New build, wooden pier or block?

Old 12-04-19, 06:19 PM
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New build, wooden pier or block?

Iím having an ICF built. Iím doing some of the work and hiring out some. As I start Iíve run into a decision and two guys I trust are giving me differing advice. So, Iím trying to see what would be the best choice.

the exterior walls are ICF, 35í wide by 42í long, single story in the Midwest. Concrete reinforced Perimeter footers. One guy wants to do concrete pads as the base for the piers and then mortar block up to support the floor joists. This is a surprisingly expensive option. The less expensive option is to use precast concrete pads from Menards with either 6x6 or ideally 8x8 pressure treated posts and termite shields as a precaution. It will be an insulated crawlspace due to the ICF.

now where Iím building there arenít any codes, itís out in the sticks. The soil is good soil, no flooding, no seismic activity, etc. That said, I still want to build a safe home.
As you can guess the less expensive option I can do myself is the more attractive one for those reasons, but is it an acceptable way to build?

thank you for your assistance.
Old 12-04-19, 09:55 PM
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I've read your post several times and I'm pretty sure you omitted a few words here and there so, it's hard for me to make sense of it or know where to begin.

You are having an ICF (home? Foundation?) built.....

Joists dont go on piers... they either go on top of a beam or a load bearing wall. So if you use piers, they would be supporting a beam. (Not a joist) The joists would then rest on top of the beam. Personally, I don't know that I would use premade blocks. People use blocks like that to support decks (which is not to code, even for a deck, mind you...) They are sometimes used in the south with pier and beam construction (Google it) where there are a LOT of them positioned in a grid-like fashion so that the load on the blocks is evenly dispersed in this way.

If you use posts, you need soil tests and a structural engineer to tell you how big your post footings need to be... how many you need, what the span (distance apart) should be and they always go on undisturbed or properly compacted soil and contain rebar... because of the load they support. This is not only because of code... it's because building a house has some complicated MATH and your "good soil" has an unknown compaction psi. Pier footings also need to be below frost unless you plan to encapsulate (insulate and seal the ground and walls) and heat (condition) the crawlspace. Just because your ICF is insulated doesn't mean that the soil in the crawlspace wont freeze... especially around the perimeter. All this ensures stability and prevents future problems from settling. A house is only as good as its footings.

Hard to say more than that. Plus your builders know a lot more about your house plan than you have told us, so pretty hard to give advice without much to on go on. Dont know the size and type of floor joists you plan to use either so no way to guess how many supports you would need. But if the walls are ICF I dont know why they couldn't create a load bearing wall down the middle out of ICF for the joists to rest on. Floor trusses or I joists could easily span 17.5'. They must be worried the wont be able to get it the right height.
Old 12-05-19, 05:39 AM
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You are running a concrete footer around the outside so why not also run one down the center of the building.
Then use floor jacks to support the center beam.

I am not a fan of concrete on pads or even piers all the way up to the beam as it is unforgiving.
If anything shifts then you are screwed.
My neighbor at the lake had to take his apart with a jack hammer.

Also are these foundation guys or just guys.
If just guys then I would contact a foundation expert.
Old 12-05-19, 07:48 AM
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In my area (where we do have codes) the smallest footer for a pier is 24" x 24" so your pre-cast piers would be woefully undersized in my opinion. And, my big concern with them is that you wouldn't place them on hard, virgin soil which is key to any footer. I would follow the advice provided by XSleeper and manden. If doing everything else right why would you try to cut corners with your pier footings.

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