Most of the homes that were constructed prior to 1960 have used foundation with pier and beam. This is also known as block and base foundation though there is little difference between them. Both these foundation techniques were quite popular before slab and grade foundation came into scene.
There are three major components in any pier and beam foundation.
- Concrete pads which are placed on the ground
- Concrete blocks are placed over concrete pads
- Concrete foundation beam is built around the perimeter of the structure of the house.
The whole building is supported by these concrete beams and the brick structure is erected over the beam. Block and base foundation is almost similar to this foundation however it does not have concrete foundation beam all around. Such foundation is suitable for those houses which use lighter siding like aluminum or wood. Nowadays in modern building nobody prefers to do this type of foundation as better foundation methods are available and there are few limitations too.
What warning signs does it give for foundation problem?
In this type of foundation, the common warning sign is floor problem. You may find floor sinking, slanting or bowing to one direction. Also, it can get cracked mark which is prominently visible. However, warning sign is not only on floors but many other places too as given below:
Sinking/bowing, flexing with weight or sagging
- Floor covering
Wooden floors with gaps, tiles may crack.
- Interior sheetrock cracks
This indicates movement
- Doors/windows not opening or closing properly
This also indicates movement
- For clay soil this type of foundation provides more stability when it is constructed with drilled piers
- The repair cost is much lower as assessing the foundation component like plumbing and wiring is easy
- As compared to concrete slabs it is more expensive and complex to build this foundation
- Drain pipes may freeze during cold weather
- There can be musty smell due to lack of proper ventilation
- There are chances of moulds, termites, wood rot and rodents
- Cost of flooring can be higher
- Due to flexing of flooring it may crack
Cost of repair
One of the plus points of this kind of foundation is that cost of repair of such foundation is much lower than concrete slab foundation as various things of the foundation can easily be accessed. Also, it does not need too many types of equipment.