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Pros and Cons of Post and Pier Foundation

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Post and pier foundation is common among many homes, especially in areas prone to flooding. While this type of foundation poses several benefits for homeowners, maintenance requires ongoing professional routine inspections. It’s also helpful to understand the possible issues this foundation can experience so you can catch problems early to prevent costly repairs down the line.

Keep reading to learn more about post and pier beam foundations, their pros and cons and essential information you should know to properly care for your home.

What Is a Post and Pier Foundation?

A post and pier foundation is a common type of home foundation that involves setting cement piers below the ground to bear the structure’s pressure. Crossing the piers are cement or wooden posts. On top are horizontal wooden bars that make the bed that forms the structure.

Unlike a slab foundation, where the cement bed is poured onto the soil, a post and pier structure is elevated about 18 inches, forming a crawl space beneath the home. One of the greatest advantages of post and beam foundations is the crawl space giving an accessible entrance below the house, should you need to repair pipes, electrical units or the foundation itself.

Homebuilders often prefer post and beam foundations since they’re quick to build and often less costly than others. Pier and beam foundations are standard in many parts of the country, especially areas prone to flooding or earthquakes.

Continue reading to learn more about the pros and cons of post and pier foundations.

Pros of Post and Pier Foundations

There are many advantages of post and pier foundations, including:

  • Prevents water damage: Post and pier foundations elevate homes to protect them from dampness, excess moisture and flooding.
  • Better access to utilities: Having crawl space support posts between the home and the ground allows utilities, including electrical wiring or units, to be installed and accessed if problems were to occur.
  • Fewer difficulties than slab foundation: One of the most significant benefits of pier and beam foundations is that it has fewer foundation difficulties than slab structures and can be less expensive to repair. For instance, any pipe problems in slab foundations require breaking apart the concrete floor to access damaged pipes.
  • Drainage: Another significant advantage of pier and beam foundations is that they allow excellent drainage. Lifting your home off the ground lets water drain away from the structure, preventing costly pooling and flooding.
  • Extra insulation: The additional space beneath your home acts as a cushion between it and colder air, which can help you save on energy costs. The wood platform can also be more comfortable to walk across than a concrete slab.
  • Inexpensive repairs: Depending on the type of damage, pier and beam foundation repair costs might be less costly than concrete slabs since it’s easier to isolate one section of the foundation that needs to be replaced.

Cons of Post and Pier Foundations

While many benefits of post and pier foundations might make it seem as though they are the ideal alternative to slab, you should also consider the cons:

  • Cost considerations: The value is the most notable disadvantage of pier and beam foundations corresponding with slab structures. While the foundation of smaller facilities such as sheds can be cheaper with a post and pier structure, elevated homes are almost always costlier to install than allowing them to sit on the soil.
  • Sagging, squeaking or bouncy floors: Foundation piers can move slightly due to soil movement, resulting in a sagging, squeaky or bouncy floor.
  • Dampness: A disadvantage of crawl spaces is their tendency to become damp, which can cause moisture issues for the home and even mold and mildew growth.
  • Heating expenses: In the winter, cold air will enter the crawl space, contributing to a colder home. Encapsulating the crawl space can be an effective solution to this issue.
  • Pests and rodents in the crawl space: Having a crawl space beneath your home can invite various pests, which then have easier access into the house.

Common Problems With Post and Pier Foundations

The most common problem with post and beam foundations results from the foundation posts that extend from the ground to the horizontal posts sustaining the floor joists. A column can fail due to foundational shifts or settling. The post can also decay or fail due to improperly anchoring the center of the post to the beam or footing.

In most cases, professionals can repair individual posts without it affecting other parts of the foundation. Pier and beam foundation repair is often more affordable than slab foundation repair.

Other common problems associated with post and pier foundations arise from the crawl space, which can lead to pests, more moisture and less temperature control.

Maintaining a Post and Pier Foundation

To prevent costly damages, professional contractors can maintain and repair your post and pier foundation. They can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy drainage system: The most essential step for preserving a post and pier foundation is maintaining a healthy drainage system. If water pools around the home, dampness can seep beneath the foundation, leading to warping and decay in wooden joists and beams. Professionals can help with moisture control by waterproofing your foundation.
  • Examine gutters: Additionally, it’s crucial to examine your gutters and make sure the downspout carries water at least five feet away from the foundation’s edge.
  • Conduct visual inspection: It’s essential to have professionals inspect your foundation regularly, preferably every six months. At the same time, you’ll want to check for cracks in the walls of your home and ensure gateways and windows open and close accurately. It’s always best to hire an inspector to catch early signs of wear that are undetectable by untrained professionals.

Get Pier and Beam Foundation Repair at HydroHelp911

Post and pier foundation is an excellent option for many homeowners, though a few issues can arise with these installations without proper maintenance. Your home’s foundation is one of its most important aspects, if not the most important one. Understanding the common problems that can emerge from post and pier foundations can help you catch and remedy issues early.

For expert foundation inspections, contact HydroHelp911 Waterproofing and Structural Repairs. We frequently inspect, repair and restore pier and post foundations to give homeowners peace of mind. We can prevent costly foundation or structural difficulties to keep your home safe and secure. Whether you have an issue with moisture, a failing post or another problem, we can help.

Schedule your free foundation repair consultation online or by giving us a call at 704-741-9737.

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