How to Enclose a Pier and Beam Foundation? [Your Complete Guide]

July 29, 2023

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Homeowners often wonder how to enclose a pier and beam foundation. Enclosures help keep out bugs and other pests as well as damaging moisture. They also block the view, ensuring a more attractive home. Some enclosure methods also ensure cleaner, safer accessing of the space.

How to enclose a pier and beam foundation, step by step:

  • First, check local regulations.
  • Second, clean and inspect the area for needed repairs.
  • Next, frame the walls and add subflooring.
  • Also, encapsulation provides excellent enclosure.
  • Lastly, add sheathing, vents, and an entry point.

This is just a quick overview of how to enclose a pier and beam foundation under a home. For added details and some expert solutions, keep reading. Knowing more about your options can help you make the right decision for your home. Also, you’ll know when to call a foundation repair contractor near you for expert crawl space services!

how to enclose a pier and beam foundation

How to Enclose a Pier and Beam Foundation in Detail

Enclosing a pier and beam foundation involves creating an enclosed space beneath the elevated structure. This crawl space can then become a usable storage area. Additionally, enclosing the space means easier, safer access when needed. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to enclose a pier and beam foundation:

Check Local Regulations

Before you begin, check with your local building department to determine if there are permits required for enclosing the foundation. Building codes and regulations can vary by location. If you’re not sure how to do this, contact a foundation repair contractor. They are typically up to date with local regulations and can pull permits for you.

Also, a professional will know about needed vents, entryways, and the like. In turn, you’re sure to have a safe space that doesn’t trap moisture under your home. You also reduce the risk of your house not passing inspection when needed!

Plan and Design

Decide how you want to use the enclosed space and plan the layout accordingly. Determine the access points, ventilation requirements, and any necessary insulation. Additionally, consider your budget as compared to your needs.

For instance, you might not have the funds to fully enclose the space with flooring and walls. However, you might find that full encapsulation is within your means. This process covers areas of the crawl space with thick, durable sheeting. In turn, it becomes safer and more comfortable for accessing and storage.

Clear the Area

Clear the area around the foundation to ensure easy access to all sides. Remove any debris, vegetation, or obstacles that may hinder the construction process. You can also use an outdoor rake to remove rubble from the crawl space itself. The more you clean, the easier it will be to enclose the space properly!

Foundation Inspection

Before enclosing the area, inspect the foundation. Look for any signs of damage, rot, or pest infestations. Address any necessary repairs before proceeding with the enclosure. This can include pest extermination or mold cleanup.

Additionally, ensure you have a professional contractor check wires and pipes running under the home. It’s much easier to repair or replace these before encapsulating or enclosing the space! Also, you might find that these repairs “eat into” your pier and beam repair and enclosure budget.

completing a pier and beam encapsulation for a homeowner

Frame the Walls

Use pressure-treated lumber to construct a frame for the enclosure. Framing consists of horizontal beams along the ground and vertical studs connected to the beams. Ensure the frame is square and level.

It’s also helpful to treat the lumber with added sealant and coatings. Remember that your pier and beam enclosure is exposed to moisture constantly! In turn, added sealants can keep that framing strong and reduce the risk of damage over the years.

Install Subfloor

Attach plywood or oriented strand board (OSB) to the bottom of the frame to create the subfloor. This will provide a flat and stable surface for the enclosed space. If you opt for plywood rather than OSB, ensure you invest in something thick and durable.


Proper ventilation is essential to prevent moisture buildup and discourage mold growth. Install vent openings or vents with screens to allow for air circulation within the enclosed space. Also, you might consider adding a dehumidifier in the space. This removes airborne humidity, keeping the crawl space dry.

As you add ventilation, check with local regulations and ensure you comply. Many areas dictate the size of vents and how they’re placed around a crawl space enclosure. This helps prevent moisture building and keeps framing materials dry and strong as well.

Insulation (Optional)

If you plan to use the enclosed space for conditioned storage or living areas, consider adding insulation. Installing insulation to the walls and subfloor improves energy efficiency. Also, insulation reduces trapped humidity. In turn, you might see less damage to items stored in the crawl space.

Additionally, insulation makes it more comfortable to access the space year-round. You’ll need to worry less about freezing or overly hot temperatures if you need to work in an insulated crawl space.

Enclose with Sheathing

Attach plywood or other sheathing material to the exterior sides to create the walls of the enclosure. Use weather-resistant materials to protect against the elements. You can also typically buy crawl space sheathing from any hardware or home improvement store. If you’re not sure about the right product, ask a foundation repair professional for assistance.

Also, when applying sheathing, ensure you use the right connectors. Don’t assume that heavy-duty staples are sufficient for attaching it to the home’s exterior! Instead, note if you need to use specialty bolts or fasteners to ensure a durable finish.

Door Installation

Don’t forget to install a door to provide access to the enclosed area. Consider using a weather-resistant door that can withstand outdoor conditions. Also, you might want to choose a door that locks securely if you’ll be using the space for storage. Ensure you opt for a door that’s easy to operate and large enough to accommodate you and your stored items.

Sealing and Waterproofing

Caulk and seal any gaps or seams to prevent moisture from entering the enclosed space. Apply a waterproofing material to the exterior sheathing for added protection. Ensure that the enclosure is securely attached to the foundation and protected from pests. Use pest-resistant materials and methods to discourage pests from entering the enclosed space.

after the crawl space encapsulation

Protecting a Pier and Beam Foundation

Enclosing a pier and beam foundation offers excellent protection against water damage, pest infestation, and the like. However, there is more you can do to ensure a dry, stable space under your home. Check out some added suggestions for how you can protect a pier and beam foundation on your property:

  • Ensure that the area around the foundation has proper drainage. Poor drainage risks soil erosion, foundation settling, and structural issues. Install downspouts to divert rainwater away from the foundation and consider grading the soil away from the house.
  • Proper ventilation beneath the house is essential to prevent moisture buildup and mold growth. Check that the crawl space has enough vents and keep them clear of debris for adequate airflow.
  • Inspect the crawl space regularly for moisture, leaks, or plumbing issues. Address water leaks promptly and ensure that the space remains dry.
  • Consider installing a vapor barrier on the ground or encapsulating the space. This helps prevent moisture from rising through the soil.
  • Regularly inspect the crawl space pests such as termites or rodents. Schedule extermination services when needed.
  • Inspect the piers and beams for damage, settling, or deterioration. Repair or replace damaged or rotted wood promptly. Also, treat the wood with preservatives to increase its resistance to decay and insect infestations.
  • If the crawl space is enclosed, ensure that it is adequately insulated to protect the foundation from extreme weather conditions.
  • Soil erosion around the foundation can lead to settling and shifting. Consider installing landscaping features such as retaining walls, French drains, or ground cover as needed.
  • Regularly inspect the grading around the house to ensure that the soil remains properly sloped. Adjust the grading as needed to maintain proper drainage.

Should I Enclose a Pier and Beam Foundation?

There are many reasons to consider enclosing a pier and beam foundation, including:

  • Enclosing the crawl space beneath the house can provide extra storage space for items that need to be kept off the ground.
  • Properly insulating and enclosing the crawl space can help improve the overall energy efficiency of your home, especially if you plan to use it as a conditioned storage area.
  • An enclosed crawl space can help prevent pests, such as rodents and insects, from entering the space and potentially causing damage.
  • Enclosing the crawl space can enhance the appearance of your home by creating a more finished and cohesive look.
  • In areas with extreme weather conditions, enclosing the foundation can provide added protection against weather-related damage.

A Word From Our Foundation Repair Team

Lansing Foundation Repair Experts is happy to explain how to enclose a pier and beam foundation. Hopefully we’ve given you some great information to consider! Also, you can call our Lansing foundation repair contractors when you’re in the market for expert services. We’ll prepare a FREE quote and explain all your options. We look forward to hearing from you!


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