Pier And Beam Vs. Slab Foundation

Pier And Beam Vs. Slab Foundation

Pier & Beam And Slab Foundations Both Have Their Pros And Cons. Here’s Our Take On Both.

Pier And Beam Vs. Slab Foundation 1

As the Texas panhandle’s foundation experts, we’ve repaired all kinds of foundations, but by far, the most common around here is pier & beam and slab foundations.

They both have their strengths and weaknesses, and there are specific maintenance procedures and potential problems that come with each.

Here are the facts about both pier & beam and slab foundations, as we have come to know them through extensive research and 50 years of foundation repair experience in Amarillo.

Pier & Beam

Pier And Beam Vs. Slab Foundation 2

Pier & beam foundations are composed of elevated beams resting atop concrete pads. This means the foundation can withstand some amount of movement without cracking. They have also been shown to be better at withstanding earthquakes for this reason.

Pier & beam foundations are also great if you need protection from flooding. Water can pass underneath it without seeping into your home.

One of their downsides is that they need to be adjusted ideally every two to four years. This may seem excessive, but keeping up with this routine maintenance can DRASTICALLY reduce the risk of serious damage to your foundation down the line.

Pier & beam adjustment is not an invasive or particularly costly process, and the problems it can prevent are MUCH more serious, not to mention expensive.

If you notice your floors sloping, sagging, or bouncing, you should schedule a 27-Point Analysis as soon as possible.  At that point, something within your foundation is definitely misaligned.  Only a thorough inspection can tell you definitively what it is.

Pier & beam foundations are more expensive to build. Nonetheless, they tend to last a long time once they’re set up. Other than basic adjustments, there is less maintenance to worry about than with slab foundations. In the long haul, you can end up spending a lot LESS on pier & beam foundations than on slab foundations for this reason.

Slab Foundations

Pier And Beam Vs. Slab Foundation 3

Slab foundations get their name from the fact they are composed of a large concrete slab upon which the home rests. Because they do not require as much labor or materials, they tend to be less expensive to build than pier & beam foundations.

While slab foundations might seem like they’d be more stable, they are actually more prone to cracking and are more likely to break if jostled or if the ground swells.

They are also going to be less resistant to earthquakes, as their design is extremely rigid. While steel beams can absorb some motion, concrete will simply crack.

We recommend that you get your foundation inspected every few years just to make sure it hasn’t undergone any damage.

That being said, there are some VERY noticeable signs your slab foundation is in trouble.  The most obvious of these is the presence of significant cracks in your concrete.

If some of your slab foundations have begun to sink, there is still hope. You CAN replace the concrete, but this is expensive, time-consuming, and disruptive.

We recommend leveling your concrete instead.  While there are a few different ways to do this, our preference is slab-lifting foam.  Mudjacking (as the name suggests) is messy and only a temporary fix, at that.  Our polyurethane slab-lifting foam is stronger, more reliable, and eco-friendly.


Chances are, you didn’t choose your home based on the type of foundation it has. That being said, knowing the basics about your foundation is EXTREMELY helpful if you want to properly maintain your home for years to come.

Investing the time and money into keeping your foundation in good shape can prevent thousands of dollars in damage down the line.

Whether your Amarillo home has a pier & beam or a slab foundation, Childers Leveling is here to help.  Call us today for a 27-Point Analysis.

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