If you’re wondering how much does pier and beam foundation repair cost, you’re in the right place. In this article, you will learn why contractors use pier and beam foundations, different types of pier and beam foundations, different repair methods, and finally, the different repair costs.

What Are Pier And Beam Foundations?

Pier and beam foundations are made up of two parts. The piers, also called piles, that transfer your home’s weight into the soil and the beams that rest on and connect the piers together. The piers act as pillars and lift your house 1 1/2 to 2 feet off the ground, creating a crawl space below your main floor.

Pier and beam foundations are very common in coastal regions that experience rising tides. Contractors also use pier and beam foundations if building a traditional slab or basement foundation is too challenging.

Other reasons pier and beam foundations are used:

  • If there is a vast root system in the soil.
  • If firm soil lies beneath decomposed rocks at the surface.
  • If there is stiff clay in the soil that offers a lot of resistance.
  • If your home is built from timber or logs.
  • If your home needs to be built on a slope.
  • If the soil has a low water-bearing capacity (how much water soil can hold).
Concrete pier for home foundation construction Steel concrete formwork Pillar foundation pit

Types Of Pier And Beam Foundations

There are two types of pier and beam foundations most commonly used today.

  1. Concrete/masonry piers – Made of solid concrete, these piers are used based on the level of stratum (load-bearing soil). If there is strong soil close to the surface, concrete piers are the go-to option.
  2. Drilled caissons/piers – Drilled caissons are used to reach deep into the ground until they hit bedrock or load-bearing strata. The pier is drilled into the soil, filled with concrete, and supported by steel cages or other reinforcements. Drilled caissons are usually used for larger structures because they provide a more stable base.
Types of pier foundations graphic

Why Do Pier And Beam Foundations Fail?

Pier and beam foundations are vulnerable to what’s called differential settlement. Differential settlement is when sections of your home settle, while other sections remain level. This can cause your foundation to fail. This uneven settlement is caused by:

  • Soil degradation.
  • Poorly compacted soil.
  • Poor soil conditions, such as expansive soil.
  • Soil washing away due to poor drainage.
  • Tree roots drying out your soil.
  • Soil sliding down a hill and causing lateral movement against your foundation.

Pier And Beam Foundation Repair Cost

The cost to repair a pier and beam foundation can start from $1,200 and extend up to $30,000. It just depends on what needs to be repaired. Repairing a pier and beam foundation requires a lot of man-hours, and that includes working in a cramped crawl space.

There are five ways to repair a pier and beam foundation.

  1. Reshimming – Reshimming only involves making small adjustments. Sometimes, the beams, or joists that rest on the beams, come loose or experience some movement. Small pieces of wood are wedged and installed between the piers and beams to fill any gaps. This type of repair can be done in a day and costs between $1,200 to $7,500.
  2. Repairing or adding new piers – Piers can degrade over time and may need to be rebuilt. Or, a contractor can add more piers to evenly support and distribute the weight of your home. Repairing or adding new piers can take two days or more to complete, costing between $4,000 to $6,000.
  3. Replacing beams – Wooden beams (and the joists that rest on them) can fall apart over time from rot or mold. The overall cost depends on how many beams need to be replaced. Every piece of wood is connected to another piece of wood. To replace a rotted beam, you need to detach it from other non-affected beams. Also, during repairs, you need to support the home while the beams are being replaced. Based on these reasons, extensive beam repair can range from $10,000 to $20,000. Read more about replacing rotten beams and floor joists.
  4. Crawl space support jacks – Using steel support jacks, you can lift a weak joist or beam back into place. Depending on how many jacks are needed, the price can range from $5,000 to $15,000.
  5. Underpinning – If the existing piers on the perimeter of your home start to fail and minor repairs are not a viable option, contractors will recommend underpinning. Underpinning is when push or helical piers are driven down under the foundation until they reach stronger soil. Then, hydraulic jacks lift the foundation back up and level the home. Depending on how many push or helical piers are needed, the price can go up to $30,000.
Wooden flooring base under construction. Closeup on pile foundations support the floor.
Underpinning graphic

Keep in mind, all of these prices vary depending on how much work is needed. For the most accurate cost breakdown, call a professional foundation repair specialist to inspect your home.

Who Do You Call For Pier And Beam Foundation Repair?

If you need pier and beam foundation repair, who do you call? Get in touch with Foundation Professionals of Florida! We’re an award-winning and top-performing company servicing Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virgin Islands, and the Florida Keys. Besides foundation repair, we provide basement waterproofing, crawl space repair, slab lifting, and more. Schedule an appointment today!