Building a House Foundation on Toledo Bend Lake – Pier and Beam
If you’re looking to build a house foundation on Toledo Bend you may have your work cut out for you, especially if you plan to build on the lakefont. Much of the soil around Toledo Bend is a sticky type of red clay that isn’t very friendly to your house foundation. Look around Toledo Bend and many of the homes have poor foundations. If you buy a home on Toledo Bend you might notice that many of the real estate agents want you to sign a waiver that waives your right to reverse the sale of the property if you discover later that the property has a bad foundation. Keep this in mind as you shop for homes on Toledo Bend, and I highly recommend never signing something that requires you waive your legal rights. If you need a real estate company that will look out for you in this regard I recommend contacting DeRidder LA Real Estate, LLC ( claimer: I am affiliated with this company ).
A couple of years ago I bought a lakefront property on Toledo Bend lakefront that has an old trailer on it. I gave the trailer to my friend because I wanted to put a log cabin on the property. Here is what it looked like back then:
After getting the trailer off the property I ordered a soil boring truck on the property to collect information needed to engineer a foundation.
The data from the soil boring tests was quite discouraging. The first 8 feet of depth of my soil is a red clay that is fluid and unstable. During dry weather the clay shrinks and cracks. During wet weather the clay swells. If you have a piling foundation the piling can be pushed out of the ground by the clay. During dry weather the clay retracts from the piling. Then when it gets wet it swells around the piling and expands upward. The engineer who analyzed this for me explained this phenomena and said that he has seen whole houses pushed out of the ground by 12 inches as a result of this process!
Between 8-10ft depth beneath my soil surface is a vein of brittle iron ore that is pretty much useless. From 10-35ft the remainder of the soil is a fatty gray clay that is also pretty much useless for foundation purposes. No wonder so many house foundations on Toledo Bend are so jacked up! In order to build my house on Toledo Bend my engineering report called for 22 pilings driven into the ground by 25 feet! That is unheard of! Below is the actual engineering report for my soil. Please be advised that this soil report is only for my property. While your property may be similar please be advised that you need to get your own soil boring report to determine exactly what is under your soil surface.
soil boring tests for Toledo Bend Cabin
For the record, the company that did my soil boring test was Geotechnical Testing Lab Inc. Their phone number is
After I got my soil boring tests I used them to to design a pier and beam foundation. I contacted
Vincent-Shows Architects from Sulphur, LA. Their phone number is (337) 527-8137. Based on my soil report this is the foundation recommended for my property. Again, every property is different. This foundation is only for this property and load points associated with the house being put on this foundation.
Foundation plan for Toledo Bend Cabin
Here is a video of the vibratory hammer at work. Check out around the one-minute mark. So much force is on top of the piling that it’s starting to ignite from friction! The company that did the foundation work for my property is Kenko Bulkhead and Marine Services out of south Louisiana.
If you are thinking about building a new foundation or repairing on old one I hope this article helps you. Building a foundation correctly on Toledo Bend can be challenging, but the process of information gathering and engineering is interesting to say the least! This article is a recount of my experiences. It is not intended for legal or engineering advice. If you have any questions or comments please be sure to leave them below.