Douglas Foundation Solutions is Austin’s preferred provider of pier and beam foundation repair services.
Prior to the end of WW11, typically structures were built using the pier and beam foundation system. It was the most economical and practical foundation for homes at that time. Today, most new homes are built using the slab on ground foundation system unless the home is on a steep lot, built far from a concrete batch plant or the home builder prefers the unique benefits of a crawl space foundation. These benefits include access to the plumbing and electrical below the floor for repairs and upgrades, a softer floor to live on and the compatibility of a wood foundation system to a wood finished and framed home. The term Pier & Beam foundation refers to a foundation that is constructed of lumber consisting of beams, joist and sub floor supported by pedestals (piers) embedded into the ground. Generally, the largest wood component are wood beams spaced 8’-12’ apart that run parallel the length of the home, joist that run perpendicular to the beams typically on 16” centers with either plywood or tongue & groove wood planks covering the joist and known as a wood sub floor. This floor system described is typically elevated approximately 12”-36” from the ground. This wood platform is supported upon cedar wood post, concrete cast pedestals, or cinder blocks stacked typically 5’-7’ apart. There should be a stucco or other system wrapping the perimeter of the home connecting the ground and the bottom of the wood floor structure, known as “skirting” or “underpinning” which will keep out water and critters from entering below your wood floor. The area or space inside the skirting envelope of the floor system is called the “crawl space” and therefore the name of this type of foundation system. Many home owners may not know if they have a Pier & Beam foundation and the easy way to check is check if your home floor is elevated off the ground by typically 3-5 steps and have a skirting along the perimeter of the exterior walls. If you have a home with a crawlspace beneath it, your building is currently supported using a pier and beam foundation method.
Over time several aspects of pier and beam foundations may deteriorate/decay to the point where they need to be repaired. Wooden beams are susceptible to deterioration from moisture or insect damage, and the continual expansion and contraction that soil experiences during periods of rain and drought continue to take their toll on the piers supporting the wood foundation. You may begin to notice sloping in your home floor, doors that won’t shut properly or a floor that seems less stable and “bouncier” when walked upon. These are signs that your home needs foundation repair.
Decayed wood members can be replaced with new code approved treated timbers, additional new beams and joist can be added to provide a more “solid” support to solve a bouncy or soft floor and new structural piers can be installed to replace existing failing piers. Often, we find homes have been “leveled” by others over time using wood shims and a mix of whatever was around to shim the wood beams off of the piers attempting to solve an out of level floor. Douglas Foundation will do a better and professional job using modern tools to check for levelness and replace all the old conglomerate of shims with new code approved steel shims providing an “organized” approach to a complicated lifetime of leveling efforts. Our team of foundation experts are masters of this complicated leveling process. New piers can be installed replacing all of the existing failing piers, or we can add additional piers and beams for supporting over-spanned beams or additional loads from a modern kitchen remodel or adding a second story to your home. Pier & Beam foundations may appear straight forward but require years of training to diagnose and repair properly. We are Austin’s premier contractor who can solve most any issue with this type of foundation.
Douglas Foundation Solutions can install new stucco skirting to protect your crawlspace.