Building a pier and beam foundation is relatively simple and it involves digging holes around the perimeter of the structure, placing concrete blocks in the holes to serve as piers and laying the beams on the piers. A pier and beam foundation is easier to build than a conventional foundation, which requires the use of heavy machinery for digging a large foundation. Having a pier and beam foundation also provides a crawlspace, which provides easier access to a building's utilities for easier maintenance.
The following are the basic steps in building a pier and beam foundation.
- Mark the piers Mark the locations on the perimeter and dig where the piers are going to be built. Start by digging an 18-inch-by-24-inch hole from the corner of the building structure. Space the piers every 36 inches around the perimeter.
- Lay down the blocks Place cinder blocks in the holes on their side one on top of the other. Keep piling the blocks until they are 24 inches above the hole. Repeat on every hole making sure that the blocks are level are at the same height and perfectly vertical.
- Fill the holes Fill the hole and make sure that the ground is firmly compressed around the blocks.
- Build the internal piers Repeat the process of building piers inside the outer piers, but the piers should be spaced every 48 inches this time around.
- Add the joist and the beams Lay 2-inch-by-6-inch joists on their ends onto the piers at 24-inch intervals. Make adjustments as some spans may settle.