Common Problems with Pier and Beam Foundation

Pier and beam foundations are the oldest style of home foundations. In many ways, they are considered intricate, stable, and more complex than most modern foundations. How’s that? Because the foundation is multi-layered and interwoven structured with many support points created.

Regardless of many points of support that make it sturdy, this type of foundation also has some potential failures. For instance, there could be overtime foundation damage. Most people wonder what causes such injuries on a foundation that is deemed solid and stable. Here are some of the most common problems causing pear and beam foundation damage.

Insufficient Drainage

This is one of the top causes of damage to pier and beam structures. Any improper drainage under the foundation increases the chances of water and moisture accumulation. Since the interior piers and beams are supported with wooden frames, any stagnant water would cause severe damages to the foundation. There could be over time wooden rot which may make the foundation unstable.

The accumulated water may also cause expansive soils. This is when the grounds underneath the building shift.  In most cases, most soils would expand when they are wet and contract when dry. These forces are potent and can further destabilize the foundation. And the constant movement may cause cracks and misalignments, among other signs of foundation damage.

That said, take any sign of stagnant or crawling water underneath the foundation with a lot of seriousness. So consider adding drainage to prevent any further damage. Also, consider calling pier and beam foundation specialists for regular inspection to check the presence of moisture and water.

Damage by the Insects

Insects like termites and carpenter ants, among other pests, have been causing many damages to pier and beam foundations. These insects attack the wooden part of the piers or beams, causing critical damage that impairs or threatens the foundation’s structural integrity.

Also, mold and mildew are ruining or damaging the beam of wood joints, thus weakening the foundation. It’s therefore imperative to have regular inspections on the foundation crawl space to check for any signs of insects. Or other damaging pests, then manage them to prevent further damages.

Inferior Construction

The original construction method and the materials used can sometimes be the cause of the long-term problem. For instance, if the foundation is shimmed with non-standard materials, the chances are high that there would be shim failures. Therefore, every person who would wish to have or renovate their homes must ensure they get up to standard materials. Those materials have high supportability and can withstand both water, moisture, and insect damage.

To manage or prevent the above problems:

  • Make frequent adjustments to the joints and snugness of different foundation parts
  • Rebuild, or pier stuck, significantly when the docks have disintegrated or broken down
  • Replace the rotten or damaged woods
  • Add underpinning to the bean for additional support


Though the pier and beam foundation are stable, they can sometimes experience damage over time. Poor drainage, insect invasion, and poor construction methods are some of the leading causes of injuries to this type of foundation. To find the right way to address each cause to prevent further damages: regular inspection would be critical.