What Is A Raised Foundation (Types and Problems)

If your home was built pre 1979 it’s more than likely on a raised foundation, whether it be a stemwall, pier and beam, or cripple wall foundation.

Raised foundations were built primarily due to their affordable cost and accessibility.

Raised foundations were considerably less expensive than grading and pouring a concrete pad. In addition, raised foundations proved convenient for installing HVAC systemswaterand gas lines.

Particularly in the San Diego area and beach towns raised foundations are prevalent.

Raised foundations are built from the ground up. First a footing is poured and then a foundation wall is attached. The foundation wall is topped with a sill plate and rim joists. Exterior walls are then attached.

The dirt is then leveled out underneath the home and concrete pads with posts are utilized to support the girder beams. Girder beams are utilized lengthwise and the floor joists crisscross atop the girder beams.

The subfloor is then attached. Subfloors could be hardwood floors or pad and carpeting or even tile, depending on the age of your home.

Raised foundation homes often need to be:

During Your Inspection…

When your foundation repair expert arrives on scene for your foundation inspection, he will check the integrity of your concrete pads and will ensure the posts and beams have not deteriorated.

Our foundation inspections, whether they’re for a slab on grade foundation or raised foundation, all cover the same ground.

We take measurements of the outside of your home and document any evidence we might find that points to foundation heave or foundation settlement (both of which are caused by expansive soil).

Signs and Symptoms of foundation issues include:

The inspection also covers the inside of the home where a manometer reading is performed to determine if the home is settling or heaving. These measurements play a big part in determining maximum practical recovery down the line if a lift is required.

A manometer is a device that measures elevations by measuring vertical pressure from a pair of proprietary fluids sealed in its cord.

*Note – It’s not as complex as it sounds, and your specialist will be more than happy to show you how the Ziplevel works.

The specialist will utilize the Ziplevel/manometer to pinpoint the most level part of your home and set that point as zero (or the base unit).

The specialist then walks around the home and takes a series of measurements which show the areas where the floor may be sagging or bowing. These readings help determine which areas of the home to focus on when entering your crawlspace.

Fun Facts with Brian – Crawlspaces have earned their auspicious title because – you guessed it – you have to crawl into them to access them. Crawlspaces are an average of 18 inches in height. Not the most fun part of the job, but a necessary part of the inspection.

Crawlspaces can be accessed either from the outside or inside the home depending on how it was built. Some homes have a little opening/door on the outside of the home. Some homes have crawlspace doors in the closet in the master bedroom.

Raised foundations typically are sealed off pretty well from the outside world via screens or doors to keep out critters. However, rodents and reptiles often find their way into crawlspaces to escape the heat.

So, you may want to consider calling in an exterminator if you have rats chewing through your electrical beneath your home.

Check out our case study: Stabilizing A Raised Foundation In San Diego

We don’t focus on invasive critters during our inspection. We look at the integrity of the concrete pads and ensure the posts and beams have not deteriorated over the years. We look for moisturerot, and spalling.

What issues Dalinghaus Runs Into

We’ve seen cracked concrete padssplit wood beamstermite damagewood rot and missing posts.

We’ve seen bricks used in place of posts and cinder blocks with wood shims holding up an entire beam. All of these situations can cause a floor to be spongy, bouncy, sloping or bowed.

If you live in Southern California or Arizona and would like a FREE foundation inspection, click the link below –


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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