Pier and beam foundations are a practical choice for constructing foundations for buildings. Pier and beam foundations were used extensively throughout the 1970s and are now becoming popular again for custom builds. The following information should hep you decide if a pier and beam foundation is the right solution for your project.Constructing Pier and Beam Foundations
Although many people are now using methods such as slab on grade foundations and cinder blocks as substitutes for wooden piers they still offer a strong solution for many people.
When constructing pier and beam foundations, piers are driven 12 to 15 ft in to the ground below the site of the building. These piers then support wooden beams which in turn support the floorboards of the building.
This stacking method has distinct advantages in the construction of a home. The layering results in gaps which are large enough to be used as a crawlspace. This manoeuvrable space offers an advantage as utility installers can use this crawl space to lay wiring and ductwork.
Modern pier and beam foundations are often constructed from different materials to their 1970s counterparts. Bricks or blocks of concrete are used to support large single concrete footings. These footings can be reinforced if required to provide extra durability.Block and Pad Foundations
Block and pad foundations and pier and beam foundations have similar features that perform differently. The main feature of the two methods is that they both support the building off the surface of the ground providing an adequate crawlspace for installing utilities.
The main difference between the two is the depth in the ground where the supports rest. Pier and beam foundations support a building from 10 to 15 feet below the ground, supporting the structure on wooden or more commonly concrete blocks. Block and pad foundations support the structure using concrete blocks about 5 feet below the soil at the most. However these depths may very depending on the density and moisture levels of earth in the area.
The substantial difference in depths can make a noticeable difference to the levels of subsidence support offered. As pier and beam foundations rest deeper in the earth they are less affected by climatic changes. This is as the soil deeper in the ground is less affected by moisture from the surface which cannot penetrate deep into the soil. The block and pad method is popular as it is more cost effective and provides a long lasting solution.
The crawlspace below the building can provide many benefits. This makes it less work to make any changes to installations which may crop up during the build. The crawlspace can also improve ductwork efficiency and allow for better ventilation from air conditioning systems.