Pier & Beam: Redo or let it be?

amyinaustinApril 8, 2013

We live in Central Texas in an area with clay soils. Our 1929 bungalow is still standing on its original pier and beam foundation, large cedar posts, about 10" in diameter. They are all upright, showing no signs of rot or damage.

We've been in the house 7 years, and have not seen any evidence that it's "moving". We are about to embark on a kitchen remodel and had an engineer over to double check that the wall we wanted to remove wasn't load-bearing. He recommended that we might want to replace the foundation with concrete piers before we started work on the kitchen.

We'd had the foundation looked at previously and every professional has always shrugged and said we got lucky with our sturdy posts, that they're in great shape and don't need to be rebuilt or replaced. But we do want to sell the house in 5-10 years, and I would hate to put in a lot of tile, new doors, etc., only to have them crack and shift out of level if we needed to fix the foundation.

Ultimately, I decided that the original piers might be a huge turn off for buyers in the future, so we should replace them before remodeling. The engineer is drawing up plans that specify the depth that all the piers should be poured and how the foundation should be reinforced.

But this afternoon the foundation guy came to give a bid on the new plan and told us, once again, that it seemed wasteful to pour all new piers. Especially considering how much better the foundation is than others in the neighborhood. He suggested that, if we wanted to do anything, we go for the less costly option of leveling the house with metal shims, sawing down any uneven posts, and adding cinderblock posts between the existing posts for added stability. He speculated that the current foundation had at least 50 more years in it, and just needed maintenance.

I would, of course, LOVE not to drop 10k on foundation work. But I don't want to defer this if it needs to be done or will hurt the resale value of the home.

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We redid ours with wood and are very happy with it. In the current market there is no value to dumping a lot of monney into things that aren,t easily visual. If its in good condition I don,t see why it would hurt resale. I think if its not broke don,t fix it.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 11:29AM
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You cannot get piers as solid as 1929 wood likely is (one of the reasons it is still there).

Leave it alone.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Thank you, I really appreciate the advice. The wood is pretty miraculous!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2013 at 4:31PM
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