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How to Enclose Pier and Beam Foundation?

Are you thinking about enclosing your home’s pier and beam foundation? Do you wish to learn how to do it yourself? This guide will help you understand the basics and steps necessary.

Using concrete blocks and bricks to enclose a pier and beam foundation is possible. Likewise, you can use pressure-treated plywood to be the skirt surrounding the area. However, you should be aware that some cities within Texas have differing building codes regarding this. You should check. If you hire a professional, they’ll make sure you’re up to code.

Are you planning to enclose a pier and beam foundation and want to use pressure-treated plywood? You’ll learn about this below. Plus, we offer tips on decorating the concrete piers once you’re done. Let’s jump in now!

man sitting outside house

Using Pressure-treated Plywood to Enclose Pier and Beam Foundations

When you use this method, you’ll get done quickly. Overall, it’s easy to install, and you’re not waiting for concrete to dry. Plus, pressure-treated plywood is generally cheaper to purchase than regular concrete bricks.

Here are the steps to take to do it:

  1. Dig your channel between the two beams, ensuring it’s about 1 foot deep.
  2. Measure the overall distance between those two beams. You should start at the top of your rim joist and go to the depth of your channel.
  3. Trim the plywood to match the measurements you took in the last step. Ideally, using plywood the same thickness as your wall sheath would be best.
  4. Put the plywood in the channel, nailing the top of it to your rim joist.
  5. If you’re in a cold climate or have clay-like soil, you’ll need to add 1 inch of gravel to the bottom before installing the drain.
  6. Fill your channel with the gravel up to your grade level.
  7. Repeat this process to install the plywood until you’ve fully enclosed the pier and beam foundation.
  8. You may also install siding similar to your exterior walls to cover up the plywood used on the foundation.

Though these simple steps for enclosing a pier and beam foundation are easy to understand, you might not be able to do the work alone. In this case, hiring a professional to help you install the foundation correctly is wise.

Decorating the Pier and Beam Enclosure

You want the enclosure to look visually appealing when you’re done. There are various ways to decorate the pier and beam enclosure. For example, you can paint the wood or install siding similar to the house’s walls. Likewise, there are many other materials to consider, and they will work on just about anything, even if you don’t have a pier and beam foundation.

Flower Beds and Hedges

A hedge is simply a wall of plants that feature dense leaves. A low flower bed or hedge can decorate the exterior wall and your pier and beam foundation. Plus, you can select flowers that will complement the color of your house.

Overall, flower beds and hedges serve other purposes, too. They will add more privacy to your home if they grow enough. Plus, they’ll ensure the ground around the foundation isn’t too dry. If that happens, the ground might sink under the pier and beam foundation.

green leafed hedges

Just remember that the ground where you’ll plant the flowers or hedges must be lower than the ground leading to the foundation. You don’t want any water to go toward the piers and beams. If that happens, it will weaken or even damage the foundation.

If the ground around the house is pretty even, you can add more soil around it and the crawl space. This will help the water move away from the foundation.

Check your water flow as you start tending the plants and caring for them. Make sure no water moves toward the foundation.

Lattices

A lattice is simply a decorative layer made of thin wood strips. Those pieces of wood are placed to make a diamond pattern, often similar to a chain link fence. Lattices offer a country style and relaxed feeling for the house.

Consider painting the pier and beam foundation black and installing lattices around that. Then, you can color your lattice to match the exterior walls.

Overall, this is a relatively cheap decoration for your foundation. Many people use the diamonds created by the wood to hang small lights up for special occasions. Regardless, it’s visually appealing and will make your foundation pop! Plus, it gives you easy access if you must go under the foundation.

Stucco

Stucco is considered a concrete-based product. It’s often composed of sand, cement, water, and line. The thin finishing material gets applied to your outer walls.

Having a stucco finish will make the pier and beam enclosure insect- and fire-resistant. Plus, it is classy and classic.

It’s easy to apply stucco to your enclosure. Simply install a layer of wire mesh and felt to your plywood before you put the stucco layer on. That wire mesh will help the stucco grip the wood.

Corrugated Metal Sheets

Metal sheets are often used in outdoor projects. They’re inexpensive, light, quick to install, and easy to trim. Plus, they come in various colors to match your walls.

Likewise, metal sheets add a waterproofing layer to the pier and beam foundation. They’re easier to repair, as well.

When installing metal sheets, you don’t have to bury them in the ground. Instead, you can use galvanized screws and screw them into the enclosure. Position the sheet directly under your rim joist for the best results.

Stone Veneer

Stone veneers are called fake stones, generally made from pigments, aggregates, and Portland cement board. You can easily add the beauty of natural stone to your enclosure without a significant price tag.

Just remember that stone veneer isn’t cheap. It’s less expensive than natural stones but still pretty high compared to the other decorations listed here.

Consider installing it directly on the enclosure or as the skirting layer. You don’t require a pier and beam foundation to enjoy this style.

pile of stone

Natural Stone

Natural stone comes in various shapes and sizes; you’ll choose what you like most. Typically, you want it to match the landscaping and your house. It will look elegant, but the downfall is that it’s expensive and often difficult to install. Therefore, you’ll want to work with a professional.

However, natural stone is quite durable. It doesn’t require much maintenance. The top choices are flint, quartzite, limestone, marble, sandstone, granite, and travertine.

Brick/Brick Veneer

Layers of brick can add life and excitement to your enclosure, and it doesn’t have to be accurate. Just like you can choose stone veneer instead of natural stones, you may find fake bricks (brick veneer). It’s easy to install over any materials you use for the enclosure.

However, you can build the enclosure out of bricks to save time, installing the brick veneer later as it ages. Still, this is expensive.

Pebbles

Some people have lower pier and beam foundations. If that’s the case, you can stack pebbles of varying colors on top of each other for decoration. It won’t completely cover your enclosure but will prevent water from getting into the foundation.

Plus, you can use pebbles in the surrounding area to provide a more refined appearance.

Concrete Blocks

Concrete blocks are a great way to cover an enclosure. Some homeowners cover the enclosure with concrete and add pebbles to decorate the ground.

Overall, concrete is quite easy to install, and it’s pretty cheap. However, you must decide if you want full concrete blocks around the enclosure or if you would rather have a thin film of concrete covering the foundation.

Wood

Natural wood offers a warm feeling for your enclosure. Many people use naturally-stained wood and line the panels horizontally on the plywood. However, you could paint your plywood black and install vertical strips of wood every couple of feet, having horizontal strips between them.

wooden wall

Common Problems Pier and Beam Foundations Typically Have

Damage to the pier and beam foundation can cause instability in your house. Therefore, you will want to check the foundation periodically for signs of problems. In most cases, you’ll want to repair any issues immediately, and this will likely require you to hire a professional to do the job.

Termite Problems

Termite infestations are a common problem with these foundations. They will eat the wood of the foundation, which is why it’s helpful to enclose it.

Shifting Beams

The beams could shift because of aging. If you notice the floor joists of your pier and beam foundation sagging, that’s likely the cause. Most professionals will install shims to fix the problem. However, they may have to remove and put in new piers to avoid the issue in the future.

Pier Collapse

The foundation is designed to provide stability, but the piers could sink into the ground without proper drainage or collapse because of too-high wind loads. Then, your foundation will be unstable because the piers are uneven.

Poor materials and natural aging can be the cause. Therefore, you might want to hire a professional to add pier stabilization shims to assist.

Final Thoughts for Enclosing a Pier and Beam Foundation

There are countless ways to enclose your pier and beam foundation and many materials you could use. Though it’s possible to DIY, it’s often better to hire a professional. Consider working with Quality Foundation Repair Austin for the best results. Schedule your free estimate today!

FAQs About Pier and Beam Foundations

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