Commercial buildings these days don’t have pier and beam foundations, but for some reasons, this is an obvious choice. A pier-and-beam foundation stands above the surface of the ground, unlike a slab foundation. This kind of foundation is a necessity for areas that are prone to flooding. Prior to 1960, when slab foundations were not very common, pier and beam foundations were widely used for residential construction. Below are some facts and aspects worth knowing about pier and beam foundation.
Pros and cons
In many regions, pier and beam foundations are also known as post and beam foundations, which were extensively used for areas that have moist soil and flooding concerns. Basically, the structure of the building stands above the ground, so as to reduce the damage caused by moisture. There’s a crawling space underneath the floor and above the ground, which are often used for keeping plumbing and electrical units. Repair this kind of foundation is also easier, given that the inspection can be done in depth. Today, pier and beam foundations are not used for commercial needs, mainly because the structure and weight of the building can be limiting factors. Also, the cost of construction, at least the initial costs, tends to be higher, which is why slab and deep foundations are preferred.
Inspecting the foundation
If you have a building with pier and beam foundation, you need to find a contractor who specializes in such repairs. In the ideal case, such foundations must be inspected at least once in five years, so as to find the initial signs of damage, if any. Please note that early foundation repair is usually inexpensive, and therefore, it is always better to get the work done as early as possible. Usually, most of the foundation repair companies offer free estimates and inspections, so you can always the initial work done and decide on assigning the contract. Find a contractor who is well known in the industry and has at least a decade of experience in the local market. If you don’t want to trust the contractor with their claims, you can always choose to seek estimates.
While the repair expenses with pier and beam foundations are not always high, you may want to check for discounts. Most of the common jobs can be done in a day or two, but for long-term work that require weeks, you can get additional rebates on the estimate.