Identifying the problem when dealing with a pier and beam foundation is essential to the repair process because the issue determines the type of repair needed. Common symptoms of pier and beam foundation problems are stuck doors, sags in floor, baseboard separation, “shaky” floor when walking, and soft or spongy floors. There are a few more symptoms, but these are the main ones to focus on. Now, depending on the issue, a total of four different repair methods are typically available. Reshiming, readjusting, wood replacement, shaker sill, and traditional slab on grade repair methods.
Over time, the interior piers or bases will settle at different rates, causing undulations and bounce on the floors above. Fixing a shimming issue is simple; shims installed on top of shim blocks. Shims are made from steel and are in direct contact with the foundation of the home. Under the shims are concrete pillars, or caps, that allow the shim to rest on. Those pillars then relax on the soil and hold the foundation. When looking at the damage to the foundation, a professional will be able to determine if more shims should be installed or removed to create a level foundation. Reshimming is only one of the possible repair methods and can solely be determined by a professional because of all the different variables surrounding the repair. The next process used deals with more significant adjustments needing to be repaired.
When a home’s foundation sets, the setting of the foundation occurs, making the foundation completely level. Boards and floors built on top of the foundation will perfectly level as well. With time a foundation will start to settle and slowly shift in position, causing these boards and floors to stretch and contract. This issue is common in pier and beam foundations, and when a board has pulled too far, it needs readjustment. If the span between piers is also great, humps and sages can form in floors. Sagging and humps can have two repair methods—first, the more expensive way. Steel pilings can perfectly level the house again and be a more long term solution. The second method is more cost-efficient with pier and beam foundations. Merely adding more concrete blocks and bases, then adding support beams fixes the sagging in floors and restores the first level of the house.
Throughout the years of constant weather on a home’s foundation can cause numerous issues. When dealing with a pier and beam foundation, the sinking of a foundation can lead to improper ventilation or sunken crawl space that can lead to a rotted foundation and subfloors. Beams that are being affected by the problem will be replaced once the crawl space is at the optimal level.
Similar to readjusting, shaker sill provides support to the floor to remove resonance/bounce. However, instead of the distance between piers spanning too far, the span between beams is also high. A shaker sill installation is a 4″ x6″ shaker sill that will provide the needed support to low flooring areas across the home. Like readjusting, similar circumstances cause the repair to be needed over time.
Traditional Slab on Grade Repair
The final option is one that is more permanent but often not needed. A pier and beam foundation can sometimes settle the same way a slab on grade foundation would. In this case, a piling would be installed underneath the home’s foundation in certain low spots making the foundation level again. Once again, the consumer would have the choice, in most situations, to decide if they would want stronger steel pilings installed or a more economical option in concrete pilings, for more information on the difference between these two repair methods. Click Here.
Each foundation will vary, and the repair methods described above are just the general fixes to a foundation. In many cases, there is more than one option to decide from. It is best practice to inspect a home and check for the common signs of foundation repair. As always, if there might be damage to a home’s foundation, it is best recommended you contact a professional.