If your home has a pier and beam foundation, it’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate it may be time to call a professional for repairs. Some initial signs of foundation issues include:
- Minor cracks in your interior or exterior walls 🏚️
- Creaky or uneven flooring 👞
- Doors or windows struggling to open or close 🪟
In this blog post, we’ll share more of the most common indications that you need pier and beam foundation repair. By being proactive about foundation repair, you can help protect your home against further damage.
When Is a Pier and Beam Foundation Used?
First things first, what is the intended functionality of a pier and beam foundation? A pier and beam foundation is a type of shallow foundation that’s commonly found beneath houses, buildings, decks, porches, and other outdoor structures. It utilizes vertical columns or posts (aka ‘piers’) that support horizontal wood or steel beams to form the base of the structure. This construction method can be an effective choice for structures attached to a home (e.g., a patio or a shed).
Other applications include:
- Strip malls
The staggered beam system allows for better drainage compared to concrete slabs— all while providing solid support for the structure placed on top. All in all, when it comes to selecting a suitable foundation for various types of structures, big and small, the pier and beam approach may be worth considering depending on your soil type.
The Importance of a Pier and Beam Foundation
A pier and beam foundation is one of the strongest forms of foundations a house can have, offering great benefits when it comes to extra space and flexibility. They are constructed by placing posts or piers at critical points from the ground up with joists to support the floors of your house. This allows for more ventilation and access underneath your home, making repairs such as plumbing easier to attend to without having to tear apart walls.
They also allow your house to move slightly with shifting soil over time, greatly reducing potential damage that could be caused by harsh conditions. When taking all benefits into consideration, you can clearly see why a pier and beam foundation is so important when building your new home — providing safety, reliability, and increased peace of mind.
The First Signs of Foundation Trouble
If you have a pier and beam foundation, knowing the early sign of trouble is vital to maintaining the health of your home or business. Some of the biggest signs of foundation issues include:
- Cracks on interior or exterior walls
- Slanting or uneven floors
- Doors and windows sticking
- Walls separating from ceilings or frames
Let’s dig deeper into these early signs so you can know what to watch for and what might be causing them. One big indicator of trouble is if you start seeing cracks in interior or exterior walls around the home, especially near doors and windows. It could also be a sign that something’s up if floors are out of level or become sloped or sagging in certain places, as these can all indicate pier and beam foundation troubles.
If there’s a change in the home’s stability, such as sticking doors or windows, wall separation from ceilings or frames, or walls becoming misaligned, this, too, is cause for concern. No need to panic, though; minor foundation repair is very doable on your own, depending on the severity of the issues. But it’s always best to seek professional help to get things done right.
What Happens When Your Pier and Beam Foundation Is Compromised?
When your pier and beam foundations are compromised, the entire structure of your home can be at risk. In extreme cases, foundation repair might be needed to make sure everything remains safe and sound. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye out for signs that could indicate a potential issue with your pier and beam foundation. What can happen if repairs are neglected?
- More severe issues like visible cracking or leaning walls could occur, putting your family’s safety at risk.
- Over time, water damage is also possible due to compromised drainage systems and uneven gutters.
- Mold and mildew overgrowth in your basement and crawl spaces.
- Damage to windows and doors as their frames become detached or cracked.
- Uneven and creaky floorboards— a costly repair expense.
- In some cases, your home’s value may also be affected.
If you notice any of the previous signs or believe that something is awry with your pier and beam foundation, it’s best to call a professional for an inspection before things get worse.
Pier and Beam Foundation Maintenance Tips
Proper pier and beam foundation maintenance is of the utmost importance to help preserve the integrity of your home. To get the greatest level of protection, experts recommend these maintenance tips:
- Regular inspections for any signs of water damage, warping or sinking.
- Routine pier and beam repairs may also be necessary to replace rotted or broken support beams or pier blocks.
- Regularly check that both pier and beam components are not exposed to extreme weather conditions, as this could compromise their stability.
With proper pier and beam foundation maintenance in place, you can be sure that your home will remain structurally sound for many years to come.
How to Find a Reputable Foundation Contractor
If you’re looking for a foundation contractor, it’s important to do your research. Start by asking family and friends for recommendations or reviews of foundation repair teams. Also, look for foundation contractors with years of experience and a good reputation in the community.
Once you have an idea of available foundation contractors, ask for a quote and inquire about their licensing, insurance, and certifications. Do not base your decision solely on cost— it is essential to hire a foundation contractor who can do the job promptly and correctly! Knowing that your foundation is in the hands of an experienced and reputable team will give you peace of mind that your home foundation is secure.
When to Call a Professional
When you spot any early warning signs of foundation problems, it’s best to call in a professional for help. A pier and beam contractor will be able to tell you whether or not your home needs repairs and can give you a quote for the work that needs to be done.
While it may seem like a hassle (and an expense) to get someone out to your house, remember that repair work is always less expensive than replacement work. Not to mention, a reputable pier and beam contractor will be able to stabilize your home’s foundation, preventing further damage down the road.
If you think your home’s foundation might be in need of some TLC, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. A few minutes on the phone could save you thousands of dollars in future repairs. Get a thorough foundation evaluation from the Perma Pier #DirtNerds right away!