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pier and beam vs slabPier and Beam vs Slab Foundations – Dallas Fort Worth

When shopping for a home in the Dallas Fort Worth area, there are seemingly endless decisions to be made. It can be a tough choice when it comes to where to buy, when to buy, and whether to choose a pier and beam vs concrete slab foundation. The entire process is enough to make anyone’s head spin!

We can’t help you choose the best school district, or select the perfect floor plan, but we can offer a quick lesson on the different foundation types to help you determine the right fit for your needs. Should your home ever experience foundation settling, the foundation repair method will depend on your foundation type.

First, let’s make sure that you understand the terminology for the two most common foundation types used in the Dallas Fort Worth area:


Pier and Beam Foundation – Dallas Fort Worth 

pier and beam foundation Texas

Commonly found in older homes, a pier and beam foundation is comprised of several footings with concrete bases to support the home’s structure. One way to determine if you have a pier and beam foundation is to look for a crawlspace beneath your house. Concrete slab foundations do not have crawlspaces, but pier and beam foundations have a convenient opening for easy access to electrical and plumbing lines.

Concrete Slab Foundation – Dallas Fort Worthpier and beam vs slab foundation

A concrete slab foundation, also known as a “slab-on-grade” foundation, is most common in new homes in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, specifically homes built after 1970. Generally, these types of concrete slab foundations are reinforced with steel beams known as tension rods.

Advantages and Disadvantages – Dallas Fort Worth

Pier and Beam Foundation – Dallas  Fort Worth

Advantage: The availability of a crawlspace in pier and beam foundation homes makes repairing electrical and plumbing issues a breeze. The hard part is convincing someone to crawl under there!

Advantage: The opening in the pier and beam foundation crawlspace also provides an opportunity to install additional insulation.

Advantage: Since the pier and beam foundation has individual piers and beams, it is easier to isolate specific foundation problems. This helps the homeowner avoid costly repairs to the entire foundation.

Disadvantage: Rodents often seek shelter in crawlspaces and can build nests beneath your home. Along with those pesky rodents come fleas and other insects too. Yikes!

Disadvantage: Moisture can easily enter the crawlspace, causing creaky floors, mold and rotting. The increase in bacteria can be accompanied by an unpleasant odor as well.

Disadvantage: Pier and beam foundations often cost more due to the added time and expertise involved in the construction process. However, if you are considering purchasing an older home with a pier and beam foundation you won’t have to worry about construction costs since the home was built years ago. In fact, it’s common in the Dallas Fort Worth area for homes built before the 1960’s to have pier and beam foundation types.

Disadvantage: Unprotected water utilities in crawl spaces are more likely to freeze in harsh winter temperatures.

Concrete Slab Foundation – Dallas Fort Worth

Advantage: Slab foundations are generally less expensive to construct and can be erected quickly.

Advantage: In cold weather, water utilities nestled within the slab are more resistant to freezing.

Advantage: It is easier to seal the home to prevent rodents and insects from inhabiting within.

Disadvantage: Slab leaks can cause major damage to your home’s foundation and repairs, in general, are more difficult to access without a convenient crawlspace.

Disadvantage: Concrete slabs can shrink, crack and even sink.

Which foundation type is more prone to settling?

When comparing pier and beam vs slab foundations, concrete slabs are more prone to settling in North Texas. Surprised? Consider that concrete slabs remain in constant contact with the soil. Texas’ severe moisture fluctuations have a direct impact on slab foundations. As such, homeowners are urged to implement foundation watering practices to balance the moisture level around the perimeter of their home.

Is purchasing a pier and beam vs slab home a “bad investment?”

Absolutely not. Pier and beam homes have many perks! The best way to ensure that any real estate purchase is a secure investment is by hiring a specialized professional to perform an independent evaluation.

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For information on TEC’s Licensed Home Inspectors click here.

Concerned about your home’s foundation? A Licensed Professional Engineer should be your first call. Click here for more information.

Call 817-576-1973 or click here to schedule your inspection.

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