meters below ground.
Other examples of Pier and Beam Foundation Repair
We can also help you repair your foundation through the following methods:
- correcting water leaks and drainage issues
- retrofitting rotten or broken beams
- crawl space encapsulation with de-humidification
The Right Repair For You
Your individual solution depends on many factors. These include the extent of existing damage, the cause of damage, and budget.
Understanding the causes of pier and beam foundation damage and the process of repair helps you prepare to undertake the right repair. Do not attempt to undergo a “do it yourself” project when it comes to your home’s structural integrity.
This is a dangerous solution which could harm you and prove ineffective in the long run.
Foundation Repair Pros offers the professional expertise to ensure the safety of your home. We offer cost effective solutions for all your pier and beam foundation repair needs.
Contact us today to take the first steps toward effective foundation repair!
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