Pier Foundations

Piers Can Support Anything From a Deck to a House

UPDATED 11/27/2012

For use with unusual soils or steep slopes

Disturbing as little soil as possible
Pier foundations are unlike more conventional concrete footings and walls in that they support structural loads at a number of distinct points, not continuously. Pier foundations can be as simple as concrete-filled cardboard tubes dropped into hand-dug holes. But more complex foundations incorporating very deep piers or helical screws can support much greater loads.
To some green builders, one advantage of pier foundations is that they require less excavation and soil disruption than any other foundation type.

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May 13, 2010 4:54 AM ET

Concrete piers in a crawl space
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

It's impossible to answer your question without a site visit.

You need to consult an engineer and an experienced contractor.

May 12, 2010 7:29 PM ET

by Anonymous

I may need to install a few piers for a third floor addition on a house , i have one pressure point from roof load that my require under pinning of the foundation. Is there any compony that can instal piers inside of house crawl space. Truss company says there is a load of maybe 25000 lbs at one spot. Can one pier support that much wieght or does it take many ? job is in eastern ontario canada

Mar 31, 2010 4:24 AM ET

Foundation engineering
by Martin Holladay, GBA Advisor

If you live in an area subject to building codes, you clearly need to consult with an engineer. The answer to your question depends on local soil conditions, frost depth, and the characteristics of your house.

If you live in a rural area that is not subject to building codes, you need to purchase and study a collection of basic construction manuals before you begin building. Even a simple, classic book like the 1969 volume, "Low-Cost Wood Homes for Rural America: Construction Manual" (U.S. Department of Agriculture) will get you started.

In other words, if you aren't sure about how to build a foundation, you're tackling a job that may be over your head — at least until you do some more studying.

Mar 31, 2010 2:31 AM ET

house foundation
by Anonymous

I am building a home & thinking of using peir & beam . A ny suggestions on using cardboard tubes for concrete forms ? I plan on using concrete from a batch plant to get a quality mix . My only concern is how far apart to put the peirs &what diameter to use . My plans are about 1800 sq.ft. one story 3 bed room house w/a low pitch normal roof plan

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