Pier and beam foundations are common in older homes in Dallas – Fort Worth. Newer homes typically have concrete foundations because of the expense associated with the design and construction of a pier and beam home. Read the blog for the advantages and disadvantages of pier and beam homes in Tarrant County and Dallas County.

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How do I Know if I Have Foundation Problems?

How do I Know if I Have Foundation Problems?

Most homeowners don’t pay attention to their home’s foundation until something goes awry. If you ignore some of these indicators of foundation problems, you could cause unnecessary damage to your home. It is important to take a proactive approach to detecting and repairing foundation settling. This article from Seattle Times mentions that more and more people are suffering from home foundation problems, but how does one evaluate these problems in the first place?

Signs you need to check

Like spotting a disease in its early stages, it’s best to be vigilant when it comes to home inspection and maintenance. The foundation is an important part of your structure, and once it’s damaged, the market value of your house can decrease tremendously. More than that, you’ll spend thousands of dollars repairing what could’ve been corrected if only you spotted the signs. Here are some early signs of foundation problems that you should be aware of:

  • Cracks in the Walls

These could be horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or even come as a pattern following the path of bricks and cement.  However they may appear, cracks are never a good sign. When watching out for cracks, you should pay special attention to the “joints” of the foundation or areas where walls are joined together with other walls, doors, the ceiling or the floor. You should watch out for jagged cracks and vertical cracks especially.

  • Stuck Doors and Windows

If your doors or windows seem to stick out or you suddenly can’t close them as you used to, this could be a sign that your foundation is shifting.

  • Uneven Floors and Floor Gaps

If floors suddenly become uneven, or if you notice a gap between the floor and the wall, then something could be awry.

  • Nail Pops

Many things could cause nails to suddenly protrude from your wall, but this can be caused by foundation problems as well, as it could be a sign that the foundation has shifted.

Calling an expert

Once you’ve spotted any of these signs, it’s best to call an expert right away. Foundation problems don’t just disappear over time. In fact, they get worse and you don’t want the problems to reach a point when it will become too expensive to fix. Like any disease, you will save a lot of money and time by getting the problem evaluated by an expert early on. By being proactive in repairing your home and making that decision today, you can save thousands of dollars and prevent your home from further decline.

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Foundation Repair: Key Differences Between Pier and Beam vs Slab Foundation

pier and beam vs slabPier and Beam vs Slab Foundations

When shopping for a home, 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 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 floorplan, but we can offer a quick lesson on the different foundation types to help you determine the right fit for your needs.

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

pier and beam foundation Texas

Commonly found in older homes, pier and beam foundations are comprised of several footings with concrete bases to support the home’s structure. A crawlspace is created beneath the floor for easy access to electrical and plumbing lines.

Slab Foundationpier and beam vs slab foundation

A concrete slab foundation, also known as a “slab-on-grade” foundation, is most common in new homes, and those built after 1970. Generally, these types of slabs are reinforced with steel beams known as tension rods.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Pier and Beam Foundation

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

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

Advantage: Since the 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 crawl spaces 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.

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

Slab Foundation

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.

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

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

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