Why Choose a Pier and Beam Foundation?

Building a home is an exciting venture. Homeowners get to choose wall coverings, flooring materials, up-to-date appliances, room size variances, and windows and doors. But, what most homeowners do not realize is that building a home starts from the ground up, from the foundation.

The most important step to building a new home is choosing the most efficient and safe foundation for your property location. Researching foundation bases is essential in securing the structure of your new home. Some contractors are knowledgeable about foundations and will help you choose which is best for your home. But, there are many who will pour a foundation of their choosing without discussing the choice with you, the homeowner.

Two foundation choices that a new homeowner should be aware of are slab-on-grade foundations and pier and beam foundations. The two are quite different when it comes to construction, cost, and longevity.

Slab-on-grade foundations are constructed with reinforced concrete and are usually shallow, quickly built, and inexpensive. For a builder that doesn’t have to live in the homes that he builds, slab foundations are a dream. Slab foundations are used with homes that do not have basements. A major disadvantage to slab-on-grade foundations is that they are not resistant to seasonal movement changes and moisture disbursement due to root growth. In other words, slab foundations are not a long-term option for homes in North Texas. Another disadvantage is that generally all piping is placed under the slab foundation causing a very costly procedure should a water pipe burst.

Pier and beam foundations, on the other hand, rate a few steps above a slab-on-grade foundation. Pier and beam foundations incorporate a crawl space (usually at least 18 inches) beneath the home and footings filled with concrete to support the slab. This type of foundation is not considered a time saver, but it is safer and more convenient. The crawl space allows access to heating and plumbing utilities without having to break through the concrete slab. The piers mean foundations are less susceptible to damage due to ground shifting, a problem many North Texas homes with slab foundations experience. If extreme ground shifting does occur, the foundation is easily adjusted, a process that is much less expensive than slab foundation repairs, a process most homes in North Texas will have to undergo.

Since pier and beam foundations leave homeowners walking on a suspended wood platform, they are much easier on the body’s joints. Pier and beam foundations are preferred by back pain suffers over slab foundations.

Pier and beam foundations are generally used for homes built in the Northern part of the country because the climate consists of the freeze and thaw conditions. This condition requires that the foundation be built deeply in to the ground. The safety feature here is that deep foundations are very rarely affected by climate changes. But, the shifting grounds of North Texas make pier and beam foundations the best, longest-lasting choice for foundations in the area.

Monster Constructors is professionally known for laying pier and beam foundations in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. They will test the ground on which the home is to be built to decipher the best foundation for that particular area.

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Foundation Repair Or Waterproofing?

If you notice cracks or water leaks around your home, you may be having some foundation problems. This is a very dangerous situation because if your foundation is cracking, sinking, or shifting, it puts your whole house at risk. So, routinely check for any brick wall cracks or chimney cracks, drywall fractures and always look in your basement to see what your foundation is doing down there. If you notice any problems it’s best to address the situation immediately because there are solutions available.

When it comes to repairing a cracked foundation, whether it be sinking, bowing or leaking water, two words immediately come to mind – Foundation Repair & Waterproofing. What are the differences? Which one do I do? Which one do I do first? Which one is correct for my situation?

First, as always, contact a knowledgeable foundation inspector. This generally is a civil engineer, structural engineer or P.E., or certified foundation repair contractor. These are the experts that can diagnose your problem and give well founded advice on a course of action to resolve your foundation issues. They will walk through your home, inside and out, and analyze your situation and give you a written evaluation of the current extent of damage. With this information you will then be able to make a sound judgment on what steps are needed to maintain the original integrity of the structure.

Simply put waterproofing can be defined as diverting water to a predetermined location. Waterproofing does not solve structural issues. Waterproofing does not fix a failed foundation.

Waterproofing can remove problematic water from around a structure. Waterproofing can divert water so as to not put undo stresses on basement walls. Waterproofing can stop nuisance water infiltration. Waterproofing is just one step in the process of solving your failed foundation. When used in conjunction with quality foundation repair products, waterproofing, can and will help maintain the integrity of your home.

Foundation repair can be defined as methods of underpinning or shoring your failing foundation due to unexpected forces. Using designed and engineered foundation repair products can reposition your foundation to originally designed tolerances. These products can be used to lift a structure. These products can support your foundation by changing load bearing points. Quality foundation repair methods use surrounding load bearing soils to support your homes foundation.

Which comes first the chicken or the egg? Do you waterproof first, or do you install foundation repair products first? Simply put, it depends on the recommendations of your foundation expert. Is water infiltration causing your problems? Is water collecting around your home? Are your gutters and sump pump working properly? Is your foundation settling due to poor soil support or changing soils under your home? Are there vertical cracks in your basement walls? Are there horizontal cracks in your walls?

These questions all will be answered in the initial inspection of your home. Your foundation engineer will talk you through your individual needs and suggest methods of repair. Generally you will need a combination of foundation repair and waterproofing. When used together you can be assured that your home will be restored to its original structural integrity while removing water issues that can cause future foundation problems.

Epoxy sealing a crack works great, but if you are only diverting the water to the next weakest spot on your foundation you are only chasing a problem. Super duper sump pumps with turbo charged battery backups are great, but do nothing to straighten bowed or sinking walls. A dry basement does nothing for a basement that is setting on poor or consolidating soils. If your basement is leaky, there has been damage done, and this damage needs to be addressed by foundation repair experts.

Foundation repair or waterproofing is the question; a qualified foundation expert

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