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Good morning neighbors. I need a little advice concerning a solid concrete wall vs. using piers. We initially were going to pour a solid concrete wall for the 4 exterior walls to rest on in our new log home. We are thinking that we can use piers to replace the solid concrete walls. This would save us money is the short run but we want to make sure that we are not messing up. We are thinking of putting piers every 8 feet. If anyone can offer advice we would definitely appreciate it.

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Comment by Scott Kellar on September 30, 2010 at 3:09pm
I see that this is a very late post... but anyway, I was considering pillars, especially as my log cabin was going to be delivered on a flatbed truck. They can lower it on without needing a big crane. Unless your lot is in a place that never gets freezing temps, go with walls. I can see that if you are making it 3 season, and can weatherproof over winter, then it's a possibility. We're finding that Winter is one of our favorite seasons at our cabin! We did poured concrete footing with cinderblock walls- a 4-ft crawlspace which holds our water heater, pump and water softener. Ouch! hard on the back. If I could go back I'd make it 6 ft. and enjoy a full basement even with the outdoor cellar doors. If you have cold winters, insulate and caulk well the crawlspace. A hanging heater can keep it above freezing. Good luck. -SK
Comment by Gravitas Design on August 18, 2010 at 7:55pm
All valid comments so far. We have used piers on a number of projects but it's usually dictated by the site, be it a flood plain, or due to poor soils. Piers sometimes also have poured walls in between, and the piers are what is load bearing, but I gather that you are talking just piers to elevate the framing. In that case, consider the critters too, many of them like to eat insulation, or nest in it and with it, so you have to seal it in. Crawl spaces can be great places for water heaters and furnaces too; piers don't allow that as readily. Piers will need to have engineered beams between them to hold the floor framing. This beam will either be the rim, or be below the rim, rather than just a standard rim on the sill w/ a poured wall. Solid walls will generally give you a tighter, more efficient home. I’ll push you in that direction unless there is some assumption that I have made in my mind that is incorrect.

Derek Hurd
Principal
Gravitas, Inc.
1524 W. Hays
Boise, ID 83702
www.gravitas.us
twitter.com/gravitasboise
208.367.1184
Comment by Wes on August 18, 2010 at 10:30am
Depends where your are building. In the mountains there is a hazard of debris from forest fires getting under your house and burning it down. When our insurance company asked if we were doing piers or solid wall and we told them solid wall, it saved us considerable on our insurance. They would not have insured it if we used piers.
Comment by Joe on August 13, 2010 at 2:49pm
Larry,
The simple answer is yes you can with the proper engineering drawings and permits. They put them 19 feet in the air down here on the coast of Florida. Inorder to support the cabin on piers, the wall trusses are going to be extra money. The pads for the piers might require much more concrete then a normal footing and have to go deeper. Depending on codes, these piers might have to be steel or rebar reinforced concrete columns.

The question really is do you want to do this? Unless you are in an unusual area of TN your land is sloped which is perfect for a walk out basement where you can put the the garage and/or living space and save money in the long run. It gets cold in TN so you would have to insulate the bottom of the cabin floor as well as insulate all the plumbing to keep it from freezing. You also have the same problem with a vented crawlspace. Money is tight for all but it might be best to step back and look carefully at this idea.

Not sure but a cinder block wall might be slightly cheaper then poured concrete.
Joe

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