Homes With a Crawl Space
Almost all homes built from the 1800’s to the mid-1950’s in South Texas were built on one of several types of pier and beam foundations. With few exceptions, these foundations will usually require house leveling at some point in their life-cycle If a house leveling job is done poorly, the problem will reoccur over and over again into the future (see video on the video page if you are tempted to do-it-yourself!)
Sinking, sagging, bouncy, soft or unleveled wood floors (sometimes bowing) above your crawl space are among the clues that you have a problem. Other clues include gaps between the floor and interior walls, cracks in interior sheet rock walls and door frames out of level.
If you venture into the crawl space you will likely see more evidence – gaps between columns and girders, floor joist compression, and wood rot. If you see shimming between the columns and girders, particularly with weak materials like scrap soft woods, you know “repairs” have been attempted in the past.
Causes of Pier and Beam Failure
Without question, the most common cause of pier and beam foundation failure is water accumulation under the house. This can come from poor drainage around the house perimeter, from plumbing leaks or from excess humidity in the crawl space. This excess moisture can cause wood rot and termites to weaken the girders and joists as well as cause a weakening of the soil beneath the support columns. The result is a chain-reaction over time causing the foundation to sink, sag or sometimes bow. This situation is not uncommon with our expansive soils and extreme wet-dry cycles in South Texas.
The second common cause of pier and beam foundation failure is poor design and placement of the columns located throughout the crawl space to support the weight of the structure. If the columns are spaced too far apart and or the girders and joists are undersized, the beam or girder can become overloaded and sag between the columns.
House Leveling for a Pier and Beam Foundation
Depending on where the foundation is settling (perimeter and or internal columns), there are a variety of potential solutions for leveling a house with a pier and beam foundation. The most common solutions for pier and beam foundations include:
- Concrete Piers
- Concrete Pilings
- Heavy-duty Permanent Jacks with Steel Columns
Other components of a permanent solution may include crawl space encapsulation, venting and de-humidification. Additional remedial work may be desired including replacement of severely damaged wood components (including wood flooring).
The specific solution proposed by the experts at Foundation Repair Pros will depend on a variety of factors at your location including crawl space access, degree of wood structure damage and soil conditions.
Regardless of the particular solution proposed, it is critical that any water leak, sewage leak or drainage problem be corrected as a first priority to get the crawl space dry prior to further remedial work. This includes correction of both interior and exterior drainage issues or leaks that may be affecting your site.
Take advantage of our free, no obligation inspection of your foundation. Our team has the professional expertise to provide you with the most technically sound, cost effective solution to your house leveling – pier and beam foundation issues.
Give us a call right NOW!
Foundation Repair Pros
4 Dominion Drive #250
San Antonio, TX 78257
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