Pier & Beam Repair
Pier and beam foundations are a traditional foundation construction that many saw as being replaced by concrete slabs. In fact pier and beam can be every bit as durable as concrete slabs and in many ways the approach offers benefits that slabs do not. Particularly when it comes to your options for repairing or re-leveling homes that have settled due to subsidence. One of the key features of pier and beam is that there is usually a crawl space which makes it easier to work on for identifying problems, correcting plumbing issues, and making repairs.
Before We Start
The first thing we would look at before starting out on any repairs to foundations, whether slab or pier and beam, is the existing drainage. See our page on drainage issues for foundations for more information.
For a professional there is absolutely no sense in repairing a foundation without first sorting out any underlying problems that are causing it so the first stage in a pier and beam repair job is ensuring the draining is right for the job it has to do.
Shoring the Foundations
Shoring is when the existing timber piers are having trouble coping with the load on them and are starting to distort or warp under pressure. Quite simply we shore up those existing piers by adding new beams either to replace wooden beams and piers that have rotted or as extra supports to back up the existing piers to enable them to take more weight. The nature of pier and beam means that we can extend both piers and beams to increase the surface area that supports your home.
Strengthening the Foundations
Where there is considerable movement with cracking and uneven floors the foundations can be strengthened in other ways. The crawl ways associated with pier and beam also allow for room to use pre-made concrete forms for example that help spread the load, take the weight, correct unlevel floors, and bulk up the foundations. Then concrete is poured into the spaces between the forms to fix them in place.
Underpinning the Foundations
If the soil beneath the foundations cannot properly support it any more due to subsidence, excavations, or water movement then underpinning may be the answer. One of the simplest underpinning approaches is to remove the soil that is causing the problems and replace it with concrete. This is a shallow underpinning approach but often solves the problem entirely by giving the foundations a much broader and more solid base to rest on. Clearly the process should only be done by experts because if the original drainage issues haven’t been dealt with then a concrete underpinning may merely be putting off further problem.
If the problems with the sub soil go deeper than a shallow surface layer then you may need pile underpinning in which piles are sunk down into the soil beneath the building. Surveying has to be conducted again on the drilling of the holes and the soil level they will reach down to and then piles, usually encased in steel are inserted.
Talk to Corpus Christi Foundation Repair about what type of technique would work best for your home.