repair methods for pier and beam foundations

Pier and Beam Foundation Repair: Are There Different Methods?

Your pier and beam house has some classic signs of foundation settlement for crawl space homes that you want to get repaired. Is there more than one way to do this house leveling stuff? Good question.

Anchor Foundation Repair

Anchor Foundation Repair has been leveling homes and repairing pier and beam homes as well as slab-on-grade foundations in Bryan, College Station, and surrounding Brazos Valley communities like Caldwell and Madisonville since 1985. We know *a thing or two* about pier and beam house leveling and can fill you in on the method question.

This article will discuss whether different repair methods exist for pier and beam and block and base homes. Then we talk about 3 different approaches a foundation repair contractor can take in leveling your crawl space home.

Are There Different Leveling Methods for Pier and Beam Homes?

This is one of those tricky, *yes and no* questions. While there are different ways of handling house leveling, I wouldn’t really call them different repair methods. There are no different materials or concepts used. 

Solutions for house leveling in the Brazos Valley

The focus with pier and beam repairs is a degree of fixing or replacing some piers under the home, fixing or replacing some sill beams supporting the home, raising the home with jacks and leveling, then re-shimming between the piers and the sills. There is simply more than one way *to get to the area* needing repair in some cases.

Side Note: Consider house leveling and pier and beam foundation repair to mean about the same thing. Also, consider pier and beam, block and base, and crawl space types of foundations to mean about the same thing. These are all closely related terms with technically slightly different meanings. But most people use them interchangeably so we will too for this article.

Are There Different Ways to Repair Crawl Space Homes?

So even though there are no different methods, your pier and beam home can be repaired in more than one way. It’s not by a different method so to speak, it’s more about how (or which direction) the problem is approached from and accessed.

low crawlspace clearance pier and beam foundation repair

Foundation repair contractors can tackle a pier and beam foundation problem from underneath the home in the crawl space area. A repair team can also come in from above by cutting in through the floors to access your issues. A third approach is to combine traditional house leveling techniques with methods more commonly used for slab foundation repairs underground.

The technique/approach/way used is determined by a few factors:

  • Where the damage is located in the home
  • The clearance and access to the damaged area
  • Which way the contractor prefers to do it if there is a choice

In the next section, we will review each of these 3 *ways of doing things* to get your crawl space home leveled and its foundation in good repair.

3 Approaches to Pier and Beam Foundation Leveling

As mentioned above, two house leveling approaches are about which way you are accessing the problem. The third approach is more about where you are addressing the problem. I know that sounds confusing so let’s get right into the explanations!

1. Handling House Leveling and Repairs From Under the Home

To be clear here, a repair team would be crawling under your home, but they are still above ground. They would access the crawl space area under your house by removing skirting on a block and base home. 

For a pier and beam home, typically there is an access cutout somewhere along the outside of the house, or in some cases, there is an access hole in a closet or cabinet inside the house. The repair team can then crawl through and get under the house.

level my pier and beam home

From under the home in the crawl space, a foundation repair contractor can:

  • Remove, replace, and/or add new piers
  • Remove, replace, and/or add new sill beams
  • Add new floor joists
  • Level as much as needed/able as part of the process

Being able to access damaged areas under the home for repairs applies to the vast majority of homes. About 90% of the pier and beam and block and base homes we repair can be fixed with an under-home approach. A home that can be repaired in the crawl space should typically take 2 to 5 days on average.

2. Accessing Crawl Space Foundation Issues From Above

Sometimes a contractor may have a choice about accessing a crawl space from above or below. Foundation repair companies sometimes choose to access from above because it might be physically easier for them in some cases. 

house leveling in Bryan and College Station

Most of the time, accessing pier and beam repairs by cutting out the floors is because there is no other option. For example, if sub-floor repairs are needed you have to do it from the top down. Or if there is no other effective way to access the crawl space.

Most homes do not fall into this category, but about 5% do need to be repaired using the top-down approach. Repairing a pier and beam home by cutting through the floors will likely need a homeowner to move out entirely or not access the construction areas of the home. Work can take 5 to 10 days or more for extensive repairs.

If you choose Anchor Foundation Repair for your house leveling, your convenience throughout the process is a major priority for us and we always try to keep the mess and intrusion levels low. We will only use the top-down approach when absolutely necessary. We can’t say that all foundation repair contractors will operate this same way though.

3. Approaching Pier and Beam House Leveling From Underground

In some cases, pier and beam homes can benefit from some more typical slab-on-grade foundation repair methods. On occasion, the perimeter concrete beam of a pier and beam home needs raising and extra support.

In the two other approaches, the problems are located and can be repaired within the crawl space area above ground and under the middle of the home because that’s where the *home parts* have failed. With this approach, the repairs are needed underneath the outside edge and the problem is foundation settlement affecting the perimeter beam which penetrates into the ground. 

pier and beam foundation repairs
Pressed pile under a crawl space home

So the approach is to go underground with traditional slab foundation repair underpinning.

Only in this case are there different methods available to choose from. There are distinct methods (using different materials and concepts) of slab-on-grade foundation repair that can be used to raise and stabilize the home. 

In our Brazos Valley area, we have drilled piers and pressed pile repair methods available. In other areas, there are helical piers and steel pressed piles as well.

Using a combination of slab foundation repair, along with some more typical crawl space remedies is not too common, but does work for the small percentage of homes that need it.

Which Repair Approach Does My Crawl Space Foundation Need?

pier and beam repair in BCS

Now that you know about the different approaches to repair and level crawl space homes, you’re probably wondering which one you need for your home. It’s like I can practically read your mind, right? What you need now is a foundation inspection for your pier and beam home.

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we have worked on 1,000+ pier and beam and block and base homes in the Brazos Valley for 35+ years. We know that the only way that we can figure out what your home needs is to come and take a look at it with our own eyeballs.

Our in-home foundation inspection process will not only provide you with the cost of house leveling and an approximate timeline for pier and beam repairs but also covers the needed approach to the repair process.