Water penetration and shifting piers

Water penetration into your crawlspace is going to negatively impact the performance of your foundation.  Wet conditions will make the soil expand and lift up piers, but conversely it will make the soil softer and may drive load bearing piers deeper into the ground.  Seasonally, piers will sink and rise up in response to weather cycles.  Over time they may not make good contact with the beam that supports your walls and floors.  Seasonal adjustment of piers is a necessary piece of your home maintenance program.  Water penetration into the crawlspace will make this a more frequently needed task.  Pictured is a pier that has shifted and twisted the beam it is supporting.  It is a block pier that appears to have been added next to an original wooden Bois d'Arc pier to provide needed additional support as part of foundation repairs on the home.  Regretfully, those foundation repairs have not held up over time because the underlying issue of water penetration was not addressed.  Water penetration was greatest on one side of this block pier making it settle more on one side.  As the pier settles the load increases on the side that is least able to support it.  Most or all of this could have been avoided if the cause of the water penetration had been addressed.  Repair of the perimeter beam or siding is crucial if there are openings into the crawlspace.  Lot and drainage improvements may be necessary if water is leaching under the perimeter beam.  Whatever the cost of those improvements, it will likely be less expensive than periodic foundation repairs.


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