Until the early 50s, the Pier and Beam foundation was the most common type of foundation built in the Dallas and Fort Worth Texas region. The foundations tend to be robust and long lasting. Here are the common problems.
1. Decay or damage to wooden beams and/or wooden joists. May be caused either by excessive moisture, or termites. Solution: Replace damaged wood and re-shim.
2. Movement of interior piers. Until recently, the support for interior beams was wooden posts either sunk into the ground, or atop a concrete pad. Most common problem is water induced upward and downward movement of the piers. Solution: assure that water can not get under the foundation. Once moisture is stable, re-shim.
3. Movement of exterior piers. Cause of movement is often sinking piers. Exterior piers may be either wooden posts, or concrete perimeter with concrete piers. Solution: Assure proper water drainage away from exterior, and possibly add helical piers. Shim.
4. Shim failure. It is not uncommon to find that a house has been shimmed with a variety of non-standard materials such as plywood, sheetrock, soft wood or even cardboard. Solution: Replace inferior shim material with steel.
5. Inferior construction. Pier and beam houses built in the early 1900s may have inadequate load supporting ability, or may be failing due to the addition of a second story. Solution: Add steel reinforcing beams and shim.
Seldom does the cost of repair of a pier and beam foundation approach that of a more recently built slab foundation.