How to Level a Pier Foundation

concrete and shovel in a wheelbarrow
  • 10-60 hours
  • Advanced
  • 200-1,000
What You'll Need
Posthole digger
Plumb line
String level
Square concrete blocks

Building a strong and safe home requires a strong foundation and a pier foundation is an exact fit for a strong foundation requirement on any type of terrain. Having a pier foundation involves constructing a deck just a few feet above the ground. This deck has posts or pillars as the support. In the past, the pillars were wooden but now the posts are built using concrete.

Pier foundations are common in coastal and hilly areas. The posts constructed in pier foundation must be at a level for providing a uniform deck over which the structure of the house can be built.

Choose a location

In the whole property available to build the home, choose the exact location where the foundation should be laid. Now according to the blueprint of the building choose locations where the pier foundation holes will be dug.

Dig Hole

Dig a hole using post hole diggers or shovel at the specified location of each pier. The minimum depth is 18 inches for any home but to ensure higher strength 36 inches depth is recommended. This depth can take the weight of the building better.

Place the Concrete Blocks

cement block with a post

With the holes ready, place the square concrete blocks in the holes. Use square blocks rather than circular blocks, as they are stronger. For making crawling space, ensure the concrete blocks are at least 18 to 24 inches above the ground level. This might require stacking the concrete blocks if one length block is covered in the dug hole. There is no need to use extra concrete to stack them; the weight of the building structure keeps them firm.

Check for Vertical Level

Use the plumb line or vertical level instrument to check all the piers are in level. Check accurately for any error in leveling.

Fill the Hole

Using small stones and pebbles fill the spaces in the hole. It is essential as it blocks any large movement space in the hole, so piers don’t go wayward under the weight of the building or during earthquakes. Fill up the remaining spaces between the concrete block and small stones with the dirt and mud dug up.

Level with String Level

person scooping cement

In the penultimate step to leveling, use the string level to ensure the adjacent piers are leveled at the top. The string level is used at the top of the concrete blocks to check for level between them. Any error should be avoided and level the piers using the dirt to fill up the hole.

Tamp the Soil

After the establishment and leveling of the piers, tamper the soil using a tamper or leveler, so the pier's foundation becomes firm. Tamping the soil settles the mud and dirt firmly in and around the pier. It pushes and presses the inner levels of the mud and stones to bind them together firmly.

A pier foundation is easy to build and the space beneath can be used for heating and plumbing installations.