Pier and beam foundations are rare to find in new buildings unless they’re built to better withstand flooding or for other structural purposes. When it comes to homes, the concrete slab foundation took over as the primary method for Texas builds in the 20th century. However, many older buildings still stand on the pier and beam (sometimes called “pier and post”) structural design.
The pier and beam method is a reliable one, but over the course of time issues can arise and foundation evaluations (often free of charge) can save property owners and investors from disaster. At Perma-Pier, we provide foundation repair services throughout the state of Texas. We’ve put this post together to help you understand the importance a stable foundation and when you should get your pier and beam foundation evaluated.
#1 Wood and Concrete Aren’t Perfect
Typically, pier and beam foundations consist mostly of wood with either concrete blocks under wooden piers or the piers themselves can be made of concrete. Like other natural materials, wood and concrete are susceptible to wear and vulnerability to the elements.
So, while the suspended foundation may be less vulnerable to flooding, excess water and weather-related damage can still cause significant problems for a pier and beam foundation over time. Wood will rot if too moist for too long and concrete is porous – allowing for water to cause premature degradation.
That said, buildings tend to benefit most from a steel pier foundation because of the long-term integrity and elemental resistance steel brings to the structure.
#2 Ensure Structural Integrity for the Future
Another reason to have your foundation evaluated: catching problems before they become problems. Foundation experts are often part of a team of engineers whose job it is to understand and test the influences on a building’s structural integrity.
Whether you’re responsible for a residential or a commercial building, scheduling foundation evaluations every few years can help you protect the long-term investments made into the property.
#3 Issues Can Sometimes Hide
In some ways, the nature of a pier and beam foundation can make it easier to spot issues when they arise. However, that doesn’t mean compromised weight-bearing or material cracks aren’t hidden from the naked eye. That shouldn’t give you a cause for concern, especially in a newer home, but know that a quick DIY gander around your building isn’t the best approach. There are simply too many factors at play.
Unhealthy or Shrink-and-Swell Soil
Among the issues that may be difficult to notice on your own are those that come from expansive or unhealthy soil. When soil shrinks and expands, it can add stress to the piers and cause cracking both above and underneath the surface. In other words, if the soil is the culprit of a bad foundation, it’s possible you won’t even see the damage (though, other signs may be apparent).
#4 Your Property Deserves a Bit of TLC
It can be easy to take a property for granted. Often, we don’t think of what’s underneath our feet until it’s too late. But like a plant, your building foundation requires special attention and care to remain strong. That includes implementing adequate drainage and landscaping systems, moisture and temperature control, and, of course, routine evaluations.
#5 Your Foundation Problems May Not Be as Bad as You Think
Another reason to get an evaluation: peace of mind. You may be noticing sunken floors, cracks, or doors that stick. While these can be signs that you have foundation problems, you won’t know until you bring in an expert.
Sometimes evaluations lead to much-needed repairs, sometimes they’re simply an assessment to help property owners better understand the current needs of their structure. Until you know for sure, signs of damage will do more to worry you than anything else.
Thoughtful & Communicative Foundation Repair Services
At Perma-Pier, we want you to feel secure about your building’s foundation. Our repair professionals consist of a team of engineers who are dedicated to thorough evaluation and repair testing for foundations of all types. So, whether you have a concrete slab or pier and beam structure, we’re happy to have a look – and for no charge.