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Concrete Pressed Piles

clock December 30, 2013 06:50 by author
Instead of using low quality concrete pressed piles, contractors use quality steel pier systems to repair settling or sinking foundations.

Concrete Pressed Piles

Why do some foundation repair contractors use concrete cylinders? Why do I see their advertising campaigns all over the internet and TV?

Concrete pressed piles are the most popular piering system in North Texas, and are expanding to other areas such as Oklahoma City, Kansas City and Nashville. This popularity is due to several factors that are advantageous to contractors but has very little advantages for your home.  Whether they call them concrete pressed piles, concrete cylinders or a cable locking system, they are all very similar in their limitations and effectiveness.

The concrete pier or pile section is usually a concrete cylinder that is six inches in diameter and twelve inches tall. The section in usually pushed into the ground using a cheap bottle jack that uses the weight of the structure as resistance. Most homes in Texas and Oklahoma are not very heavy and only allow three to four sections to be pushed into the ground before the building begins to lift. This shallow depth is only a temporary “fix” and will not permanently support your home. Without driving to bedrock or a very hard load bearing surface (often 15-25 feet deep) you cannot expect the piering system to permanently solve your homes sinking or settling problems.  

Due to the shallow depths that concrete pressed piles are driven to, many of these foundation repair contractors. Concrete pressed piles and their effectiveness attempt to place more piers than would otherwise be necessary. They even adjust the number of piers that they recommend by how many their crew can install per day.  Often they try to sell between 15-20 concrete piers around and in the home. These companies have crews that can place these, clean up and collect your money, in a day.

So if they are not very effective why would so many foundation repair contractors use them? Now this is the interesting part. These precast concrete cylinder sections can be purchased for less than two dollars apiece. So, if they sold twenty "piers" and they can only drive them four sections deep per pier, the contractor would only have a material cost of approximately $160 total. They would need some blocks and steel shims to build up between the top of the cylinders and the bottom of the house so this may add $20 per pier or a total of $400. So now we have a total of $560 for twenty piers or $28 per pier.

steel push pier

These contractors then charge their customers between $350 and $700 for each concrete pressed piling installed. This is why so many foundation repair contractors use these systems – high profit margins. Not because they work, not to permanently solve your problem they use them because they require very little equipment and they provide large profits.

What's the Solution?

So what should you do? One permanent solution is steel push piers. While initially these sound like a very similar system there are some major differences that allow these systems to provide a lifetime of foundation support. High quality steel push piers have been designed by engineers to provide maximum support, maximum life and unlimited adjustability. These systems use 42” long high strength galvanized pier sections, 35-40 ton drive cylinder, an engineer design drive stand and a manifold system that allows for precise stabilization or lifting.

The best steel push pier systems drive their high strength pipe straight down to bedrock or a load bearing layer that has the proven ability to support your home. An engineer designed  bracket system is placed on top of the deep driven pipe sections and can support between 50,000 and 100,000 lbs each. A top quality system like this require more effort, a little more money and much more time to install but, they do solve sinking and settling foundation problems permanently.

Do not get caught up in the advertising campaigns of low quality concrete pressed pilings, demand the best system for you home – a high quality steel pier system. To contact an approved installer of a high quality steel push pier go to www.myfoundationrepairs.com/contacts.asp



Foundation Repair During the Midwest Drought

clock December 15, 2011 05:42 by author
High quality steel piers are used by engineers to make foundation repairs. Concrete pressed piles are a cheap repair method used by unskilled contractors.

Foundation Repair Systems

 

 

Foundation repairMuch of the Midwest, especially from Kansas City to Dallas has experienced a tremendous drought.The soils have dried out to the point where homes are settling everywhere. Record numbers of foundations are being repaired throughout the Midwest. When there is a spike in any home repairs, whether its roof replacement, basement waterproofing or foundation repairs, bad contractors pop up everywhere. These contractors come in and use cheap methods of repair and move on to the next area as soon as the work dries up.

 

Not all methods of foundation repair were created equal. In fact, most techniques rely on the very dry, unstable soil for support. When choosing a foundation repair method for your home, you should know what the contractor performing the repair is offering. If they use concrete cylinders, pressed concrete piles, bottle jacks or some other cheap repair method, run far away. If your local contractor uses a steel pier method that is designed and engineered, like the ECP Steel Piers, invite them in and get a written quote for your structural repairs.

High quality steel piers are driven through the soil until they reach bedrock or other load bearing material: 

  This insures that the structure will not depend on the expansive soils prevalent in Kansas and Texas.

Engineered and designed to last a lifetime:

 The steel push pier method is the permanent solution to foundation problems, unlike concrete which may crack over time, steel piers last.

Each steel pier is individually tested to insure integrity:

Performing a synchronized lift or stabilization ensures high capacities and long term support.

Every ECP Steel Pier is mill certified and load tested for superior quality:

This insures that quality is not compromised, and is always superior.

Most projects are finished within a few days:

A typical project lasts no longer than 3-4 days, thanks to fully trained and skilled workers.

 

Methods of Foundation Repair

On the other hand, concrete pressed pilings or concrete cylinders are cheap and quick. Contractors use unskilled labor and low grade products to get in and out as quickly as possible leaving homeowners with short term fixes that almost always require regular adjustments due to ever changing weather conditions. These precast pressed piling are driven into the soil using bottle jacks and require soil friction for support. This is the same soil that is settling due to the dry weather.

Concrete pressed piles can crack or crumble under the homes load:

Concrete breaks under uneven loads due to misalignment

Precast concrete piles are unable to resist bending moments due to lateral loads:

Segmented piles are only held together by friction or a thin cable

Pressed concrete piles cannot attain sufficient depth:

6” diameter concrete cylinders cannot be driven deep enough for end bearing support

Many contractors use water-jetting to “lubricate” concrete pressed piles:

Injecting water into expansive soils is ill advised

Using cheap bottle jacks and shims to lift a structure as valuable as your home is not advisable:

Bottle jacks and human power does not compare to a hydraulic synchronized manifold lifting system as used on ECP Steel Piers.

Buyer beware, in times of tremendous drought. There are plenty of high quality foundation repair contractors available that use steel piering methods and will install them at reasonable prices. If you still are not convinced, contact an independent foundation engineer and ask him for his recommendation.

 



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