Compared to a slab or basement foundation, a pier and beam foundation offers superior stability for shifting soils, such as the clay soil in much of the DFW area. In a pier and beam construction, concrete pilings are reinforced with steel rebar, and each steel pier piling is set on top of a concrete pad that is also reinforced. Together, they form a strong cage to support the home’s floor beams. Pier and beam foundations usually allow for a crawl space underneath the house, making foundation maintenance and wiring and plumbing repairs more accessible.
Pier and beam systems create very stable foundations and are the best choice in some soils. However, they can deteriorate over time without professional maintenance. Fortunately, repairing a pier and beam foundation tends to be less expensive than a slab, especially if you catch the problem and schedule repairs early.
Foundation Warning Signs
Floor problems are the most common indication of a problem with your pier and beam foundation. If you notice a slant to the floor, gaps, cracks in tiles, bowing, sinking, or excessive creaking anywhere in the home, it’s worth calling for a professional inspection.
Additional signs of a shifting foundation are cracks in the walls and doors as well as windows that stick or won’t open or close properly.
Fixes for Common Pier and Beam Foundation Problems
Here are four of the most common pier and beam foundation problems and how we fix them.
1. Piers Lean, Sink, or Collapse
Shifts in the underlying soil over time can cause a pier to lean, sink, or collapse. Instability in one pier can cause the rest of your foundation to become uneven, causing cracks and other warning signs. Depending on the strain caused by a collapsed pier, floor beams can also be damaged.
If a pier under your home shifts or collapses, our first approach will be to shim and stabilize them. If the damage has progressed too far, we will replace the steel pier piling.
2. Beams Can Shift
Instability in the soil or foundation can cause beams to shift over time. Sagging floors are often a sign of a beam that has moved out of its supportive position.
Solutions to shifted beams include installing shims, reinforcing the foundation in critical areas, or adding new piers.
3. Shim Failure
If previous homeowners had repairs done to the foundation using inferior materials, the support shims they added to reinforce stability can decay and stop working.
If old repairs are no longer working, we can replace those shims with a durable material such as steel.
4. Rotting, Decayed, or Moldy Beams
Rotting, decayed, or moldy beams are more common in wood construction and apply less when using steel beams. Seeping moisture, seasonal flooding, or insect infestation can initiate the decay process.
Visible mold and mildew on your beams can be evidence of moisture damage that may have penetrated inside the beam.
Rotten and decaying beams are unstable and often need to be replaced.
Outstanding Stability with Relatively Low Maintenance
Your pier and beam foundation provides several advantages, including better stability on expansive clay soil. However, when your foundation shifts or sags, it is essential to cut off potential structural damage to your home before it happens with rapid preventative maintenance.
Pinnacle Foundation Repair is a third-generation family business that has served the DFW area since 1963. With us, you will always get a range of possible repairs – from the most affordable to the most engineered option.