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Be it the architect, builder, or repair contractor at blame, there are many defects to be found within the walls and floors of a home.
These defects can undermine its structural integrity and cause the need for foundation repair. Many homes lose their intended
functionality because of those defects, and the owner is left unhappy and confused about why their home is so distressed and fatigued.
One common defect in older pier and beam homes is missing beams. It is quite common to see nothing but a bottom plate under
load bearing walls. This can be seen often under the exterior walls, but can be found under the center walls of the house, and also
in other areas. The floor joists, flooring, and walls, all rest on this flat piece of wood called a sill plate (called a plate because it is flat
like a plate). This plate can bend like a rubber band, causing the floor above to easily sag and bow.
This can easily be remedied by placing a wood beam or a multiple floor joist, up against the floor, immediately under the
unsupported wall. The wood beam or multiple floor joists can then be lifted to raise the floor and wall to it's intended height. It can
then be supported by footings and piers underneath. A structure should never be built like this in the first place, but when has,
there is no choice but to correct it.
Crawl Space Foundation Settlement, Sagging, Leveling and Repair
Foundation Repair Inspection Charleston SC, Macon Ga, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
Termite Damage Inspection In Charleston SC, Macon Ga, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
Foundation Water Damage in Charleston SC, Macon Ga, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
Sagging Floor or Foundation in Charleston SC, Macon Ga, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
Foundation Settlement Inspection in Charleston SC, Macon, Atlanta and Savannah Ga
Foundation Cost Estimate in Charleston SC, Macon, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
Foundation Damage Inspection In Charleston SC, Macon, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
Foundation Repair Inspection in Charleston SC, Macon, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
Foundation Inspections in Charleston SC, Macon, Atlanta and Savannah Georgia
"A house can settle all at once, and not sustain noticeable damage"
Settlement is typically only damaging when it is differential, meaning portions of the
foundation settle at different rates or different amounts. Theoretically, a house could settle
several feet all at once and not sustain any damage. Practically, if the amount of foundation
settlement is reasonable, uniform, and is not progressing, the only concerns Some of these
could be vertical cracks in the foundation, uneven floors, drywall cracks, chimneys pulling
away from the house, and tight doors and windows. Some of these problems can be tricky to
fix and sometimes it will not be practical to get things back to a level and plumb condition.
"Load-bearing and partition walls that are improperly supported are also a common defect"
The most common defect is unsupported walls. A wall rests on a floor, the floor rests on foundation supports that connect the down,
bowing the floors, pulling the roof and superstructure down with it. Where load-bearing partitions walls run parallel to floor joists,
the joist under the partition is doubled to support increased loads frequently occurring adjacent to the partition.
Sometimes we'll find a load bearing wall has been built in the same direction as the floor joists, and is IN-BETWEEN the floor joists.
When a heavy wall rests on floor boards with nothing underneath, it bows the floor down, causing a sag in the floor. Load bearing
walls are normally placed over the beams, piers or foundation walls that support the floor system. In some cases, the load bearing
wall was built over a single floor joist, the wall is too heavy for the joist, and the joist will need to be doubled-up for better support.
"Inadequate pier design and spacing is common under pier and beam homes"
Settled pier columns, sagging beams, and floor joist settlement within a crawlspace can lead to extensive cosmetic and structural
damage in a home if left uncorrected. Symptoms such as sloping floors and cracks in drywall are common when additional support
systems are needed within a crawlspace foundation.
Settling of pier columns in a crawl space foundation is most often caused by weak foundation
soils. Over time, these soils shift and settle with changes in moisture content and density,
causing movement of the pier columns and the beams above. Sagging beams can also cause
beams and joists to weaken over time.
See more about pier and beam foundation types. Inadequate pier design is quite common under
pier and beam homes where an inexperienced contractor has tried to install a makeshift
support. The most common defective supports used are wooden stiff legs, which is a piece of
wood stuck in the ground under the structure.
Sometimes stacked up bricks are used, and even sticks of pipe. If the support does not cover a
large area at the bottom, it is usually a poor support, and needs to be replaced. Under a pier
and beam structure, depending on the weight of course, a poured in place footing about 1 foot
in the ground, and about 2 feet by 2 feet, will usually support most pier and beams, if they are
placed on no further than 6 foot centers.
Poorly spaced piers are always a main concern with pier and beam foundations. The standard spacing
if the pier footings do not cover enough area on the ground, they are likely to settle into the ground. If
the piers rest on a base, or a concrete footing, it covers more area, and it will distribute the weight
more successfully. More piers will, of course, share the weight of the structure more successfully than
A main concern of a pier and beam structure involves undersized or poorly spaced lumber. A
the structure. A 4'' by 4'' can sometimes be used, but it increases the chances of sagging or than
the standard 6 feet apart, sometimes a 4'' by 4'' can be used, and a 4'' by 6'' can also sag if the
piers are placed too far apart.
"Improper sizing and spacing of floor joist and/or beams can increases the possibility of sagging and settlement"
Joists are usually installed on 16'' centers, and beams or girders are rarely installed further
larger the beam or joist, the greater the spacing that can be allowed without sagging and
settlement, depending on the amount of weight above. In cases where poorly spaced or
undersized joists, beams or girders are recognized, aditional lumber can usually be added to
give it strength, without the added expense of replacing any lumber.
Some pier and beam foundations lack beams or sills around the perimeter of the structure
and the floor joists. In these cases, the floor will be wavy and bow in many places under a
properly sized girder is added
"Cutting framing members to install plumbing or mechanical components can also weaken the structure"
Another construction mistake is when a plumber or air-conditioning installer decides that the
floor joists are blocking the path of his pipe or vent that he must install, so he just CUTS the
joists or girders he needs to fit in his material. This cutting of the structure forms a cantilevered
support, this weakens each side of the cut joist or girder, and weakens the strength of the
Bored holes are limited in diameter to one-third the actual joist depth, and the edge of the hole
cannot be closer than 2" to the top or bottom edges of the joist.
Do not cut notches in the top or bottom edges in the middle one-third of the joist span. Notches
in the outer thirds of the span cannot exceed one-sixth the actual joist depth, and cannot be
longer than one-third the depth. Notches made at a support, such as shown in Figure 23 for
joists supported by ledgers, cannot exceed one-fourth the actual joist depth.
Foundation settlement is not always the big problem it may look like to a homeowner. If the settlement has already created a
structural hazard, it will need to be addressed, and should always be evaluated by an crawl space foundation repair specialist.
There are not many gray areas with foundation settlement. The actual mechanics and possible reasons for excessive settlement
of crawl space foundations can be very complex. It is usually a case of repairing it and the costs generally varies from job to job.
What this entails varies tremendously based on what damage has occurred.
|Estimates, Inspections, Beam Repair, Pier Repair, Sill Repair, and Joist Repairs.
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Socastee, SC - Spartanburg, SC - Summerville, SC - Sumter, SC - Taylors, SC - Union, SC - Wade Hampton, SC - West Columbia, SC
Floor joist sizes range from 6'' to 12'' in pier and beam
foundations. The standard is an 8'' joist, but in some
houses a 12" is used. The larger the joist, the longer the
span it may reach without causing a sag or causing the
above floor to shake.
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"Settlement or defects are sometimes caused by poor construction or architectural design"
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