How to Build a Pier Foundation?

Pier Foundation

Introduction to Pier Foundation:

In the Pier foundation, the dry area is dug into a cylindrical hole of large diameter up to the desired depth. It is then installed by backfilling with concrete.

When the foundation of a building of heavy piers structure is located at a greater depth than the hard bed stratum for foundation and foundation in soft or sandy soil, the pier foundation is used to transmit the load to the strong stratum.

Diamond pier footings are a structural and code-compliant foundation for your deck project. Diamond Piers is a quick and reliable type of foundation. So you can use it to frame your deck piers project.

What Is Pier Foundation?

The Pier Foundation is a collection of various posts dug into the ground. Hence it is sometimes referred to as the “Post Foundation”. It is mainly installed at the intersection of the walls of the house. In a pier foundation, the vertical column is installed in a larger cross-section than the pile to the desired depth.

Post and pier foundations consist of concrete pillars that are adjusted to a suitable depth in the ground to transfer the weight of the structure.

In pier foundation, a deep shaft is made up to the hard bed and then filled with freshly mixed concrete with reinforcement. Thus, a rigid stratum of concrete piles is prepared.

Pier foundation types are used in sites where it is difficult to dig up a traditional foundation as a strongest foundation. And is done to protect the house from rising tides near the sea.

The difference between a cast-in-situ pile and a pier is related to their diameter. A cast-in-situ pile of more than 0.6 m in diameter is known as a pier.

What Are Helical Piers?

The helical piers for decks uses a 7-foot-long galvanized steel pipe with a helical-shaped screw head welded to the bottom. The heavy-gauge pipe is screwed by a hydraulic machine, below the frost line, to the appropriate depth in the ground. The pressure gauge on the machine shows that the pier has reached the correct level.

Also Read: What Is Well Foundation? | Shapes of Well Foundation | Component of Well Foundation | Advantages & Disadvantages of Well Foundations

How to Build a Pier Foundation?

The idea of ​​creating a foundation for your shed is always good. This prevents your building from coming into direct contact with the ground. Which prolongs the life of your shed. This article gives you a brief overview of how to create a Pier Foundation.

Pier foundation can be a very effective option for your shed. For that, you should seek the help of a professional constructor. Which contractor is able to perform various tasks for your pier shed foundation.

For that, you need to determine the right number and location of pillars to suit your shade. Then, according to the location, the pillars have to be dug or drilled, and filled with concrete. Of particular importance is the addition of anchor bolts or galvanized post bases to the pier before concreting.

What Is a Concrete Pier Foundation?

A concrete pier foundation keeps your shed away from direct contact with the ground. A concrete pier foundation may be an excellent choice if water accumulates in your shed location area. This prevents moisture from coming into contact with the wooden floor of the shed. Since the concrete pier shed foundation extends about 2 feet above the ground, it helps to get a level for your shed.

Sometimes the ground is very soft so you should dig 6 inches deeper than the snow line to support the pillars. In addition, if the snow line is deep, you will need to go 6 inches deeper than the snow line for the pier of the shed.

The approximate concrete pier cost can range from 3 to $ 7 per square foot, depending on the size of your project, foundation depth, and type of foundation.

Also Read: What Is Pier and Beam Foundation? | Difference Between Pier and Beam Foundation Vs Slab Foundation

Pier Foundation Details

The following points consider for Pier foundation design are:

Pier Foundation Spacing

In the pier foundation, all piers footing concreting at the same level. The Foundation piers is usually kept 1-1,5 feet above the ground. Which is necessary to prevent moisture coming from the ground into the floor of the house.

Pillars Shape & Size in the Pier Foundation

Pillars pier foundation can be designed in different shapes.

  • Square
  • Rectangle
  • Circular

A circular cross-section is usually used for the pier foundation of a house. The diameter of the pillar foundation can be made in 6 inches, 8 inches, 10 inches, 16 inches as required.

Materials Used in Pier Foundation

Building materials such as wood, brick, concrete, etc. can be used to make a pillar foundation or a pier foundation. But reinforced concrete is used as the most suitable material for pier footing foundation. Pier structure is more resistant to compressive stress and high tension than other building materials.

Also Read: What Is Pile Foundation? | Uses of Pile Foundations | Types of Pile Foundations |

How to Build a Pier Foundation?

Pier Foundation construction Step by Step

1. Planning for the Pier Foundation

Two factors play an important role in the planning of the Pier Foundation. First, the number of concrete posts will be determined by the size of your shed. Second, the diameter of the piles is determined according to the weight corresponding to the use of the shed.

If you want to use heavy items in your shed, you need more support, so the shed will need more than one pillar for a riding lawnmower.

The structure of the shed can also be an important factor for your shed. It determines how many pillars you will need, depending on the size of the joystick and its strength. If you want to limit the number of piles as the large joist of the shed can carry more weight in the long run, the size of the joist should be increased.

It is usually better to have more pillars for your shed than very few. More piles than your design may need is more support, but that’s not a bad thing for the stability of the shed. In fact, it can prevent the floor of your shed from bouncing and prevent damage to the structure. It gives you the strength to store more weight inside your shed in the future.

2. Require for Drawing of  Foundation Plan

Before you start digging for the pier and beam foundation of your shed, you need to plan the foundation according to the needs of your shed. This plan will help you determine the number of piles and their locations for your pier shed foundation.

In general, the spacing between the pillars corresponding to your shed is determined by the dimensions of the beam and joist of the structure of the shed.

The amount of concrete you need for your shed pier foundation is calculated based on the size of the pier forms. A drawing plan is needed to determine what materials will be needed for your shed. The quantity varies depending on the size of your shed and pile, so it is useful for you to calculate the estimate of a particular project.

3. Place and Soil Preparation

You don’t rush to start the pier foundation of your shed. Properly preparing your site for the Pier Shed Foundation is a multi-step process.

Check the permission rules:

Before you start any work for your concrete pier foundation, you will need a permit. Check the building permit rules with your local building authority.

Find the frost line:

You will need to determine the depth of the snow line for the shed pier foundation. Whose information is available with the local building authority.

4. Mark the Pier Location

Connect the perimeter of the outline of the shed with the help of a string by placing a peg in each corner to mark the pier locations according to the drawing plan.

Then check regularly to make sure the squares are made from your string. Otherwise, the piers for your shed may end up in the wrong place. The location of the pillars inside the shed foundation is determined based on the perimeter of the outline.

5. Dig Holes for Concrete Piers

There are two options for digging holes in helical piles for helical piers foundation. manual method and towable hydraulic oger method. Alternatively, a towable hydraulic auger increases the cost of your project. But it does help reduce the time and effort required for the entire project. The holes in your shed pier foundation are kept about 2 inches larger in diameter than your form tube.

Concrete form tubes usually serve as a form for concrete pier foundations. Also commonly known as Sonotube. Concrete form tubes for form for concrete can be easily found in the market in standard sizes.

The sonotube is measured and cut about 6 inches above ground level. Which keeps the top surface of the concrete above the water as it is above ground level and keeps the wooden post dryer.

6. Install Sonotubes

Once the sonotube has been cut to size as needed, place it in the holes, and check that it reaches the base of the gravel. Then after it reaches the desired depth in the ground, you need to make sure that the sonotube is properly vertical.

Layer each sonotube, making sure it is completely straight and level. You may need to adjust the holes a bit as you move forward, which gives you the ability to move the tube. After each sonotube is properly leveled, backfill the space around the tube.

7. Mix and Pour Concrete

You can then start mixing the material to fill the concrete in the sonotube. Prepare by mixing the right amount of water in the right proportion. Start pouring this finished concrete slowly into the sonotube.

Once you have reached the top of the concrete form, place a 4 ”x 4” or 6 ”x6” galvanized plate on top of it before the concrete is set. Repeat the above process for each pier.

8. Curing

If you moisten the concrete by curing your concrete pier for seven days, it will gain about 50 percent more strength than a pier without curing.

Also Read: Caisson Foundation | Use of Caisson Foundation | Type of Caisson Foundation | Advantages & Disdvantagesof Caisson Foundation

How Much Does a Pier Foundation Cost?

The Pier Foundation Cost usually depends on the size of your home and the number of helical anchors required. Typically can range from about $ 7,500 to $ 21,000.

Advanategs of Pier Foundation


  1. Pier foundation is a comprehensive excavation and can effectively use concrete. So,  pier foundation cost saves money and time.
  2. We can use different materials for pier foundation and it also keeps your project on a low budget.
  3. This type of foundation causes minimal disruption to the soil environment. Because different holes are made for this type of foundation.
  4. This pier foundation method is simple and requires a small number of materials and labor.
  5. This type of foundation raises the house above the ground. So the structure is not damaged by water.
  6. This type of foundation provides space between the house and the ground. So it is useful to install plumbing and electrical wires.
  7. This type of foundation provides enough space for workers to solve problems for plumbing and electrical.
  8. Due to the large diameter of this type of foundation pier, observation is possible and engineers can change the design when needed.
  9. This type of foundation offers a variety of options for enhancing the aesthetic look. Which allows you to work within your budget.
  10. For this type of foundation, it is possible to do under-reaming to increase the bearing capacity.

Also Read: What Are Weep Holes? | Purpose of Weep Holes | Advantage & Disadvantage of Weep Holes

Disadvanategs of Pier Foundation


  1. This type of foundation tends to get wet in the crawl space. Therefore necessary steps should be taken to drain any water from the crawl space.
  2. Crawl spaces in this type of foundation can be attractive for insects and other animals to live in. Screens have to be installed on the openings to control this problem.
  3. During the winter months, when cold air enters due to crawling space, the whole house will get cold.
  4. In earthquake-prone areas, houses can move from their foundations on foundation pillars.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How to Build a Pier Foundation?

  1. Planning for the Pier Foundation
  2. Require for Drawing of  Foundation Plan
  3. Place and Soil Preparation
  4. Mark the Pier Location
  5. Dig Holes for Concrete Piers
  6. Install Sonotubes
  7. Mix and Pour Concrete
  8. Curing

Do It Yourself Concrete Pier Foundation?

  1. Layout the Foundation.
  2. Prepare the site.
  3. Mark the border.
  4. Dig the Pier Holes.
  5. Prepare the Fiber-Form Tubes.
  6. Install the Tubes.
  7. Mix and Pour the Concrete.
  8. Cure the Concrete.

What Is a Concrete Pier Foundation?

A concrete pier foundation is a type of foundation that uses piers made of concrete to support a structure. The piers are typically placed at regular intervals underneath the structure and are often used in conjunction with other types of foundation, such as a footing foundation.

What Is a Pillar Foundation?

A Pillar Foundation is a series of vertical pillars or piles that transfer the building load to the soil. Beams are then built on top of these columns. They lift the house off the ground and are very popular in coastal regions where rising tides are a problem.

What Is Pier Footing?

Pier footing transferred the load of the superstructure to the underlying soil or rock. It is constructed by digging a hole in the ground and then filling it with concrete or stone. It is also known as the “Post foundation” of “Column Foundation”.

How Many Pier Blocks for Shed Foundation?

Your local building codes may specify this based on the size of your shed. If not, a general rule is one shed foundation pier at least every 8-10 feet along the width and length of your shed. For example, you would need 6-9 piers for a 10×12 shed. You would need 15-18 piers for a 16×40 shed.

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