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Learning About the Pier and Beam Foundation in Your Home
(May 6th, 2016)
Even if you’re the most fastidious of homeowners, you may not know about the particular needs of the pier and beam foundation for your home. Unfortunately, many don’t find out about—let alone think about—their foundation needs until a foundation repair expert needs to be called. At Atlas Foundation Repair, we believe in educating homeowners so that minor issues don’t develop into larger, more expensive problems. With that in mind, this blog post is designed to inform you about the pros and cons pier and beam foundations, as well as compare them to other options such as concrete slab foundations.
A pier and beam foundation involves the use of a concrete
pier that is reinforced with steel beam. For a typical Houston home, a pier and beam foundation (also known as a post and beam foundation) is a type of elevated substructure that typically includes a crawlspace that supports the foundation. This crawlspace may include electrical and plumbing units used
to support the home. Thanks to this accessibility, repairmen can reach these units more easily to make the necessary fixes.
Another advantage to a pier and beam foundation is that it provides a degree of stability for a home in Texas built on shifting soil. But foundations of this type—or more specifically, the wood beams they rest on—will inevitably deteriorate if not maintained. Mold, mildew, and roach or rodent infestations
are just a few of the potential pitfalls to a pier and beam foundation. Over time, the wood beams can cause the home’s foundation to sink, shift or settle, which can lead to significant home repair issues.
Most homes in the Houston area, particularly those from the 1950s and 1960s, were built on pier and beam foundations. By the 1970s, home building technology had progressed to the point where foundation repair companies were able to build foundations out of concrete slab. These slab
foundations have the advantage of increased durability and are
particularly suited to clay soils. They can also be built quickly and
inexpensively. However, foundations made from concrete are
nearly as prone to shifting soil conditions as its pier and beam
foundation equivalent. When the soil becomes overly damp, it
expands outwards and upwards underneath the home. Also, such
slab foundations don’t leave room for a basement space (which,
admittedly, is not much of an issue for Houston homeowners,
since our city is at sea level).
For our money, a pier and beam foundation is superior to
concrete slab foundations in that the former are both easier to
repair and easier to make repairs to if your plumbing and
electrical units “live” under the foundation crawlspace. Moreover,
the steel beam construction ensures that the foundation is less
liable to shift under the home than would a concrete slab foundation. While a pier and beam foundation can be pricier, a qualified foundation repair company like Atlas Foundation Repair can do wonders in terms of delivering work that will have you and your house standing tall for many years to come.
Now that you’ve been armed with information about pier and beam foundations, we hope you’ll be able to recognize when your foundation may require your immediate attention. Should you experience sagging floors, shifting beams or any other symptom of home foundation disrepair, don’t hesitate to call Atlas Foundation
Repair in Houston. For more information, contact us today at 713-641- 4844 or visit our site to schedule a