What is a Pier and Beam House in Baton Rouge?

When you think about foundation damage and foundation repair, you probably first think of a home sitting on a concrete slab foundation.  Well one of the great things about where we live in south Louisiana is the wide variety of home types and architecture.  One of the South’s most recognizable home designs is the pier and beam house.  Homes around the Baton Rouge area are no exception this trend.  So what exactly makes a pier and beam house?  Let’s find out.

Pier and beam homes have wood floors and sub-structures.  These sub-structures, or beams, are supported by concrete piers.  There is an open airway between the bottom floor of the home and the actual ground on which it sits.  It’s crucial that these beams are properly sized and spaced.  Often, sagging and dipping floors can be associated to undersized and incorrectly space beams.  At the same time the piers that support these beams should also be appropriately spaced.  The concrete piers should be wider at that bottom, like a pyramid, to evenly distribute the weight of the house.  They should also be placed about six feet from each other.  Girders play another critical role in a raised foundation.  When properly sized they prevent the floor from sagging or becoming wavy.

While the appearance is quite different from a slab foundation, they both serve the same purpose and are susceptible to the same problems.  Just as drainage needs to be a key priority to prevent water from saturating the soil around a slab foundation, it is also imperative for pier and beam homes.  When proper drainage is maintained, it prevents your home’s piers and beams from moving, and thusly, your foundation from failing.

In the same sense that drainage prevents the elements of the foundation from being exposed to water, ventilation is just as important.  Having adequate airflow is necessary for the wood beams to be able to breath and remain dry.  While closing in the home completely will keep a home warmer in the winter, it can dramatically increase the possibility of dry rot.  Some good alternatives to an enclosed pier and beam foundation would be latticework or ventilating every eight to ten feet.

While there are a variety of foundation types in our great and unique part of the county and state, WCK Foundation Repair is an experienced, expert company at restoring damaged foundations of all designs.  Not only can WCK offer a free assessment on your foundation, but the repair will be covered by a 6 year warranty for pier and beam work.  By properly maintaining the drainage and ventilation of your Baton Rouge pier and beam foundation, future issues will be virtually non-existent.  This can easily be achieved by doing a quick, monthly walking inspection around and under your home.  These preventative steps will ensure your home remains stabilized. 

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