The foundation of a home is just what it sounds like—the base that keeps the home standing.
Here in New Orleans, a common type of house has a pier construction, where the home itself sits a few feet off the ground. In this type of home, the foundation consists of several layers:
- At the base is a footing underground. The footing is made of a solid material like concrete or bricks.
- Sitting on top of the footing are piers, small towers that hold the house off the ground. Piers are made of a solid material like cement blocks or bricks. The piers rise three feet or more above the ground. For a finished home, the piers are the only part of the foundation that often remain uncovered (although some homeowners do cover up their piers with decorative lattices and the like).
- Sitting on the piers are sills, long pieces of very solid wood. Sills are roughly 6” x 6” square and many feet long. On the outside of the house, sills are usually covered with siding.
- Sitting on the sills are the joists, which are wood pieces that run across the length or width of the house, from one sill to another. Your home’s subfloor sits on the joists.
- In the older homes in New Orleans, the framing for the walls tends to sit directly on the sills, whereas in the newer houses the framing for the walls is placed on top of the joists. The framing isn’t part of the foundation, but is provided here to show you how the foundation relates to the part of the house you see every day. The framing relies on the foundation to keep the walls standing straight.
There are countless variations on these basic elements. For example, in older homes, each pier may have its own small footing underneath it. In homes more than 100 years old, there may be no footings at all, which can lead to sagging floors and damaged walls over time. Some homes feature piers that are quite wide, stretching several feet to provide a wide support for the sills.
Whatever the type of your foundation, Richard Earls Construction specializes in foundation inspection and repair, and will explain the process to you every step of the way. Give us a call to find out how we can help you with your foundation.