Pier and Beam Foundation – Advantages and Disadvantages

Pier and beam foundation is a popular type of foundation. As the decision to choose the foundation of your building is a big one, it must be taken after considering all the options available. There are many kinds of foundation, of which, crawl space foundation, basement foundation and slab foundation are the most popular ones. Homeowners make the decision of which foundation to choose depending on the landscape, budget and requirement.

Pier and Beam Foundation

If a limited budget is an important aspect of a construction, pier and beam foundation is a really good alternative to opt for. The pier and beam foundation is a kind of crawl space foundation, in which, the house is built on a foundation elevated from the ground. There is no basement in such kind of foundation. There is, however, space to crawl inside the house for repair work.

pier and beam foundation
pier and beam foundation

Advantages of Pier and Beam Foundation

Below are some of the advantages of pier and beam foundation described in brief.

  1. Ease and accessibility: A pier and beam foundation is built in a way that there is crawl space available under the house. Since, the plumbing, ventilation as well as air conditioning wires and pipes are all fitted inside, it is very easy to repair or change them. In other kinds of foundations, like the slab foundation, the whole slab needs to be replaced when the repair is being done. Needless to say, such a work is quite expensive.
  2. Termite control: A pier and beam foundation is also resistant to any termite attack, since the house is several inches off the ground. Any infestation can easily be checked and removed. It is hard to locate such infestations in other forms of foundation due to inaccessibility.
  3. The repair and change of foundation are easy and economical: As far as the repair and maintenance costs are concerned, the pier and beam foundation is comparatively a less expensive foundation. Also, remodeling can be done easily without the need for removal of the foundation.
  4. Pier and beam foundation can be created on land with slopes: One of the key advantages of opting for a pier and beam foundation is that it can be used to make a foundation on land which is not leveled. In other words, gradient does not affect the building of a pier and beam foundation. Whereas, all other foundations need a leveled ground before the construction begins.
pier and beam foundation
pier and beam foundation

Disadvantages of Pier and Beam Foundation

Pier and beam foundations also have many disadvantages. There are some points that homeowners should take into consideration, including:

  1. Development of moisture: If the foundation is not ventilated properly, excessive moisture can build up, leading to problems of mold, fungi growth and rotting in wooden floors.
  2. Difficulty in getting under the foundation if the crawl space is too low: Many a times, builders create a pier and beam foundation which is too low and when the time comes to repair, it gets too difficult to get inside. Therefore, homeowners must make sure the height of the pier and beam foundation is never less than 18 inches.
  3. Flooring can be difficult: If the pier and beam foundation is not constructed strongly, the flooring can be squeaky. Moreover, if there are hyperactive children or large pets in the house, the floor may vibrate a lot.
  4. There is a problem with rodents as well as other small pests in broken vents of the pier and beam foundation. These pests can come inside the house or worse, chew the wirings and insulation sheets, if not controlled.

These problems can easily be checked if the builder takes proper care and makes a strong pier and beam foundation. Moreover, the advantages of this kind of foundation are so many that many people in large numbers opt for it. In the long run, the pier and beam foundation is more durable and cost effective than other kinds of foundations.

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