Here are some facts about Pier and Beam Foundations

Here are some facts about Pier and Beam Foundations

How the Pier and Beam Foundations work

Before the invention of the slab foundation, the most common type of foundation was the pier and beam. Concrete pouring was not as polished back then, so the pier and beam system was considered the best structurally. New Orleans is not the same as other cities, and so are its foundations. Slab foundations are more common in recent decades, but many homes have pier or beam foundations.

Pier and Beam Foundations

Despite the popularity of beam and pier foundations, slab foundations are becoming more popular. Based on the quality materials used in the 1940s and 1950s, older beam and pier homes could be more vulnerable to extreme damage. There were also different building codes back then. If you have any problems, your pier and beam foundation might need to be inspected, updated, and repaired.

What are the Benefits of Pier and Beam Foundations?

Pier and beam foundations will be supported by planks or joists that run the length thereof to reinforce your floor. The joists will be placed on top of concrete and wood piers to support your house’s weight.

Stability and soil

Texas clay soil is where beam and pier foundations are most effective. This foundation can adapt well to clay soil and will not break if the ground becomes dry.

Having a crawl space

The joists supporting your house in a pier-and-beam foundation are placed 18 inches above the ground. This gives you easy access to the foundation in case you or a specialist need it. The crawl space is ideal for repairs and allows for easier digging should any piers or beams need to be replaced by rot.

The Pros and Cons of Pier and Beam Foundations

Although the pier system is a stable foundation, it can become brittle over time. This is especially true if the foundation hasn’t been maintained in years. One reason could be piers that are not adequately rotating or settling correctly, as well as frequent stress cracks. If your home’s weight puts extra stress on the foundation, you may need to add piers. Pier and beam are easier to fix than slab foundations, and you don’t need to remove slab parts to do so. It’s also easier to install and repair plumbing with pier and beam.

Vulnerabilities of Pier- and Beam Foundations

Foundation Settlement

The clay soils of Central Texas, like any other foundation type, can cause problems with your foundation. Any foundation can be damaged if the soil shrinks when it is very dry. Excessive moisture, such as from a week of rain or snow, will cause soil to shrink. The soil will then expand. Foundations can settle if there is not enough dry and moist soil. Foundation repair should be sought if you notice your beam house or pier foundation shifting, settling, and becoming lopsided.


Pier foundations can be durable, but they also have some issues due to their elevated location. Moisture can cause problems such as excessive mold growth, wood damage, temperature control issues, and creaking and water pooling. This can be affected by the soil type and how the property has been graded to allow for water flow.

Insects & Critters

An unattractive critter such as rodents or insects may be attracted to a pier or beam foundation. However, if the foundation is elevated, there is a better chance of them being found and treated.

Repair Options

There are many options available to repair your beam and pier foundations.

Add Shims to a Pier and Beam Foundation

Sometimes, the foundation will need to be adjusted but not completely. Over time, foundations may develop gaps that need to be filled, and shimming can help strengthen them. Shims are wood pieces that can be cut to fit gaps in your foundation. If there is a small gap between the piers and the wood beams, you can use smaller ones to fill it. Larger ones will help if there is a more extensive spread. This works if your foundation is sound and may not work if there is severe damage.

Pier Stacks

Your foundation’s interior piers can slowly deteriorate and eventually fall apart and need to be replaced. A pier stack is a solution to this problem. A foundation specialist can add additional piers if your foundation is not strong enough to support your home.

Replacing damaged wood

Floor joists can slowly deteriorate over time with rot, warping, and breaking. These would require replacement. Your foundation might not have been strong enough, and additional joists may be needed. How much wood needs to be replaced will determine the severity of the problem, and it could be minor or major.

Wood is interconnected in many ways, so if you discover that it needs to be replaced, major renovations will be required. Major under-structure support will be required to strengthen the foundation and replace damaged sections, so your home does not collapse.

Beam and underpinnings

The interior support areas of a beam home and pier can become unstable as the foundation and house settling. They may also be affected by poor construction and inadequate support, and settlement and uneven weight distribution can cause the perimeter support beam to fail. You can add concrete pilings or drilled bell-bottom posts to support settled areas if you discover that the perimeter beam must be raised. Ace House Leveling Foundation Repair can repair any pier or beam foundation. We will assess the damage to your foundation and devise a plan for fixing it.

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Call 504-858-1974 | Leading house leveling contractor in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ace House Leveling can level and repair slab houses, foundation repairs

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We work closely with our clients every step of the way so that they fully understand what we need to do to complete the job properly. We take great care to ensure our customers are completely satisfied with our work. After all, there is no room for error when it comes to house leveling and foundation repairs. When you need quality service, we will get the job done right.

If you’re concerned about your home’s foundation, contact Ace House Leveling, LLC of New Orleans today to request an on-site inspection and estimate. Our honest and knowledgeable team can provide you with a thorough assessment that will allow you to make the right decisions for the future of your home. We service the entire NOLA Metro area!

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