Does your home have a pier and beam foundation?
It’s one of the oldest types of home foundations. Although it is less common today, there are still many homes built on this foundation.
What is the main difference from concrete slabs?
Pier and beam foundations have crawl spaces. This happens as the floor is elevated off the ground with the help of concrete blocks or piers. It allows for easier access to electrical systems and plumbing, and there’s additional protection from flooding.
Every substructure needs attention to remain in good shape. In this article, you’ll learn about the best tips to maintain your foundation. First, however, let’s take a look at the overall pros and cons of pier and beam foundation:
Pros of pier and beam foundations:
- Crawl spaces allow for easy installation and repair of electrical systems and plumbing. There’s no need to crack open any concrete floors.
- Easier to spot termite activity.
- Elevation protects the house from floods and excess moisture.
- Energy savings because there’s more insulation under the house.
- Potentially less expensive repairs.
Cons of pier and beam foundations:
- Crawl space might harbor bugs and rodents.
- Creaking and droopy floors from foundation problems.
- Higher initial costs as slab structures are cheaper.
- Moisture issues due to rainwater entering the crawl space.
- Questionable ventilation quality.
- Wood can start rotting or enabling mold growth.
How to keep my pier and beam foundation healthy?
In the following section, you’ll learn how to keep the pier and beam foundation in perfect shape.
Maintain the moisture levels
Do you want your foundation to stay healthy for a long time?
Keeping the moisture levels in check is essential. Areas under the foundation and around the perimeter are especially important. Water pooling will first cause piers to rise. When the crawl space dries out, the piers will drop. This leads to humps and depressions in the floor.
High humidity levels may cause moisture buildup under the home. You need excellent ventilation to avoid damage, as well as good drainage to assure there is no pooling of water under the house.
Excessive moisture creates a great environment for mold and rotting. They may spread all over the foundation. In turn, this raises the risk of significant damage and potentially even pose health risks.
Mold remediation could come with a high price tag. It’s better to check the crawl space regularly for any sudden changes. Some owners use prevention techniques, such as chemical agents against mold growth.
Check for any foundation damage
You’ll notice foundation damage when you know what to look for.
Here are the typical signs of foundation damage:
- Corner cracks
- Cracked tile
- Damaged drywall or sheetrock
- Gaps in doors, windows, and wooden floors
- Sagging floors
- Sticky doors and windows
- Tilting chimney
Maintain the gutters
Gutters are your best bet for keeping moisture levels in check. Blocked and dirty gutters might lead to water finding its way underneath the foundation.
Many experts recommend gutter extensions as it can be very beneficial. Always extend the gutters more than five feet away from the foundation. This way, the drained water can’t directly reach the surrounding soil of your home.
Keep the water away from the crawl space
In areas with clay soil, water can be a large problem if it enters your home’s crawl space. It can start to accumulate due to humid air or because of small cracks in the perimeter grade beam. It will also accumulate if there is not adequate drainage away from the foundation.
Soft soil allows the piers to settle. As time passes, this process will damage the walls costing you a lot of money to repair.
How to carry out crawl space inspections?
Water isn’t the only thing you should check the crawl space for. There are other signs that indicate foundation issues.
Inspect your crawl space every six months. Check for any movements.
The pier and beam arrangement make the inspection quite easy. You need to see how the post connects to the beam. If the pier shifts position under the beam, it’s a clear sign of unwanted structural movement.
Should you find any problems in the crawl space, it’s important to get professional help. Otherwise, the health of your home’s foundation may be in serious danger.
The bottom line: how to keep your pier and beam foundation in shape?
Pier and beam foundations allow easy access for repair and maintenance.
Nevertheless, no matter what type of foundation you may have, it needs care. Proper maintenance can guarantee a longer lifetime.
One of the most important aspects is moisture control. Assure that proper ventilation is provided and use de-humidifiers. Always maintain the gutters on a regular basis. Make sure the gutters extend for more than five feet away from the foundation.
Be on the lookout for typical signs of foundation damage. Door and window gaps, cracked walls, or a tilting chimney.
If you suspect signs of foundation issues act fast because early detection will save you on repair costs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Granite Foundation Repair for a free foundation inspection. Give us a call at 972-412-2171.