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Pier and beam systems are a common type of foundation for homes and commercial buildings in Texas. They involve horizontal beams (usually of wood) laid over vertical piers (which can be made of concrete, steel or brick.) The floors are then built on top of these beams. The added height from this type of construction can be pleasing to the eye.

In contrast to slab foundations, pier and beam arrangements allow easy access to the ground below the building, along with any underground wires or pipes. This can make renovations or repairs cheaper and more convenient. But you may experience some pier foundation problems or beam foundation problems that require expert help. Let’s take a look at five potential issues with the pier and beam structure.

1 – DAMAGED OR DECAYING WOODEN BEAMS OR JOINTS

Wood, an integral part of pier and beam foundations, is generally a strong, versatile, and practical building material. But it is more vulnerable to damage and decay than some other materials such as brick, concrete, steel or stone. Minor wood damage can often be remedied with beam foundation repair, but if there are more serious damages the wood will need to be replaced. Fortunately, the open design of pier and beam systems do allow wood pieces to be replaced relatively easily.

2 – SHIFTING BEAMS AND SAGGING FLOORS

Compared to buildings with a slab foundation, buildings with pier and beam foundations are somewhat more likely to develop sagging floors. This can occur when beams tilt or shift away from their designated location, creating a need for beam foundation repair. This is not just a structural problem, but it’s embarrassing when guests or customers notice that your floor is warped. This problem can usually be remedied by adding piers and foundation supports, or by replacing warped beams. Another option is to use shims, which are tapered edge flat pieces that can be inserted under the sagging section to level it.

3 – CRACKED OR SHIFTING PIERS

Piers are usually made of concrete and considered durable and dependable. But since they carry so much weight, they can crack or shift. That’s when you need professional pier foundation repair to avoid developing other problems above the foundation. A shifted pier can be set straight, but one with serious cracks will need to be replaced to ensure the integrity of the foundation.

4 – MOLD AND MILDEW IN BEAMS

Any wooden foundation is vulnerable to mold and mildew problems, and pier and beam structures are no exception. The combination of moisture and wood (or other porous, fibrous material) often leads to the growth of mold and mildew. Mildew, which often appears gray or white and flat, is often a minor issue. Mold, however, can pose a serious health risk to anyone spending significant amounts of time in your building. It tends to be more colorful and less flat-looking than mildew. If you see any sign of mold, be sure to have it professionally inspected and treated. This can save you money in the long run, as mold can seriously damage wood. Mold remediation can also prevent significant health issues for the people in your building, so don’t delay.

5 – PESTS

In contrast to many slab construction designs, pier and beam foundations create a space below your building that may be tempting to pests. This can include pesky mammals such as mice and rats, or insects such as roaches or wasps. Perhaps the least desirable pest that may be attracted to your foundation would be termites, since they can quickly do major damage to the wooden beams that support your floors. If you have a pier and beam foundation, be sure to regularly check your crawl space for signs of pests. If you’re unable to control them on your own, hire a professional pest control service.

SCHEDULE A FOUNDATION INSPECTION OR REPAIR

The team at Accurate Foundation Repair understands that our customers aren’t foundation experts. That’s why we do our best to help you understand how your foundation was initially built, why it has become damaged, and what we can do to fix it for you. With our team on your side, you’ll know exactly what the problem is and have peace of mind knowing that our professionals are handling it. All our foundation repair solutions are cost-effective, ensuring that you don’t break the bank or spend more than necessary. Let us get to work repairing your commercial or residential foundation. Contact us today to schedule a free estimate for foundation repair in Dallas, TX.

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