Your foundation is one of the most important parts of your home. Though poured concrete is a popular option, many homes have a pier and beam foundation. This features piers that sink into the ground with beams that run between the piers and support the home. You'll often have a crawlspace under your home that gives you access to pipes and other features.
If you get into the crawlspace and find signs of damage, you’re not alone. Many homeowners face the issue sooner or later, as there are many things that can cause it. Here are the most common ones:
A common reason for pier and beam foundation repair is excessive water, which occurs when your home doesn't have proper drainage. This can happen if the landscape around your home changes in recent years.
For example, you might take out the retaining wall that held rain back and kept it from reaching your crawlspace. Standing water or excessive water can cause significant damage to the piers.
Many people love wild animals so much that they feed them, leaving food and water around the yard. Raccoons love cat food and are tamer than you might think. The problem with helping wild animals is that they can cause some serious foundation damage. Even if you don't feed them, simply letting them run wild around the property can lead to damage.
As the animals run under your home, they can wear down the piers and damage the beams. You also risk the animals building nests in the crawlspace with some of your building materials and leaving behind waste that can make you sick.
Your home is only as strong as the beams it sits on. These beams often range in size but are large enough to span an entire room.
When the beams shift, they change the amount of support that you get. You may notice that the floors in certain rooms begin bowing. This can cause the whole room to bow towards the center or lead to specific areas sitting lower than others.
You may even find that furniture or other things in the room shift and slide to different points.
Another reason you may need foundation repair is because of cracking piers. The piers are thick and heavy pieces of wood or lumber that sit vertically in the ground. They should have some type of anchor that holds them in the ground and another anchor that keeps them attached to the beams.
When the piers develop cracks, they cannot hold the weight of the beams evenly. This may occur because of water or insect damage as well as issues during the building of your home. A common sign that you need pier foundation repair is when your home shifts or leans to the side.
There are few things worse than finding signs of termite damage in your home. Termites can come from almost anywhere and will attack anything wood as it is their main food source.
If you have wood piers and beams, the bugs can eat through both. They can even cause enough damage that your home lists or tilts to one side because it no longer has the support it needs.
While you can go under your home and look for damage, it's better to have an exterminator check first. Once they get rid of the bugs, you can focus on fixing the damage.
Whether you bought an old house or worked with a company to build a new home, it may happen that your building uses poor construction materials. Some modern builders have a reputation of using cheap materials to cut corners and save money, but this is a problem that existed for years.
Many people need pier and beam repair because their homes use poor or cheap materials. This can include both any metal parts such as the anchors and all of the lumber or timber.
Reasons for Repairs
When you see cracks forming in the corners of your home, you might ignore the problem and decide to put it off until later. Though you may assume that the pier and beam foundation repair cost is too high, paying someone to handle the repairs today can save you lots of money later.
The longer that you leave the foundation damaged, the more money it will cost later. Your team of contractors may need to remove multiple beams and piers, which will require lifting your home and making the repairs before placing it back on the ground.
If you have a pier and beam foundation and notice any signs of damage, contact a local contractor to determine which repairs you need as soon as possible.
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