If your doors or windows are sticking, your floors are sagging, your chimney is leaning, your walls are cracked, or any other signs of foundation trouble, it might be time to look into foundation repair options. For those symptoms, in particular, installing piers to counteract house settlement and other movements might be the best option. Two underpinning options that are available for homeowners wanting to lift their foundation back into place are helical piers and push piers. A basement expert like those at Acculevel will be able to tell you what will work best for your home, but here are the basics of these two options.
Helical Piers and Push Piers
Both helical and push piers are permanent foundation repair solutions. Both repairs use supporting structures made out of concrete or steel, called piers, to restore your home’s value and prevent further damage by lifting the foundation back into place and stabilizing it. They can be installed inside or outside a building and often faster than a lot of other foundation repair methods.
Push piers are heavy tubes that are pushed (hydraulically driven) through a foundation bracket and into the earth until they reach solid ground underneath a home’s foundation. They use the building as a counterweight to penetrate the ground. Once all of the piers are installed, a hydraulic pump attached to each of them raises the house back to level, and the columns are secured to brackets.
Helical piers are shafts with helical plates that make them look like giant screws. They pull, rather than push, the pier into the ground: they’re driven into the ground by turning rather than being hydraulically driven to the proper depth. Steel brackets connecting the piers are secured after the installation rather than the beginning. They can be installed straight into the ground or at an angle, depending on the nature of the foundation damage and where the support is needed.
Which One is Right for My Home?
Both of these foundation repair options have situations when they’re optimal, so how do you know which one is right for your home’s foundation? There are a lot of factors that go into deciding which basement and foundation repair option is right for your home. Homeowners and contractors need to consider the structural load involved, the local soil conditions, and the types and extent of problems the home is experiencing. Push piers are appropriate for heavier buildings and when the soil conditions surrounding a home’s foundation are unknown.
In the 20-plus years that Acculevel has been repairing foundations, we have found and believe that helical piers are the best tool for foundation support. Helical piers are a perfect fix for many common foundation problems thanks to being reliable, versatile, and cost-effective. They’re especially handy for structures built in unstable soil conditions, for structures that aren’t heavy enough to act as a counterweight, in older structures, or as a preventative measure in new construction projects. They rely on the torque of being twisted into more stable soil instead of the weight of the very building they’re trying to support, and with expert monitoring during installation, they can provide long-lasting foundation support.
Helical Pier Installation Process
If your foundation needs the support of helical piers, the installation process is fairly simple and not very disruptive. Before helical piers are installed, a basement expert will come out and inspect the property. The site will get excavated to install however many piers your home needs based on the damage and the soil conditions. These piers can also be cut to specific lengths to better attach to your foundation. As the piers are getting twisted into the ground, the contractor monitors the torque used to install them and determine when the piers are engaged and providing the necessary support. After the helical piers are installed properly, the foundation is stabilized.
Acculevel Basement and Foundation Repair
If your foundation needs work, it’s best to call a professional to help you diagnose and treat the problem as soon as you can. The longer you wait to solve common foundation issues, the more serious problems you’ll see throughout your home. Acculevel has been taking care of foundations, basements, and crawlspaces for many years and can help you repair yours. For a free home foundation inspection, contact Acculevel.