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Efficient Pier and Beam Foundation Enclosure Guide

Winter is on the way and so is the need to keep the cold out, conserve energy and save money. If you live in a home with a pier and beam foundation, the open-air circulating beneath your floor can make it difficult to keep your home warm during cold seasons.

You may also want to enclose your pier and beam foundation to enjoy more space in your home, especially when the house lacks curb appeal. So in this article, we will go over the means of enclosing a pier and beam foundation to make it more functional and aesthetically satisfying.

We will also discuss what type of materials you should use when enclosing a pier and beam foundation alongside some other things that need to be considered before commencing such an undertaking.

How Do You Enclose Pier and Beam Foundation?

Pier and Beam Foundation

Pier and Beam refer to a foundation type in which a series of closely spaced (about 2-3 ft) deep and at least 8 ft vertical loads bearing masonry pier walls bear on longitudinal reinforced concrete beams.

The process of enclosing the pier and beam foundation is mostly done with brick or such masonry construction. To achieve a more traditional look, consider using terracotta brick. Another usable option is the stucco which casts a classical-style plaster over the top of an otherwise unfinished wall surface.

For every square foot of wall height, measure 12 square feet (or 120 square feet) to enclose the pier and beam foundation for both sides. In this case, we assume that two sides are exposed to the weather. If eave has to be taken into account, add one square foot per square foot needed.

The small amount of material required should provide plenty of cover for the desired finish look when the gable construction faces outwards rather than towards each other in series.

Pier and beam foundation is more like an exception to the contemporary convention that all building design should be done with steel or reinforced concrete frames derived from principles of structural engineering.

With such a system, most people retain their initial foundations. They build upon them and replace one complete floor at a time.

It’s good to note that building codes generally limit roof heights to three stories where piers are less than 24 inches wide- not more than two floors above grade without adequate bracing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pier and Beam Foundation

Starting with benefits, piers and beams create a stronger platform that may be reinforced. They are crucial to reducing California earthquakes. Pier and beam humid zones are smaller than other foundations in humid climates.

However, the pear and beam foundation demands a substantial excavation at the start of construction. That requires a new slab, especially if you intend future repairs or modifications.

Since they don’t have continuous soil contact, you’ll have less space for landscaping and trees can’t be planted over them.

You will need a shield beam at least four feet in depth under the footing area since piers and beams require support legs built into them to bear weight.

What Does Science Say About the Pier And Beam Foundation?

Well, it all depends on the weight and height of the house, as well as the soil conditions. A scientific study revealed that reinforced per diem and beam foundations can provide great lateral stability compared to other foundations such as slab or tile and grade. It also explained its successful use in high-sided or cantilevered homes.

That said, however, there could be inconsistencies in soil conditions, which may affect how strong a foundation works. It’s important to consult with an engineer for this before taking any civil engineering step.

That way you’ll have information ahead of time. You don’t want your home settling unevenly after approving all blueprints. Otherwise, it can be more expensive to realize all these flaws during construction.

You’re probably wondering how much a pier and beam foundation costs. The standard price for this type of construction is between $1, 000 and $2, 000 per linear, subject to the size you need.

In the event that the project requires more than 500 feet of framing or more than one story up from ground level, then you’ll need to include installation costs and labor costs as well.

How to Keep Your Home against Cold Weather and High Bills

Pier and Beam Foundation

Additional Insulation

Whether you’ll do it yourself or hire a professional, insulating your foundation prevents heat from being lost through the floor. Experts recommend using insulation batts rated R-19 or higher.

Basically, R-19 refers to the thickness of the fiberglass batt. You can go thicker if so you wish, but it’s best to not use thinner batts when insulating the space between your joists.

Other usable insulation options include foam board insulation. It allows homeowners to place top floor joists and secure them with caulk or insulation tape. There’s also the spray-foam insulation, which is a mold-resistant solution that requires an expert application.

Seal the Gaps

You may want to seal any place where wiring and plumbing emerge from the crawlspace into the house. Consider doing the same to any place in your foundation wall where wiring and plumbing exists. This helps to keep out cold air and less desirable bugs.

Consider Adding Skirting

Reinforce your insulation project by adding skirting around the base of the home. Although skirting alone isn’t as effective as insulation, it can help combat wind flow beneath the structure.