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Concrete Press Piles for Foundation Repair

clock October 3, 2012 00:11 by author
Concrete press piles do not meet local building codes. If you need foundation repairs, demand the use of helical and steel piers to repair your foundation.

Foundation Repair Products

foundation repair, concrete press pilesIf your home is experiencing foundation failure, such as cracks in the foundation or soil separation, then you may need foundation repairs. Finding the right foundation repair specialist can be a difficult proecess because each company offers different repair methods for fixing your home's foundation. That is why it is important to know important details of every foundation repair method, so you know if you are getting quality products.

There are many different types of foundation repair products available to repair your home. These include steel resistance piers, helical piers and concrete pressed piles. Unfortunately they all do not perform well or even meet the building code.

Concrete Press Piles vs. Other Piers

Concrete pressed piles or concrete cylinders do not meet local building codes for several reasons. First of all, they do not meet depth requirements. The depth of the pile or pier or any type of deep foundation system is probably the most important factor for an effective foundation repair system. No matter what foundation repair system is being installed, if this pier is not deep enough, it becomes a useless pier. Unless the pier system is installed below the active zone or zone of influence (as many engineers refer to it) it will not be able to support your home.

Concrete pressed piles are considered a friction pile – one that relies on skin friction with the soil to produce load holding characteristics. When these piers are installed in the active soil zones (typically 15’ or less), the addition or subtraction of soil moisture causes concrete pressed piles to move with the soil. Due to their diameter and blunt surface they are very difficult to drive past this active soil zone without doing damage to the home.

Steel piers and helical anchors not only do not rely on skin friction for support but also are designed to penetrate beyond the zone of influence which provides a stable pier to support your home. These piers are designed with the ability to go very deep if necessary, well beyond any moisture fluctuations in the soil. Steel piers have a much more slender nature which greatly helps their ability to penetrate dense soils, which are present during droughts or extended heat spells. Helical piers are screwed through the soil and use helix shaped flights or mini-footing to support your homes load. When installed beyond the active soil layers helical pier provide a very solid support for your foundation.

Next, concrete pressed piers do not provide a true connection between cylinders. This not only poses a problem with meeting building code minimum requirements but also creates a major problem for homeowners. As the concrete cylinders (12 inches each) are pressed into the soil they often times become misaligned. Picture a stack of blocks sitting on the floor. Now apply a force to the top block. You will notice that the blocks start to move side to side as more pressure is added. This exercise is consistent with how concrete pressed piers act when a bottle jack is used to force them into a hard soil.

Steel pier and helical anchors use a mechanical connection between the pier sections to maintain alignment and provide consistent support for your foundation. Helical anchors, due to their design, provide an additional benefit in that they equally resist upward and downward movement upon proper installation.

Often, foundation repair contractors that use pressed piles, will place a cable or reinforcing bar down the center of the pile to help compensate for their alignment downfall. This attempt in maintaining alignment is admirable but not effective. As the concrete cylinders move through the soil they will encounter varying soils which cause them to turn or curve. Once this takes place, any large force that is not exactly centered on a concrete cylinder can cause it to crack or break. Once the concrete cylinder has cracked you can expect your foundation to settle at this point.

While all foundation repair methods require proper training and education to provide any long term solution to your foundation problem, concrete pressed piles, due to their very nature, are prone to the unique issues covered above. Their design causes them to be driven shallow and often times at angles that do not provide long term support. Even if your city does not require foundation repair methods to meet building codes, as your home is your most valuable asset, you should demand the use of steel piers and helical piers by your foundation repair contractor. Manufacturers like Earth Contact Products design and engineer their systems to provide long term support as well as educate their network of foundation repair experts in the science of foundation repair.



Kansas City Drought

clock August 24, 2012 05:07 by author
Foundation repairs and droughts go hand in hand due to settlement. Foundation repair contractors report record numbers of drought related work in Kansas City.

Foundation Settlement During Drought

Foundation repair, Foundation settlement
In a recent article in the Kansas City Star, Drought takes a toll on home foundations , Kevin Collins described the home settlement issues that many homeowners are experiencing. These drought related settlement issues have forced many homeowners to hire a foundation repair contractor to install steel push piers or helical piers to support their homes. This record breaking drought has had a yearlong hold on the Midwest for over a year, which will cause millions of dollars of damage to foundations of residential and commercial properties.
 
“Local repair companies and structural engineers can’t keep up with the torrent of phone calls, and waiting lists extend for several weeks just to get an inspection”, reported Collins. With no end in sight homeowners are faced with the reality of repairing their homes. They also face many questions such as, do I hire a foundation engineer? Do I use steel push piers or helical piers? What local foundation repair contractor do I use? How bad are my foundation problems?
 A national website www.MyFoundationRepairs.com was designed to answer these questions and more for homeowners in Kansas City and all around the United States. From basement wall cracking, foundation settlement and expansive soil problems My Foundation Repairs describes the issues and solutions related to the foundation repair industry.

 

Foundation Repair Solutions

Earth Contact Products, the largest national supplier of steel push piers in the country, is based in the heart of the drought plagued area. The Kansas City Star also reported that “nearly all of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Illinois are in extreme or exceptional drought”. According to Jeff Tully, GM of Earth Contact Products, this has caused increased business for foundation repair contractors in this area along with numerous companies attempting to enter this market. “These opportunistic companies do not have the experience or knowledge to properly and permanently repair foundation”, Tully went on to say. Properly trained contractors and foundation engineers are a homeowners best friend when it comes to repairing foundations.
Steel push piers are the most common foundation repair product used today. These steel push piers are an end-bearing pier that does not rely on nor requires skin frictio to produce support. Each pier is load tested after installaton. They are able to develop a factor of safety because the piers are load tested individually using the maximum weight of the structure as the reaction force. 
Helical piers are ideal for applications where there is a need to resist a tension or compressive force or both. These helical piers consist of a shaft made from either solid square steel bar or tubular steel. On the piers is welded either one or more helical plates. Extensions of various lengths are available and supplied with couplings and hardware for attachment to the lead allowing the ECP helical piers assembly to reach the desired depth.
 
 
 
 


Cracked Foundation Repair with Steel Push Piers

clock January 16, 2012 04:19 by author
Steel Push Piers are the most popular form of foundation repair for settling homes. When installed by trained foundation repair contractors steel push piers will provide years of structural support.

Foundation Repair using Steel Push Piers

Foundation repair, steel push piers

One of the advantages of using push piers (resistance piers) for foundation repair is that they use quiet vibration free hydraulic equipment to  install the steel resistance piers. All of the installation equipment is highly portable and can be easily transported on the jobsite. After all of the steel push piers are installed and load tested, the structure can be immediately restored or lifted by transferring the load of the home to the piers. There's no time wasted, waiting for concrete to cure, and no soil to remove from the site. A measured factor of safety is verified, as the piers are 100% load tested to a force greater than the actual working load. This all means that you will get verified structural support for many years when you require steel push piers to be used on your home’s foundation.

Remember to always consult with an independent professional engineer before starting any structural foundation repairs and these repairs should only be performed by trained foundation repair contractors.

Steel Push Piers Installation

Below, the following steps the typical installation procedure for the largest selling Steel Push Piers:

1. Site survey: Pier placements are located around the structure and the location of underground utilities verified.

2. steel push piersExcavation: Small excavations or the entire perimeter is dug for access at each placement location. The space required at the foundation is usually about 3 feet square.

3. Prep of the foundation: This includes notching the concrete footing to place the push pier bracket under the stem wall, preparing the bearing area under the footing to a smooth and level condition, and adjusting the face of the stem wall to vertical at the point of bracket attachment.

4. Bracket Attachment: The steel resistance pier bracket is secured to the footing using anchor bolts. Attachment of the drive stand and the hydraulic cylinder that is used to force the pier pipe into the soil is mounted on the drive stand.

5. Push Pier Pipe Installation: The steel pier pipe is advanced into the soil using the structure as the reaction force with a 10,000 psi hydraulic pump and cylinder combination. The piers may be installed from outside or inside the structure. Pier installation continues until rock or suitable bearing-strata is encountered below the unstable soil near the surface.

6. Load Test: Every resistance pier is load tested by increasing the force on the pier to insure the rock or bearing-strata will support a load greater than needed to guarantee a factor of safety. Typically an engineer will determine the load of the structure and the desired factor of safety before the load tests are performed.

7. cracked foundation repairPreps for Restoration: Once all push piers have been installed, load tested, and the installation data at each placement recorded; lifting head assemblies and hydraulic lifting rams are placed on the steel piers. The lifting cylinders are connected with one or more manifolds and operated using a hydraulic pump.

8. Restoration: Under careful supervision, the load is transferred from the existing failing strata under the foundation, to the load tested piers. The structure can be transferred gently and evenly lifted to as close to the original elevation or to the recommendation of the engineer. The nuts at the pier caps are secured at each placement and the lifting equipment is removed.

9. Clean Up: The soil that was excavated at each steel push pier placement is now replaced and compacted. The site is left clean and neat.

Foundation Repair Solutions

If you have noticed cracks in your drywall, brick or foundation you might need steel push piers to provide structural support foundation repairs. Whether your foundation is concrete block, poured concrete or composed of stone, steel push piers should be your first choice as a foundation repair solution. Foundation repair or structural underpinning projects, with steel push piers, are usually completed in just days, not weeks.



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