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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.

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



DIY Foundation Repair - Why NOT to Do It

clock December 27, 2013 09:26 by author
Avoid DIY foundation repair because it only puts a bandaid on the problem. Hire an expert to find a foundation repair solution in your budget range.

It's so tempting to consider do-it-yourself foundation repair. It is sort of like when you aren't feeling well, you Google search your symptoms on the internet, and find possible matches for your problem and consider not going to the doctor. The same is true for your foundation problems. You figure you can save money if you do it yourself, so you Google search the symptoms, and consider trying to fix your foundation problems yourself. The problem is, you are likely just going to put a bandaid on a much bigger problem. All over the internet and TV today you find websites and programs with DIY steps for fixing foundation problems. Most people do not have the tools that it would take to do what really needs to be done for foundation repairs. The problem is programs on TV and website make it seem simple, and bait their programs with the enticing "you could save a lot of money" tagline. 

Why DIY isn't the Way to Go

Your foundation is literally the most important part of your home. Most people are focusing on the cosmetic parts of their home. Paint, flooring, and the like. These very well might be good DIY projects for homeowners. When it comes to your foundation however, you really don't want to go the DIY route. Here is why:

1. It is hard to tell when foundation problems are leading to foundation failure. Sure, you might know the signs and symptoms of foundation problems. A homeowner should know the signs including bowing and leaning walls, floor cracks, wall cracks, drywall cracks, foundation cracks, leaning chimneys, water stains and leaks, and doors and windows that stick. But do you know when foundation failure is imminent? It takes a structural engineer to really know how serious the problems you have are. Special training is required to recognize these types of problems and the level of seriousness is envolved. So know the symptoms and make sure to act accordingly. 

2. You foundation can make or break the value of your home. Your foundation really is the most important part of your house. When an inspection is done on your home if you are trying to sell it, the inspector will absolutely know the difference between DIY foundation repairs and professional foundation repairs, and it WILL affect the value of your home. 

3. You likely don't have the right tools to perform foundation repairs. Many websites claim to offer DIY foundation repair "kits" but slapping some carbon fiber on a wall crack may not be all that you need. Some foundation repair jobs require piering products or underpinning products to lift or level a foundation. Some foundation repairs require grout or epoxy injections performed under high pressure. These require special equipment to complete. Some jobsites even require excavation to get to the root area of the problem. Again, you really won't know until you contact a foundation repair expert or structural engineer. 

4. You could cause yourself injury or cause additional damage to your home. It's okay to admit you might not know how to fix your foundation cracks, or bowing and leaning walls. It is a lot better to admit that than to hurt yourself because you don't know what you are doing. It is also very possible that you could make your foundation problems worse by not knowing what you are doing. There is no DIY foundation repair important enough to cause yourself injury or further home damage. If you aren't sure, or if you are following steps on a website or from a kit to do your foundation repairs, you probably don't have the skills required to do the job safely.

5. You might cost yourself more money in the end. Number 4 leads right into number 5. If you aren't sure what you are doing you could cost yourself a lot more money in the end. It is possible that you try to fix your own foundation and when it doesn't work, a foundation specialist comes in and has to undo what you tried to do to fix your own problem. This can result in higher costs for your foundation repairs. Your wallet is definitely something to consider when it comes to do it yourself foundation repairs. 

Skip DIY Foundation Repairs - Consult a Foundation Specialist

Of course it is understandable to try to save yourself some money when it comes to home repair. No one wants to spend more money than they need to when it comes to foundation repairs. The good news is, if you get in touch with a foundation repair specialist through My Foundation Repairs, we will get you in touch with a foundation repair specialist in your area that is licensed and reputable. They will work very hard to find a foundation repair solution in your budget range. They also won't try to find a problem where there isn't one. It may be that there is a less expensive solution available for the problems that you are having. You won't be lead down the wrong path. The other good thing about finding a foundation specialist through My Foundation Repairs is we only recommend foundation specialist that use the best foundation repair products available on the market today. Whether it be foundation piering or underpinning products, epoxy or grouting materials, or even waterproofing and drainage solutions, only the best products are utilized. This means long lasting foundation repair solutions for you and your home.



What Type of Foundation Do You Have?

clock December 27, 2013 07:50 by author
The common types of foundations are block, brick, cement, cinder block, and concrete. Know what type your home has to avoid foundation issues.

It is important as a home or business owner to know as much as possible about the type of foundation you have in your structure. This will help you know what type of foundation problems to look out for, so you can make sure to get the needed foundation repairs for your type of foundation. Here is a list of some of the most common types of foundation and little bit about each of them to help you know what to look out for in your home or business.

Common Foundation Types

Block Foundation: If you build a concrete block foundation the right way, the result can be an extremely strong foundation. Sometimes it is even stronger than a traditional poured concrete foundation. If it is not built correctly however, the result can be extremely costly foundation problems. These block basement retaining walls should be sealed completely, and sometimes "rebar" is used to add strength. If the extra steps aren't taken to strengthen these walls, water can get in through the blocks. Another problem frequently seen in these foundations is bowing and leaning. This is because pressure is put on the walls from the outside by a build up of pressure. This is sometimes caused by water in the soil around your home. The pressure that is built up by that extra water is called hydrostatic pressure. When the pressure is exerted on block foundation walls, bowing and leaning can occur. 

Brick Foundation:  It was very common in the early 1900's to use brick and mortar to build foundation walls. If you have an older home you may notice this is your foundation type. Red brick and mortar were a commonly used building material at the time. The problem with these foundation walls is that over time, they can become weak. Mortar can break down, bricks can start to peel. If you notice this happening, make sure to look at the walls closely for bowing and leaning of the walls. The soil around these foundations will exert pressure on them, and push them in. This occurs commonly when the brick and mortar breakdown. Sometime you can just have the mortar or brick repair by a masonry specialist, but sometimes the walls need to have added support. There are bracing and reinforcing tools that foundation repair specialists can use, so contact your local foundation support specialist to make sure the right repair is being performed. 

Cement Foundation:  The cement foundation is commonly used in building today, especially poured concrete foundations. These are considered strong foundations, easy to maintain. One of the main pluses of a cement foundation is it's fire resistance. Don't be fooled though. Cement foundations can still have problems. If you have a new construction home, it is a great idea to ask for new construction piers to be installed. This will add additional support for your poured cement foundation. If you have a cement foundation, you still need to watch for foundation cracks and leaks. The same factors that cause problems for other types of foundations such as block and brick foundations can wreak havoc on poured concrete foundations as well. If pressure is put on these walls they can bow and lean, and even crack. Be vigilant with any type of foundation, including cement foundations.

Cinder Block Foundation: Cinder block foundations aren't always a bad option. If you are building a home in a rural area, sometimes a ready-mix truck can't make it to your location to pour concrete. In these cases blocks or cinder blocks might be used. As long as they installed on firm, compacted, even ground and no short cuts are taken, then this can still be a great option in your home. If cinder blocks aren't sealed properly however, or the ground beneath them wasn't even and compacted prior to building, big problems can arise. Settlement can cause cinder blocks to crack, shift, and leak. It is important to monitor cinder block foundations for changes. Get to know your foundation by inspecting it frequently. This can make the difference between cinder block repair and complete foundation replacement. 

Concrete Foundation: Today there are some benefits to using concrete. Frost resistance concrete is even an option, which is a great benefit. T-shaped foundations are used where weather is cold as well. A t-shaped footing is installed below the frostline for added support. Slab on grade concrete foundations are common in some areas of the country as well. Again, when done right with no short cuts, these are very strong foundation solutions. Slab foundations however can crack and do sometimes require extra supports such as slab piers. Concrete can still shift and crack, and even collapse if voids open up beneath them. Flordia, for example, sees sinkholes frequently. If a void opens beneath a concrete foundation it can be a game changer. Void fill with grout is an option in these cases. If you live in an area where sinkholes and voids are come due to soluble rock in the area, it is smart to know the signs, which are very similar to the signs of foundation failure. 

No Matter the Foundation Type, Problems Can Occur

From reading above, you can probably see that no matter what type of foundation you have, from brick to concrete, problems can and will arise. Know your foundation. You are the best advocate for your home's health. Inspect your foundation frequently and contact a foundation professional in your area, or have a structural engineer inspect your foundation so you know better how to deal with your problem. Many foundation experts will give you a free estimate. This can take the guess work out of what type of repair you need. Regardless of the problem or cost, don't ignore foundation problems. Your foundation is the most important part of your home. If it is in good repair, your home will last for a very long time, and maintain a high property value. If your foundation is in poor repair, you can be sure the value of your home will plummet. Let My Foundation Repairs help by getting you in touch with a foundation specialist in your area today. We are here to help!



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