Pier failure in pier and beam house foundations can cause extensive problems. One of the most common types of pier failure in a Pier and Beam house is when the pier is no longer under the beam. When a pier and beam home has a foundation problem, the solution can also include attention to the drainage of the home. Foundation repair may still be needed, but to help prevent foundation problems in the future, a drainage solution may also be needed.
The picture here shows a robust tubular concrete pier that is no longer supporting a beam. How can that happen? The foundation construction had piers placed every 6 to 8 feet under the beam. What caused the pier to fail and in fact to move?
Atop the pier is a metal termite shield, which is now lodged between the side of a beam and a concrete pier.
The white specs atop the soil are salts. These accumulate as the soils goes through wet and dry cycles.
The problem that we see is common to pier and beam houses built on expansive clay soils. When water accumulates or passes under a house, the soil expands and causes the pier to heave. During the drying cycle the pier drops. The up and down movement is not without some lateral movement. The problem in the picture above probably took a decade to occur. The pier is not supporting the beam.
Two things must be done to solve pier movement under this pier and beam house:
- Stop moisture intrusion – the soil under a pier and beam house should have zero moisture content.
- In the example shown here, a new pad and block system will need to be installed to support the beam.
At Granite Foundation Repair, over half of the pier and beam problems that we repair could be fixed by stopping moisture accumulation under a house. Corrective measures may include exterior drainage correction as well as the addition of large vents under the house.