Image by Lindell Dillon
Using pier foundations comes with a number of benefits. As the house is lifted off the ground and away from the soil, problems with radon exposure and mould growth happen rarely if at all. Pier foundations are also regarded as environmentally safe options for building a new home, since the piers themselves can be made of toxic-free materials, such as concrete and steel.
Having pier foundations in a home may come with a few issues. These issues include termites, pests, and unattractive exposed crawl spaces. Fortunately, these are fairly easy and safe to remedy, if you know what to do and if you work with the right people. Here are a few tips.
Ensure Proper Drainage
Your architect must make sure that your pier foundations have proper drainage. They will have to consider your location. If you are building in a place with a high water table, you will need an underground drainage system.
Your architect will also have to factor in slopes and be sure the ground slopes away from your house. This will help keep water from flowing under your home. You would want to avoid this because not only will this allow puddles to form and welcome insects, but also it can saturate the soil and reduce its capacity to support your home.
Take Anti-Termite Measures
Pier foundations can suffer problems with termite infestation, even if your house has little to no wood in it. Insects can sneak into the house through cracks or openings in the piers, searching for wood.
To avoid this, you will need to treat the ground for termites and use treated wood for construction. For a more environmentally friendly option, you can use a metal termite barrier on the tops of your piers.
Insulate the Floors
The foundations itself might not need insulation, but your floors do, as they are exposed to outside weather from your house being lifted off the ground. As with an exterior wall, your architect can design your home to have your floor insulated and fitted with a vapour barrier. You can also combine your pier foundation with a floor framing system.
Cover the Foundations
It is safe to leave the area under the house open to prevent moisture and radon from building up. But the bare ground can look unappealing, even more so in the event of weed growth.
One solution is to cover the perimeter with a lattice fence to conceal the ground underneath and enhance the home’s appearance. You can also use gravel or stone to cover the ground underneath.