Table of Contents for this Page
- Pier and Beam Foundation Cost
- Pier and Beam Foundation Cost Range
- Average Total Costs
- Overview of Pier and Beam Foundations
- Pier and Beam Foundation Cost Factors
- Installation and Supplies Cost Details
- Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
- Related Projects
- DIY or Hire a Pro for this Project?
- Comparison Costs from Leading Resources
Cost Range of a Pier and Beam Foundation
The cost range for a pier and beam foundation is around $6,100 to $17,200. An average price for most homeowners is right around $12,500 for a pier and beam foundation. The cost per square foot of a pier and beam foundation averages $9.20 per square foot of excavated space.
These prices are for a pier and beam foundation installed completely by a pro foundation contractor. They include minor excavations if needed, digging and pouring the concrete piers, and installing beams and the foundation structure on top of the piers. Pier and beam foundation cost is around half or less of a full foundation and comparable to a crawlspace foundation (very similar), so that’s a benefit. But you lose the options that come with a full basement foundation such as living space.
DIY is doable. Of all foundation types, this one is the most DIY friendly since pier and beam construction doesn’t require heavy excavation, framing walls as in a poured foundation or building cinder block walls in a block foundation. Concrete can be mixed onsite rather than brought in by a truck – though ordering delivered concrete is an option for a home with a large number of piers to be poured.
Average Cost Ranges
Overview of a Pier and Beam Foundation
Pier and beam foundations are usually considered where the ground either can’t be excavated or only shallow excavation is possible. Common reasons for this are bedrock near the surface or the failure of a perc test due to a high water table.
Basic construction starts with the piers. A lot of sites suggest that holes are dug “down to the bedrock,” but that’s not universally applicable. Where bedrock isn’t near the surface, holes must be deep enough to provide a stable base – always well below the frost line where necessary. Footings (footers) called pads are poured to support the piers. Both the pads and piers are reinforced with rebar.
The size and spacing of the piers generally depend on the size of the beams you’ll be using – the load they can carry. A multi-story structure requires more piers and/or beams with larger dimensions. In most instances, an engineer either creates the design or signs off on it to ensure it meets local codes and, of course, will do its job of supporting the home you intend to build.
Wood or steel beams are positioned on top of the piers. Most extend 12” to 48” above the ground. The horizontal structure that supports the home’s flooring system rests on the beams. It is typically wood, but steel can be used.
The area beneath the foundation – or the home – is usually only a few feet high. That’s similar to a crawlspace, and depending on conditions, the area might be suitable for storage.
The exterior of a pier and beam foundation, also called pier and grade beam, can be enclosed with various materials depending on your local climate. Some of these foundations use a short concrete wall for a perimeter.
Once enclosed, the perimeter can be left exposed or backfilled to conceal it.
Pier and Beam Foundation Cost Factors
Where will your project fall on the range from $7.60 – $10.75 per square foot? These factors will assist you in narrowing your price estimate.
- Amount of Excavation Required – Some homes require a pier and beam foundation because of shallow bedrock. These require little excavation. Where other issues like a high water table or deep frost indicate the need for pier and beam construction, more material might be removed at greater expense.
- Size of the Foundation – Of course, larger foundations cost more. But cost per square foot goes down a little as the size of the structure increases.
- Number of Piers – Heavier structures often require piers spaced more closely together. The soil bearing capacity also factors into the number of piers. In most cases, they are spaced 5-10 feet apart.
- Height of Piers – In areas where flooding is likely, homeowners might use higher piers to lift their homes above potential flood waters.
- Amount of Concrete Needed – The number and the depth of piers determine how much concrete you need. On depth, for example, 1 cubic yard of concrete is sufficient for five piers with 8” diameter but only two piers of 12” diameter when they are 48” tall.
- Drainage – In wet soils, French drains or other drainage system is installed to carry water away from the piers to prevent erosion and shifting soils.
- Professional Design Fees – A soil scientist or engineer is usually required to determine issues like soil bearing capacity, live and dead loads and therefore the number, sizes and spacing of piers.
- Permit Cost – These foundations require a permit that includes an inspection of the piers and of the completed foundation, at minimum.
P & B Foundation Services and Costs
Here is a short list of the raw materials used in pier and beam foundations and their cost. Even if you don’t DIY, it gives you a look at where your money goes.
- $35 – $55 per Cubic Yard | Pea Stone or Gravel for beneath the piers, if called for in the design
- $110 – $160 per Cubic Yard Delivered| Mixed Concrete Delivered for Pier Footings, if employed, and Piers
- $0.55 – $0.70 per Square Foot | Steel Rebar for the piers
- $2.50 – $4.25 per Linear Foot | 4”x6” Treated Wood Beams
Permits, Inspection, and Labor Costs
Permits and Inspection
- $225 – $750+ | The cost of the permit is based on the size of the pier and beam foundation, number of inspections required and local fees.
Labor cost of a pier and beam foundation is a greater percentage of the total than for other foundation types because the horizontal structure is hand-built on site.
Here are some of the labor costs and related charges for construction of a foundation.
- Wages | $20 – $45 or more per hour. Wages have increased along with building materials, so foundation costs are quite high compared to five years ago. Laborers make around $20 per hour while foremen and skilled tradespeople make $30 to $45 or more/hour.
- Excavation | $100 – $200 per hour for an excavator and operator. Clearing the building site and digging pier holes for most pier and beam foundations comes to less than $1,000 on most jobs.
- Concrete Delivery | $110 – $160 per cubic yard. A 1,600 square foot pier and beam foundation with an average number of 8” piers and footings requires 12 to 18 cubic yards of concrete at a cost of $1,300 to $2,900
Time Required for a Perc Test and Report
The timeline below shows workdays. Expect some delays caused by weather or contractor scheduling conflicts.
- Up to a Half Day | Site Excavation of the site and digging the pier locations
- About 1 Day | Setting the Concrete Forms and Pouring Footings and Beams plus several more days to allow the concrete to harden
- 3-10 Days | Constructing the Wood and/or Steel Beam Structure on top of the piers
If you’re researching pier and beam foundation cost, perhaps you’re also planning to develop the property further such as installing a concrete driveway. Here are related outdoor projects and costs that might be useful in your research.
Are You a Pier and Beam Foundation Company?
If so, head over to our Costimates Pro’s page, and help us make this page better and more accurate for both our visitors and your future customers.
DIY or Hire a Pro
DIY enthusiasts with time to do it and who enjoy developing a piece of property often build their own pier and beam foundations.
Keys to success are:
- Professional design – or professional approval of your design – including footing/pier depths, pier diameters, spacing and beam sizes.
- Setting the pier forms to ensure their tops are laser-level.
- Using the right rebar size and configuration in the footings and piers.
- Mixing or ordering the right concrete mix and strength for your design.
- Constructing the wood and/or steel beam structure on the piers. Having a second set of hands for this phase of the work can be very useful.
Of course, you’ll have the responsibility of ordering all materials and scheduling their delivery and the delivery of concrete when it is needed.
Compare Costs from Leading Resources
- HomeGuide: $7.00 - $11.00, Per Square Foot
- Basement Guides: $9.00, Average Per Square Foot
- House Method: $10.50, Average Per Square Foot
- Plasticine House: $8.00 - $15.00, Per Square Foot
- Houzz: $4.00 - $8.00, Per Square Foot
Common Questions and Answers
What is a pier and beam foundation?
One with vertical concrete piers supporting a horizontal wood or steel structure the house is built upon.
What is a post and beam foundation?
A foundation using vertical posts resting on piers and horizontal beams to support the house.
Is post and beam construction good?
Yes. It is the best foundation where bedrock, wet soils or potential flooding exclude a full basement.
How much is a pier and beam foundation?
Average cost is between $8,500 and $14,000 depending on size.
How much is post and beam foundation repair?
Average repair cost is $5,000 to $7,500 to replace damaged piers or posts or to level a home. The cost to lift a home to repair the pier and beam foundation can be higher than the original foundation cost.