Pier and Beam foundation repair has been going on since the first foundations of this type were installed over 100 years ago. Technology has changed to improve the structural components of this type construction, but because of expansive soil, the weather and other factors, foundation repairs still need to be done from time to time to re-level the structures.
The First Foundations
Initially, homes did not have a foundation. They were laid flat on the surface of the land. There were no interior floors raised or otherwise. The home was built directly on the soil, compacted, and perhaps covered with reeds, comprised the floor. Your home would have been simple. It was one story and often one room.
This changed by the 17th century. Whether people got tired of dirt floors or noticed the damage caused when the earth moved, the decision was arrived at to create a foundation. This was of rough-hewn timbers usually supported by native stones. Cross timbers were soon added to support the flooring. The rooms remained small, but at least the floor was raised from above the soil. You could even add a small extension and eventually, a second floor became possible. A primitive version in North America would have consisted of wood stumps placed directly on the soil, providing support for the building’s structure. Technology and engineering changes would eventually evolve into the modern pier and beam foundation. Repair was often required for these early prototypes as stones cracked and wood stumps rotted.
The Pier and Beam Foundations – Repair Required
The early 20th century saw the first pier and beam foundations appear that we would recognize. Concrete blocks, continuous concrete beams to provide perimeter support and brick or stone veneers offer much better support than wood stumps. The construction of concrete piers resulted from an awareness of the shifts in the soil and the resulting problems creating the need for pier and beam foundations repair. In fact, the very stability of any form of pier and beam foundation depends to a large extent on the bearing capacity and the nature of the soil that lies at the base of the piers.
Moisture control is the key to long life in pier and beam structures. If the soil becomes wet, the concrete blocks and beams will sink into the mud created. To keep the soil dry, vents were installed through the brick veneer, directly above the perimeter grade beams. Allowing air to freely circulate kept the ground dry.
Today pier and beam foundation repair is part of homeownership. If you live in states such as Texas, where the soil is expansive, you need to accept that, sooner or later, the changing nature of the soil moisture content, or other factors will require you to call for a company to do the repairs. We at Dura Pier are ready to handle the problem and get your foundation back on a stable footing.