What Are the Insulation Options for a Pier and Beam Foundation?

What Are the Insulation Options for a Pier and Beam Foundation?

Insulation for Pier and Beam
Have you noticed chilly floorboards in your home no matter how high the thermostat runs? If your home is built on a pier and beam foundation, you may need to add insulation.

A pier and beam foundation elevates the home above the ground, creating a crawlspace that is typically around 18 inches in height. With this structure, wood posts or concrete piers are placed deep into the ground to hold the weight of the home. Many builders choose this type of foundation because it is easier to build and less expensive, although it is typically recommended only for smaller homes in areas without earthquakes or hurricane strength winds.

The crawlspace beneath the home’s flooring makes it easy for heat to escape through the floors, and therefore decreases the energy efficiency of your home. To lower your energy bill and prevent your heating and cooling system from working overtime, many homeowners choose to insulate their pier and beam foundation.

How can you get started on warming up those chilly feet? Here are four options to insulate a home with a pier and beam foundation!

Foam Insulation

One option is to hire a professional to spray foam insulation underneath the floorboards. The foam spray is applied in the space between the joists, or vertical beams, and then expands to completely fill the area as it slowly dries. Pier and beam foundation homes in wetter climates may opt for this choice because foam insulation is typically resistant to mold.

Foam Board Insulation

If you would prefer to install the insulation without the help of a professional, one option would be to use foam boards. These stiff boards are placed close together on top of the floor joists underneath the home. Once in place, secure the boards with either insulation tape or caulking.

Insulation for Pier and Beam

Batts or Rolls

Another DIY option is to place batts or rolls directly into the space between floor joists. Once the pieces are put in place, cover the side facing the crawlspace with plywood to keep birds and insects from damaging the insulation. This option can be done by a handymen of all skill levels, since the pieces typically come in standard sizes designed to fit right in between floor joists.


Placing skirting around the house can prevent drafty winds from entering the home through the floors, however this option does not provide nearly as much insulation as others, so it should not be a first choice. Typically, it is only recommended for mobile homes or “three-season” homes, which are residences that are not equipped to stay warm during the winter.

With this minor home improvement project, not only will you be more comfortable in your home, but you’ll also notice a lower monthly energy bill! Now that your floors are insulated, lower your thermostat. For every degree the thermostat goes down, you’ll save around 3% on your bill!  

Now that you’ve mastered insulating your pier and beam foundation, take a look at these other home insulation projects you can take on to lower your bill.