How foundation failure affects concrete slab, pier & beam foundation?

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For any house, the importance of its foundation is absolute. Let’s have no second thoughts on it. The significance of the foundation can be summed up in one phrase — No foundation; No house.

Moving on, having a foundation does not suffice. For a house to be safe and habitable, a sound and stable foundation is a must.

What does this mean?

This implies the need for a foundation that is structurally sound. One that stands the test of time alongside external factors like weather, moisture, etc. If not, seeking foundation repair in Knoxville will be a regular task for you.

Understanding foundation failure and its effect can help you gauge your foundation’s health and take necessary measures. However, before that, let us understand the different types of foundations.

Types Of Foundations:

  • Concrete Slab foundation

By far the most popular home foundation system found in Knoxville. As the name suggests, this system works on concrete slabs. To further its rigidity, the slabs are reinforced with steel. 

A concrete slab foundation also allows for french drain installation. This ensures the drainage system is intact and works seamlessly. 

This system is popular because of the swiftness at which this foundation can be laid. Also, it is inexpensive compared to other foundation systems.

  • Pier and Beam foundation

This system is mostly found in places that are prone to flooding. Houses in localities with uneven surfaces or loose soil underneath invest in pier and beam foundation.

This foundation is built with a combination of brick or stone piers and wooden beams. With a slight elevation, this system allows for a substantial crawl space. 

The space beneath and the elevation help the owners during the plumbing and electrical work. For commercial buildings, pushpin pier systems work well as they have a better load capacity.

Now, let us see the various reasons for foundation failure.

  • Poor soil conditions

For a foundation, the soil underneath is the inevitable support. So, if the soil conditions are poor, foundation failure is a given.

  • Moisture levels

Building up and stagnation of water or moisture can handicap the foundation from the inside. 

  • Drainage issues

Lack of waterproofing, plumbing leaks, and other drainage issues are different recipes for the same disaster — foundation failure.

  • Wrong system installation

Before a foundation system is installed, factors like locality, weather, surface uniformity must be considered. Having a concrete slab on an uneven surface may be counter-productive.

  • Weather conditions

Sinking or shift of soil is caused by changes in weather conditions. And these are detrimental to your foundation’s health.

Weather conditions

Bonus Tip: Do not neglect any sign of foundation damage. Contact firms involved in foundation repair in Knoxville and get it rectified. 

Putting off foundation repair is not at all a good idea.

Further, let us understand how the failure of a foundation affects the concerning foundation systems. 

Concrete Slab Foundation:

Even though concrete slab foundation has been adopted by the majority in construction, it is not fool-proof. Multiple causes can lead to the failure of a concrete slab foundation.

Some of them are:

  • Upheaval and Settling

The rising (upheaval) and sinking (settling) of the basement can disrupt the foundation. Also, both of these events and their extent cannot be predicted even by professionals. 

You must look for signs like uneven floors, jammed windows, or even a tiny pit. These indicate the effect of either upheaval or settling. 

  • Cracks

Naturally, a concrete slab settles slightly after installation. However, during this process, cracks pop up. If unattended, these cracks can turn calamitous. 

Also, upheaval and settling aggravate the cracks to result in permanent damage. These cracks allow for the entry of moisture and insects which further harm the foundation.

  • Shifting piers

Piers are installed to add to the durability of the foundation. Yet, they too are capable of causing damage to the foundation. I-beam installation for concrete slab foundation is common.

However, piers and beams are prone to underground shifting. Loose soil and settling are common causes of this shifting.

All these can be fixed by either slabjacking or piering. These two processes help in leveling the surface and ensuring the foundation doesn’t crumble.

Now, we move onto the pier and beam foundation and how it is affected by foundation failure.

Pier and Beam Foundation:

Apart from a stable foundation, the pier and beam system is adopted for the flexibility it provides. Its elevation helps owners to fix plumbing and electrical issues underneath. 

Despite its sturdiness, the pier and beam foundation is prone to damage.

  • Drainage

A habitual culprit of pier and beam foundation damage is improper drainage. This system is prone to leaks and flooding. 

Even a small leak can result in major damage to the foundation. The consistent dripping of water into the piers and beams is ruinous. 

Due to inadequate drainage facilities, moisture settles down amidst the piers and beams. Also over time, the wetness may result in upheaval. And in some time, the foundation loses its stability. 

An ideal solution is to invest in french drain installation for your foundation. 

  • Poor construction

Construction of the pier and beam foundation is not an easy task. It requires a complete understanding of the basement and its adjacent conditions. Based on these, a foundation needs to be designed. 

From faulty designs to low-quality materials, the reasons for failure are numerous. Poor construction of the foundation is tough to notice or predict. This makes it harder for professionals to repair the foundation.


This articulation reveals how foundation failure occurs and how it affects the foundation systems. To safeguard your basement from such issues, consider investing in a professional foundation repair firm.

Foundation repair in Knoxville requires local knowledge and experience. Both of which you receive by associating with Guardian Foundation Repair. 

We provide an all-inclusive service to secure your foundation. You can contact us here and ensure your foundation is in the safest hands.

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