Foundation Repair Piers – The Three Types of Piers Used in Foundation Repair

Foundation repair costs can be intimidating. However, postponing repairs will lead to more serious issues and costlier repair bills.Foundation Repair

Contact a reputable local contractor if you see signs of shifting or sinking in your home. They can offer you various affordable solutions to address your foundation problems. For more information, visit

Foundation underpinning is a common procedure that addresses unstable soil conditions underneath footings. It involves lowering the existing foundation to allow it to rest on a more supportive soil stratum or to distribute its load over a larger area. Underpinning is one of the most expensive but the longest-lasting of the various types of foundation repair.

Underpinning can be needed because the ground beneath your home shifts and weakens over time. It can be due to a shifting bedrock that’s been weakened by groundwater or a wet/dry climate that causes it to expand and contract in different directions over the seasons. This can lead to the footings of your home pulling away from each other, and this will show up as cracks that spread wider than the original settling cracks and leave gaps around doors and windows.

When you’re deciding if underpinning is the right solution for your home, it’s important to get a professional inspection and report by an engineer who’s experienced in diagnosing slab heave or slab settlement. These specialists can recommend the best type of underpinning for your specific needs, and will use independent soil testing to determine how much of your foundation has been compromised by movement in the soil.

A structural engineer will also look at the overall layout of your foundation to determine if it’s too large for the soil beneath it. This can be a problem if there isn’t enough space to keep the footings stable as they are, and you may need to add to your home’s footprint or reduce its height in certain areas.

Another reason for underpinning is the presence of karst in the soil underneath your house. When a building’s foundation is built on a karst landscape, the water in the ground can seep through the bedrock and disintegrate it. This can cause the foundation to lose its bearing capacity, and if the underpinning isn’t done correctly it can be very dangerous for your home. Underpinning in this situation can involve drilling holes through the floor of your basement and installing a steel rod or concrete piling.

Steel Piers

Installing support piers beneath your home’s foundation can be one of the most effective ways to correct foundation settlement problems and prevent future displacement. The right piers can also help to strengthen your entire structure. But you’ll want to make sure that you use the best piers for your specific needs, so that they’re durable and long-lasting. There are three common types of piers used in residential foundation repairs: concrete, steel and helical. Let’s take a look at what sets each type apart so that you can decide which is right for your needs.

Steel piers are a great choice for repairing foundations that have settled due to soil instability. This is because they can be driven far enough into the earth to reach load-bearing bedrock, which gives them exceptional stability. During installation, each steel pier is load-tested to ensure that it can safely support your building’s weight.

Unlike traditional concrete piers, which require a 28-day waiting period for them to cure, steel piers can be loaded immediately after installation. This helps to speed up construction time and reduce overall project duration. Additionally, steel piers are more environmentally friendly than concrete piers because they’re made from recyclable materials and do not produce any toxic byproducts during production.

In addition to being quick and convenient, using steel piers can help to minimize the amount of dirt that has to be removed from your property during a foundation repair project. This means that you’ll be able to return the area to its original condition faster than you would if you were using other repair methods such as hand dug concrete piers or drilled concrete piers.

However, it’s important to remember that although steel piers offer many advantages, they do have some drawbacks that you should consider before deciding whether this is the best repair method for your home. For example, steel piers can be susceptible to corrosion, which could affect their lifespan and strength. This is especially true in areas with high humidity or salt content. As a result, it’s important to protect your steel piers with a suitable coating or finish to limit corrosion.

Concrete Pile

During this stage of foundation repair, a hole is dug next to your home and a concrete pile is placed inside. Then, a high-powered hydraulic ram is used to slowly push the pile deep into the soil. Then, a cap is placed on the top of the pile to seal it.

There are several different types of piles that can be used in a foundation repair project. One type, the Franki pile, has a steel casing which is inserted as the pile is driven. Aggregate is dropped into the casing and then compacted or vibrated before the pile is finished by placing reinforcement, pouring concrete, and withdrawing the casing. This process enlarges the pile’s cross-sectional area and improves its bearing capacity.

Another option is the tubular cast-in-situ concrete pile. This type has a tubular casing of corrugated thin steel which is driven into the ground using a mandrel that’s inserted into the shell and then withdrawn. Concrete is then poured into the casing to form a steel/concrete composite pile. This is an economical option for sites with a shallow bedrock or soils that have poor bearing capacities.

The precast, prestressed concrete cylinder pile is another type of pile that can be used in a foundation repair. These piles are manufactured in circular, square, hexagonal, or octagonal shapes and are usually driven as friction piles. However, they can also be equipped with steel driving tips to help them penetrate rock or very dense soils for improved end-bearing capacity.

The last option is the recapped or resurfaced pile. This is a type of pile that is constructed by removing the outer casing and then reinstating it. This technique is used to improve the bearing capability of a pile when it is subjected to repeated loading or reversible loads. However, it should be noted that this method is more expensive than other types of piles because of the extra labor required to remove and reinstall the casing.

Poured Concrete Piers

When a home has sustained severe damage that can’t be repaired by underpinning, foundation piers are usually the best option. They lift the entire structure to a new level, stabilize the area and prevent further sinking or movement. They are also less invasive than underpinning because they don’t require tearing down the existing foundation and moving everything.

Concrete piers are large solid cylinders of reinforced poured concrete. They are built in a round prefabricated cardboard form (one brand is Sonotube). Foundation repair specialists dig holes for these piers and fill them with concrete, then stretch a zinc-galvanized support bracket down onto the top of each one.

Once the piers are in place, hydraulic jacks lift the foundation to its proper height. A steel spacer is then installed to close the gap between the piers and the foundation. This makes the piers part of the foundation so that they can’t move independently from the house.

The piers are usually built to last far longer than the structure that rests on them. That’s because they are poured at least four times stronger than the concrete used in the foundation of your home, with steel reinforcement. They are designed to resist the forces of soil expansion and contraction, seasonal moisture changes, and changing load.

If you’re interested in using piers as a foundation repair solution, we recommend getting your soil tested before starting the project. The results will help determine the ideal pier type to use and how deep they should be drilled.

Foundation piers redistribute the weight of your home to deeper soil where frost and moisture levels are less likely to cause problems. They also elevate your foundation off the ground so that rising water has a harder time damaging it. Since they don’t involve tearing down the existing foundation, this option is less invasive and much cheaper than underpinning. Foundation repair contractors can often install these piers without disrupting plumbing, wires, ductwork and other underground structures. They can also easily access any crawl spaces and investigate any signs of moisture or structural damage.