Knowing that you have a strong foundation is important for every homeowner. But when repairs to the foundation are needed on homes constructed with pier and beam, unique types of repairs are required to shore up homes made with this type of crawl space underneath the house. Let’s look at the most common types of repairs on pier and beam foundations and what they entail.
Fix Shifting with Shims
Most homes experience settling over time due to changes in the soil underneath the foundation, causing a house to shift, move, or settle slightly. Homes made with pier and beam foundations can also shift and settle due to changes in the materials made since wood can expand or contract over time with exposure to moisture. When small shifts are detected in homes with this type of crawl space, wood shims can tighten up the foundation parts’ snugness. These tiny slivers of wood can be placed in many locations around the piers and beams to balance out minor changes that, over time, can add up to big problems if not addressed.
Repair Deteriorating Pier Stacks with Replacements or Rebuilds
Pier stacks, usually made of concrete blocks, hold the foundation up beneath the beams. When these concrete workhorses decay over time or show signs of disrepair, it may be necessary to replace or rebuild them. Some common repairs to the pier stacks on pier and beam foundations are:
- add more pier blocks or stacks in to make up for diminished support provided by existing piers
- replace damaged or compromised pier blocks or stacks
- add in additional pier blocks or stacks if the original construction did not give enough for safe, uniform weight-bearing
Replace Rotted or Unsafe Sills and Joists
One of the most common repairs made on pier and beam foundations relates to replacing damaged, unsafe, or rotted wooden pieces. Since the shaker sills and floor joists are both made up of wooden construction, over time, this wood will likely need repair or replacement to ensure a safe foundational structure. Sometimes the original foundation construction did not provide adequate shaker sills or enough floor joisting, so the repair in those cases might mean adding in additional sills and joists to strengthen the foundational portions of the home. For homes that need a replacement of old, rotted, or otherwise unsafe sills and beams, homeowners can first expect the foundation to need extra support temporarily in the areas nearby the affected wood to be replaced. Then, once the foundation is safely supported, work can replace the shaker sills and floor joists with damaged or old wood. This type of repair may take up to a week to complete, depending on the location of the wood that needs to be replaced.
Increase Support with Added Piers
The last kind of repair commonly completed on pier and beam foundations is adding extra pier support. Additional piers and their related support stacks may be added to a home’s interior foundation when this is needed. However, pier and beam foundations sometimes also need increased support to the perimeter beam so that additional pier support may be added in that location.