If we’re installing helical piers around your home, it means your foundation needs to be stabilized and secured. Piering a foundation requires excavation, which is going to be (temporarily) disruptive to your home and property.
Acculevel is a family-owned and operated company that specializes in foundation repair and waterproofing. We treat each customer’s home as if it were our own, demonstrating respect and consideration for your home and property. Our foremost concern when installing piers is that they are done efficiently, effectively, and with minimal disruption to you.
In this article, we’re going to outline the installation process as it affects you, the homeowner. We’ll explain what actions we take to protect your home, and when we ask for your cooperation or patience.
This photo was taken by an Acculevel team member during pier installation.
Prepare the Work Area for Helical Pier Installation
Your project advisor should discuss these topics with you, so that you have clear expectations and a solid plan. The points we make here are not meant to replace the advice of your advisor; our goal is to supplement those instructions. If you have any questions about what you need- or how we will handle a situation- your project advisor is your go-to resource for answers!
Locating Utilities is Essential
Because we are going to be digging into the ground around your home, we call 811 and request that they locate utilities. This is a necessary precaution, to help us avoid damaging connections that you and your neighborhood rely on.
What you can do: please keep an eye out for these locations to be marked. If your installation is scheduled to begin in 24 hours and these locates have not been done, please call our scheduling department ((765) 200-6192) and let us know. This gives us a chance to follow up with 811 or reschedule if we learn the locations will not be indicated in the time required.
Removal or Relocation May Be Necessary
We can and will remove plants and materials that are in the way of the pier installation process. This is something we offer homeowners who don’t have the resources or ability to unearth shrubs or similar items.
Any item we dig up, we plan to remove and haul away for you.
What you can do: if there are plants you want to preserve, or decorative pieces that need to be protected, please remove these before your installation. If the item in question will need special care, like a fountain or outdoor kitchen component, make arrangements for this in advance.
If something happens (delays are unpredictable, but part of life!), and the removal won’t be done in time, make sure your project advisor and our scheduling department are both made aware.
During Helical Pier Installation, We Protect Your Property
We take as many preventative measures as we can, to limit the impact we have on your yard. But these are not failsafe.
Installing helical piers requires the use of some heavy machinery. We lay sections of plywood across your yard, to reduce the size and severity of ruts this machinery can cause. This helps, but does not prevent, ruts from forming. The weather and season of the year are also factors in this. Ruts are more likely to occur in a muddy yard in July than a frozen and dry yard in February.
Another side effect of excavation is displacing a lot of soil. We put plastic sheets on the ground, and pile the excess earth on them. This can help control how much dirt gets onto your lawn, patios, walkways, etc. Again, the texture of the soil and the weather are factors we can’t control; rainy weather makes more of a mess than a sunny day.
After Pier Installation is Complete, We Clean Up After Ourselves
As we indicated earlier, we are willing to remove shrubs or plants that you don’t want to keep. We will haul the remains of these items away with us, along with some of the displaced earth.
Backfill Will Be Imperfect
Once the piers are installed, we will fill in the remaining gaps in the ground with some of the soil we’ve put aside on the plastic. This is a process we refer to as “backfilling.”
Because the helical pier and bracket take up some room, not all of the excavated soil will fit :ack into place. When we backfill, we will leave an excess amount of dirt piled on the top of each excavation point.
This is not ideal aesthetically, but it’s an important step. The soil will compact as it settles; if we level off the surface immediately after excavation, this won’t leave enough backfill. You’ll end up with hollows or dips around your foundation.
Soil can take up to a year to settle thoroughly, and maintaining a slight slope -both out and down- away from your foundation is essential. This slope is referred to as “grading” and it helps protect your foundation from water damage.
What you can do: keep an eye on the soil around your foundation. If it’s not settling evenly, or rainwater is collecting in puddles close to your home, contact a professional landscaper. They can help you reestablish the grading your yard needs. You can get more tips on how to protect your foundation from water damage in this article.
Another option you should consider: if you are planning a large landscaping project that might need additional soil, let your project manager know. We are happy to leave you some (or all!) of the displaced dirt for your future use.
A Final Point We Would Like to Make About Piers
We’re sure you’ve heard this from your project advisor, and we mention it regularly in our blogs and videos. But it bears repeating one more time: piers are used to stabilize your foundation and prevent it from settling or sinking any further.
They are not done specifically to lift your foundation back to its original position. This may be possible, if the settling is recent and the distance relatively minor. But there are risks in trying to lift a home that has been settling over time.
Forcing a home to lift can significantly damage your home’s framework. Nothing used to build a home is flexible, so it’s taken a long time and a lot of force to make it move where it has. Attempting to force it the other way in just a few minutes can crack or break these components.
Lift Is Not Guaranteed. Anyone who tells you differently is either inexperienced, being deceptive, or is willing to cause damage to your home so they can reach a goal.
Do You Have More Questions About Helical Piers?
We train our project advisors individually and as a team, making certain that they are the foundation experts you need to correctly diagnose your home. Our goal is to always provide you with a whole-home solution; a plan that not only addresses symptoms but also the root cause of your foundation concerns.
You should have your project advisor’s phone number and email address, so that you can contact them with any further questions or concerns. But we also strive to answer all of the frequently asked questions we receive from homeowners on our website’s learning center.
Possible Topics Include:
Does the size of the pier matter? The short answer is not as much as location.
What’s the difference between push piers and helical piers? One is better for residential buildings like homes and garages.
Where can I find more technical information about both types of piers? If you want a detailed side-by-side comparison, we provide that here.
We even review potential problems with pier installation!