What are Pier and Beam Foundations?

By | August 17, 2016

When homes are located near large bodies of water, it is not uncommon for them to have a different type of foundation than homes that are more inland. Most inland homes have traditional concrete foundations. Homes that are near the water are in greater danger of being flooded, so they often sit on raised foundations, such as pier and beam foundations. The base of these foundations is composed of concrete squares known as footers, which are buried a minimum of one foot deep. The depth will depend on the frost depth. On top of the footer is a concrete or brick beam, and above these piers are beams made from pressure treated wood.

Once the wood beams are in place, floor joists are placed across them, followed by a wood floor. This creates three levels of materials between the floor and the soil beneath the home. In addition to offering flood protection, this also provides a crawlspace that is 18 to 21 inches in height. This allows fresh air to flow, which will help prevent mold and mildew. In areas where it can be quite wet, it is recommended that there be at least this much space between the beams and the soil.

Each wood beam should be at least four by six inches, and the footer should cover as much space as possible. The larger the area, the stronger the foundation will be because the footer can handle more weight and not sink into the ground. When sinking happens, it can lead to sagging floors, cracked dry wall, and other serious problems. It is important to make sure that when these foundations are constructed, they are built with quality products to avoid issues later on.

Sometimes, these foundations have problems and require repairs that vary greatly from the repairs performed on other types of foundations. This is something that should only be done by a professional contractor who is experienced in working with pier and beam foundations. A home is often one of the biggest investments people make, and it is important to make sure the foundation is always in tip-top condition. For information about these foundations and repair work, visit www.bluechipfoundations.com/pier-beam-foundation-repair/.

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