what is a shaker sill?

Crawl Space Foundation Homes: What Is a Shaker Sill & What Do They Do?

You’re looking at some crawl space foundation repair info or contracts and have come across the term shaker sill. What in the world is a *shaker sill* and what does it do for your home?

Anchor Foundation Repair Bryan College Station

At Anchor Foundation Repair, we understand that industry-specific terminology can leave homeowners at a loss. Contractors assume you know these foreign terms and you try to pretend that you do. We can clear the confusion and explain this *home part* for you. We work with sills of all kinds all the time, it’s a big part of our work with crawl space homes. 

We don’t want anyone to have unanswered questions about crawl space foundation repair proposals. Your proposal might be the first time you have seen this term. We’re just lookin’ out for you.

This article will define and explain the term “shaker sill” and its role in the foundation of your pier and beam or crawl space home. We will discuss why shaker sills are sometimes needed and how they are installed so that you understand what needs to be done to repair your home and why it benefits you.

What Does a Shaker Sill Do For My Crawl Space Foundation?

Shaker sill beams are a useful addition to crawl space foundation repairs in both pier and beam and block and base homes. Shaker sills are not typically part of the original construction of crawl space foundations. Rather, shaker sills are added during repairs to solve a specific problem: shaky, bouncy, or rattling floors.

In general, sills are large, long, and strong beams (typically made from wood on this home type) that help carry and distribute the weight of your home. What all types of foundation sills *do* is allow the structure to move from vertically oriented support with the stacked piers to a horizontal orientation by bridging the gaps between piers. 

shaker sill

Shaker sills are installed in the middle of rooms where the floor joist structure is not well supported causing shakiness and bouncy-feeling floors.

Think of your crawl space or pier and beam foundation like a layer cake, except there is no frosting (aaaand now I’m ready for dessert. . . )

From the ground up, the layers go like this:

  1. Dirt/Soil/Ground
  2. Piers that elevate the home and transition up from the ground to the sill beams,
  3. Shims are inserted between the sill and piers to make small elevation adjustments and keep things as level as possible,
  4. Sill beams that hold up and support the floor joists,
  5. Floor joists that support the subfloor and the home structure,
  6. Subfloor that serves as an underlayment for your finished flooring surface, and
  7. Floor transitioning to framing and walls.

Why Does My Home Need Shaker Sills?

In older homes, sill beams were primarily placed under load-bearing walls, and that was usually it. The floor joists placed on top of the main sills sometimes span across large open rooms and end up being unsupported in the middle. 

So you have individual rooms that are supported around their perimeters with sill beams, but nothing much helps out the joists to hold up the middles. 

types of sill diagram

Most of your foundation is also made from wood material that is subject to deterioration with age. Once time and gravity take effect on a marginally supported floor joist system, the result is loose, sagging, floors that bounce and make your tchotchkes rattle.

This issue is very common because they just used to build homes a little differently. We now know better what happens over time. The floor joists have a really big job to do and they simply underestimated the amount of support needed for the long haul.

This situation is easy to remedy by giving your floor joists a little extra help in between main sills. Adding shaker sill beams as part of your house leveling project corrects the shaky, sagging floor problems and gives your floor a sturdy feel. Shaker sills are shown in purple on the diagram above.

How Are Shaker Sills Installed on a Pier and Beam Home?

Since shaker sills are an add-on component of your home’s foundation, installing them is relatively easy. You do not have to replace something that already exists. There’s no *removal of the old stuff* to do. Better yet, you do not have to remove something that is sandwiched between a bunch of other interconnected layers of the foundation. It’s all-new and simple to add.

Here’s how a shaker sill is installed:

  1. Identify the open rooms with centers that are under-supported,
  2. Place new base/block combo piers under the span where a shaker sill is needed,
  3. Install a new 4 x 6” pressure-treated shaker sill beam on top of the new piers,
  4. Use shims to snug and secure the space between the piers and the sill, and then
  5. Screw the shaker sill to the bottom of the floor joists for long-term placement.
shaker siłl install

Shaker sills are kinda great because you can add them anywhere more support is needed for the floor joist structure. The only real requirement is that the shaker sill must go perpendicular to the direction the floor joists are running.

How Does a Shaker Sill Benefit My Home and Foundation?

If you need shaker sills, you should be all for it. Shaker sills are essential for returning under-supported crawl space homes to proper functioning. Adding shaker sills improves your home in these ways:

home foundation repair
  • Restores solid, secure-feeling floors,
  • Eliminates un-sturdy furniture and knick-knack rattling, 
  • Increases ground contact points for a more expansive footprint, and
  • Improves overall home stability.

This is what foundation repair is all about for your crawl space home – everything working right and being well-supported so you can get back to enjoying life.

Ready to Get Your Crawl Space Home Repaired Now?

Now that you know the definition and key benefits of shaker sills and how they are fixed, what’s next? Well, if you’ve already got a proposal for foundation repairs with Anchor, go ahead and accept that proposal to get your job started as soon as possible.

sills and piers

After 35+ years in business, one of the most enjoyable things we do at Anchor Foundation Repair is when we get to install shaker sills for a concerned homeowner. They make a night-and-day difference in the sturdiness and sense of stability you will feel in your floors.

Maybe you’re still just learning about your crawl space foundation and aren’t ready to get started – that’s okay too. How about what’s holding up the sills in this layer cake we keep talking about?

Below the main and shaker sills you will find piers. There are quite a few different types of piers that can be found under crawl space homes.