Homes built on stilts or pilings can sustain damage even without exposure to storm surge and flooding. Admittedly, much of the damage to stilts or pilings we see is because of repeated water exposure, but there are other causes. The two primary types of stilts found in our area are pressure treated wood or concrete. Both incur damage over time.
Depending upon the type of flood zone your home is in, your stilts may range from a few feet to an entire story like many homes in Oldsmar. Although we haven’t had a direct hit from a hurricane in many years, the torrential rains recently have exposed homes in flood zones to standing water and many homeowners are beginning to see visible evidence of damage either in the pilings or in their home.
The preservative used to pressure treat wood pilings deteriorates over time, especially when exposed to salt or brackish water. When the preservative stops protecting the wood, micro-organisms begin to live in the wood and weaken the structural stability. Other pests, like termites and carpenter bees, can infest the wood once the preservative deteriorates.
Damage to concrete or wood stilts can occur under the ground’s surface. We regularly hear about sinkholes in the area and they can damage the structural stability of the entire home. When the stilts are no longer supported as they were designed with the sand placing pressure on them, air and water both can cause damage. If you’ve experienced storm surge and several inches of sand were washed away, the stability stilts can be compromised. Another cause of damage to stilts and pilings under the ground is from tree roots. If you have large trees near your home, their roots can remove water from the soil and shift the soil and pilings.
Concrete piling issues are mainly with their construction. If a concrete piling was constructed with steel reinforcements and that steel becomes exposed to water, the steel begins to corrode. When this occurs, the steel expands slightly, causing cracks in the concrete, which allows more water in and hastens the deterioration.
If your home is elevated and you suspect damage to stilts or pilings, or that there is a problem, call the foundation experts at Heavenly Foundations. We will inspect your pilings for damage and evaluate the damage you see in your home that may have resulted from damaged stilts. Contact us today at 727-228-6144 for your free inspection.