How to Lay Blocks for Piers Under a House

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Filling your pier with mortar adds stability.
Filling your pier with mortar adds stability. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

A post-and-beam foundation is made of a line of concrete piers running down the center of a perimeter foundation wall. The piers support a beam that in turn supports the floor joists that traverse the foundation. Piers are either poured concrete or cement block, with cement block being less expensive and easier to install. A worker with basic masonry skills can complete the piers for an entire house in less time than it would take just to set up the forms for poured concrete piers.

Things You'll Need

  • Mixing pan
  • Water
  • Mortar mix
  • Trowel
  • Carpenter's level
  • Tape measure

Mix a tub of mortar according to manufacturer instructions.

Spread a 3- to 4-inch bed of mortar evenly with your trowel over the concrete footer on which you plan to build a pier.

Set a block on the bed and press it firmly into the mortar. Place a second block, facing the same direction, against the first block. Press the second block into the mortar bed.

Lay your carpenter's level across the top of the blocks. If the level shows that the blocks are uneven, press down the higher block until it is even with the lower block. Tap the block with the handle of your trowel to make small adjustments. Fill both blocks with mortar for added stability.

Spread mortar atop the first two blocks. Turn a block the opposite direction of the first two and press it into the mortar. Place another block against the first and press it into the mortar.

Check for evenness with the level and adjust as necessary. Fill both blocks with mortar.

Continue adding mortar and blocks, with each successive course turned a different direction, until your pier reaches the desired height.

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