How To Fix Pier and Beam Foundations

Once the damage has been discovered, what’s next? Finding a contractor who has expertise with repairing pier and beam foundations is imperative. The company chosen to estimate and repair foundation damage must possess a legal licensed and registered company that meet state and federal requirements.

Check to be sure the name and address of the chosen company is on the license and don’t just accept the license number or a copy of the license from a contractor, look it up or call to confirm the information just to be safe. The reason this is important is having a repair job shut down because the contractor isn’t legally licensed or registered can compound the cost and time the repair will be finished. Also all contractors must possess insurance.

Steps To Repair Pier & Beam Damage

First step is for the contractor to contact the utility company to contact the Underground Utility Location to make sure all underground utilities cables, pipes, etc. are clearly known and marked before any work begins. The service is free and it is also against the law for any contractor to not first contact the Underground Utility Location office.

Ultimately the extent of the damage, the amount of the square footage and the total number of joint that are involved in the main areas are determining factors in the cost of pier and beam foundation repairs, as well as the amount of time needed to stabilize the base. Keep in mind the highest cost is the labor, which is why you want to make sure you hire skilled contractors who know what they are doing.

The experience or inexperience of potential contractors must be considered when comparing prices because although you may get a lower estimate, if the laborers are less experienced you may save some money, but ultimately due to inadequate repairs, may end up costing you more when the work done isn’t up to pare.

The majority of foundation repairs necessitate piering, which requires a lot of skill as well as very specialized equipment. This foolproof process redistributes the weight of the structure and foundation to the more firm surfaces that go deeper down into the soil.

There are Foundation Helical Piers and Push Piers these are the two proven methods used to reinforce sinking foundations. Which of these methods to be used is determined by the professional you have contracted to inspect the structure/house. Once the inspection is completed they will be better able to determine which method is most appropriate for repairing the foundation. A system using SmartJacks is another option sometimes used in pier and beam repairs.

This Foundation Push Pier system is beneficial because it will permanently stabilize the foundation as life the house/structure back to the original level without a whole lot of expense or major disruptions. It uses steel pier sections that are highly strengthened and are driven down hydraulically making it possible for the sections to reach well below any substandard soils.

If there are visible exterior or interior wall cracks, door and window frame distortions or the chimney is tilted the damage is more extensive and the Helical Pier system will be the better choice for repairing the damage. This system will permanently restore the structures foundation and also life it back up to the safer position levels. The Helical piers are mechanically screwed into the soil, similar to how a corkscrew works.

This is accomplished by using either handheld equipment or straightforward construction equipment. Because these piers are screwed in, they can’t be pulled or pushed out. As soon as they reach the necessary depth, heavyweight steel brackets are installed under the structures footing.

How It Works

It is important to note that one of the biggest expenses in repairing pier and beam foundations occur when there is very little or even no space in the crawlspace. Adequate crawlspace is typically a minimum of 18 inches under floor joists, however a minimum of 24 inches is not only more desired but beneficial.

This allows the air to flow freely under the structure, which helps to keep the beams and the soil dry. Adequate crawlspaces also make it easier for inspectors to access the area under the structure. For homes that do not have adequate crawlspace, the cost is considerably higher and it will be a lot more time consuming because the floors will have to be removed to gain the crawlspace access.

In the cases of inadequate or no crawlspace access, the soil can be dug out under the pier and beam foundation, however this also increases the potential of the additional danger of water amassing in the dug out area. This can also undermine the original pier supports and new supports will have to be added. All of which will increase the cost of the foundation repairs.

The number of piers to be added will be dependent on the board length of the beam needed to correct the damaged areas. Every 12 foot length of beam will have three or four installed piers under them. If the original piers have deteriorated, one to two new piers will need to be installed next to them. Depending on the damage however, they may need to be removed and completely replaced. All piers have either a four inch, 16 inch or 20 inch square concrete pad on the ground below them.

A three foot by four foot dig adjacent to the foundation is created at about 10 inches below the grade beam first. All sticky soil will be removed by scrapping from the bottom footing and the foundation, which is made even to expedite the accurate fit of the support brackets.

The hydraulics and brackets are then installed with a sleeve that acts as a guide is moved forward all the way through the support brackets. At this point the starter and pier sections are pierced using close to 50,000lbs of total driving penetration power force. Cut about five inches above the support bracket the last pier section is fastened at the top of the pier column.

At this point hydraulics are then reconnected and run in a consecutive method to raise the structure/house. Once the structure/house is lifted to the proposed height, the support brackets and fastening plates are permanently attached to the pier columns. Once it is determined the structure is secure and firm, the readings for the pressure, depth and elevation are recorded for each pier.

The removed soil is put back and compacted and all concreate and shrubbery removed in the beginning are put back into place, completing the installation and repair process.

Keys to Preventing Huge Pier and Beam Foundation Repair Bills

The main key to the ensuring years of durability and endurance of Pier and Beam foundation homes is controlling moisture around and under the surrounding areas of the structure/home. Louisiana is known for high humidity levels, high humidity means high moisture so making sure your structure/home has adequate air-flow under its structure is important. The newest method for high humid areas is to seal off the foundation of the structure and invest in a de-humidifier to get rid of any excess moisture that might get into the crawlspace.

This cannot be said enough, water is your home’s worst enemy! When it gets into the crawlspace whether it is from cracks in the beam or the air, it will lead to soil damage and erosion over time. The best way to combat this enemy is with a great drainage system!

The ground under the foundation can become incredibly dry in hot weather, and water can end up under the house after a heavy rain, which often leads to some serious ‘shifting’ problems. A good drainage system, like the French drain system is the most effective way to prevent water from pooling or ‘ponding’ around the house and it’s foundation.

When water is left to pool it leads to the erosion of the soil, not to mention rotting of the wood beams. The French drain system uses cap spaces with grates in the key areas with trenches in between them. Large river rock is then added to prevent the drain from clogging as well as stopping termites from getting into the home.

A less expensive but adequate drainage system is to use what is called, Surface drains. These are collector boxes that are buried with drain grates and buried solid pipes which will drain water towards an appropriate drain field or the streets. Sump pumps can be integrated to mechanically pump the water should there be no natural gravity to work the drain.

Roof gutters that have the correct down spouts capture water on the roof and direct it away from the house. It’s important to make sure the gutters are big enough and the down spouts are directed into a pipe that will keep rain water six to 10 feet away from the structures foundation. If you don’t have gutters installed, now is a good time to do so.

Helpful Foundation Repair Information

When it comes to foundation repair information, you have come to the right place! Our goal is to combine all the foundation repair help available in one web location. If you’re in need of resources, we have just that.

Foundation repair specialists will tell you that there are a limited number of things that create the need for repair help: foundation cracks, basement and\/or crawlspace moisture and cracking concrete. Foundation cracks happen when the environment eats away at the foundation. This is a huge issue because the entire house rests on the foundation. A shifting foundation can cause a myriad of other issues: windows can shift, doors can shift, cracks can start in walls or the ceilings. Moisture is another culprit in the world of foundations. If water isn’t directed away from the foundation, the years can cause enough damage that it starts to compromise. Finally, crumbling concrete can be a visual sign of a foundation problem.

If you’re in the market for a foundation repair, be sure that you take the necessary precautions when it comes to finding a foundation specialist. As with any hired contractor, you have to check out the possibilities before you sign anything. Ask friends, family and acquaintances for referrals. Once you get them, do some research on each potential contractor you are considering. The internet is a great resource when it comes to reviews. Check out the websites and social media reviews of contractors. This can be telling.

Also, as the individual contractors what they are going to cover. Remember that in the world of business, providers are not created equal. One provider may include ten services, while another one may consider all ten add-on services that come with additional costs. Do your own studying up on what you need and who can offer you the best options. Once you decide on a contractor, be sure you have enough dialogue with the chosen contractor to understand exactly what they are doing for you. Again- get all repair details in writing.

When it comes to foundation repairs, they normally fall into a few major categories. One is shifting of the foundation. Of course there is a cause for the shift, but a good contractor should be able to diagnose the root cause. He or she should also be able to give you suggestions to stop the cause so it doesn’t continue to damage the foundation. Another cause of foundation issues can be water. If water isn’t directed away from the foundation, over years and years of flow it can eat away at strength of the foundation. Finding ways to seal the leak also can help to mitigate damage to a compromised foundation. There are many ways to manage water. Polyurethane foam sealants are popular. Finally, disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and tornadoes can cause problems with foundations. Natural disasters are cause for much concern when it comes to foundation issues. The biggest issue with them is that for the most part they are unavoidable. Remember too that when an entire neighborhood is victim of a natural disaster, contractors come out of the woodwork to “help.” Be sure if this happens, you are thinking clearly and know how to make wise decisions.

Once your contractor figures out what the issue is, he or she can better formulate what the best solution will be. Sometimes shoring up the foundation with posts can do the trick. To get the posts installed though may require detailed, and dangerous, lifting of the entire house or a portion of it. For bulging foundation walls, joists and anchors can be used. They will also shore up the foundation and take some of the weight of a house off the main beams. A contractor can also use pins to secure walls into their proper places. Again- a foundation repair specialists will work to come up with a battle plan to tackle your foundation before they begin. You will be able to make the best decision for your specific needs.

Foundation repair help is available, but taking careful steps to finding it is crucial. If you check out all your options, you can find the perfect foundation repair specialist to work on your house. Remember that a lot rests on the foundation of your house. Protecting it should be a number one priority.

Foundation Repair Guide New Orleans

Foundation Repair Resources
If you’re a Baton Rouge-area homeowner you likely are accustomed to caring for your beautiful house. The city is known as a historically important one in the state of Louisiana. Although the aesthetics are important, your home’s security starts with its foundation. The foundation is the strength of the house. If you’re looking for information on keeping it in tip top shape, this is the Foundation Repair Guide you need.

First of all, consider that your house’s foundation supports your life. That is not an overstatement because your house is where you valuable items are. Furniture, electronics, appliances all find their way under your roof and cost thousands. Beyond “things”, your house protects your family. Sure you can replace things, but your family is the major concern.

Any homeowner knows that protecting what is in the house starts with a healthy foundation. There is a lot of stress on it too. Consider how much it holds- the full weight of the beams, furniture, people, vehicles, windows, doors, etc. All these items are piled on the foundation. On top of that, the elements hit the foundation and that can be the start of disaster. Over time, these environmental stresses can cause settling, shifting and\/or cracking.

It is estimated that about $4-billion is spent annually to repair foundations. Locations in Louisiana are no different. Baton Rouge foundation repair and Covington foundation repair costs are equally high as compared to the overall market. Part of the problem is that homeowners rarely see the initial signs of a faulty foundation. Remember that foundation repair normally comes from years and years of damage. It may be ten years before a foundation problem is visually apparent to the untrained eye.

Even though as a homeowner you aren’t an expert, you can still take layman’s precautions to ensure a healthy foundation lasts. Here are some guidelines when it comes to Baton Rouge foundation repair and Covington foundation repair.

New Orleans Foundation Repair
In particular older homes are known to have structural issues. Again- this is just because of consistent abuse from the environment over the course of decades of time. If you live in an older home you likely have become accustomed to that floorboard that makes a popping sound when someone steps on it. You have come to enjoy the one step going down to the basement that squeaks when someone steps on the right corner edge. Not all noises are cause for concern, but some can be. Remember that damage can be subtle and take a long time to truly show itself.

Another, and more definitive, sign to watch is a crack. Cracks are almost never negligible. There is a reason why they show up. Sure at times they can be the result of a faulty drywall installer and nothing more, but that’s highly unlikely. Usually a crack is the most telling sign of a Baton Rouge foundation repair or a Covington foundation repair need. Your best bet if you see a crack is to get a few professional opinions right away.

When it comes to knowing the signs of a foundation repair, there are some clear ones that are going to point you to an expert. Here are some signs to watch out for:

1) Cracking in your chimney. Poor drainage can cause a chimney to crack or lean. Either one is not good.

2) Cracked walls. A cracked walls is a sign that you need a professional to assess the issue. Again- it could be something simple like a misplaced drywall sheet, but what if it isn’t? You want to get it taken care of as soon as possible.

3) Sagging floors. Anytime you see warped or sagged floors, get a professional to at least look at the issue.

4) Jamming doors\/uneven door frames. This may be the single-most telltale sign of problems to come. A door that shifted and is jamming or showing signs of unevenness is likely the victim of a foundation issue.

5) Water issues. If you have a bad drainage system, that could mean disaster for your foundation. You want water to be directed away from your home. If that isn’t happening, it can slowly eat away at your foundation over years and years of abuse.

Who is Affected

Some people mistakenly believe that if they don’t have a slab foundation, then they are immune from problems with their foundations. The reality is that a slab foundation, full- or half-basement or crawl space can all be victims to the environment. Regardless of which type of foundation you have, be sure to do a yearly assessment of interior and exterior tells.

You want to look at leaks, moisture issues, cracks, warping, unevenness, bowing, jamming doors, cabinets that aren’t hanging right, windows that may have shifted and doors that don’t fit right anymore. These are all signs that you may be in need of Baton Rouge foundation repair or Covington foundation repair company.

A good tip is to take pictures of any issues you may see. That way, when you do another assessment 6-months to a year or more down the road, you have something to compare. You can clearly see any more damage and act accordingly.