What is a pier foundation?
A pier foundation lifts a log home up off the ground so that the building is separated from the soil. Because there is very little direct contact with the ground, moisture and termites are less of a problem than with other types of foundations. Piers themselves can be made of concrete, masonry or insect-resistant wood. Pier foundations are unlike conventional concrete foundations in that they support structural loads at a number of distinct points. Some pier foundations are as simple as concrete-filled cardboard tubes dropped into hand-dug holes or poured concrete into forms. Some more complex pier foundations incorporate very deep piers that can support extremely heavy loads.
Most log home builders believe that pier foundations are environmentally friendly because they require less excavation and soil disruption than other types of foundations. All foundations can have problems in wet clay soils, especially when they freeze. However, this is especially true of pier-and-beam foundations where differential settlement can cause alignment problems. In solid soil, a pier foundation can provide a stable and long-lasting structural foundation. Pier foundations are often used for homes on a hillside or near a large body of water such as a lake, river or beach.
Be sure to ask locally what foundations are used and if in doubt seek the advice of a local structural engineer before you commit to a specific type of foundation.