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Do Pressed Concrete Piers Work?

clock December 13, 2009 21:56 by author blogadmin
Understanding pressed concrete piers is necessary before having your foundation repair work done.


Have you ever noticed how many foundation repair companies use pressed concrete piers? Pressed concrete piers are the most typically used piers for several reasons, the question is, are these reasons good ones? For the contractor they are the most cost effective pier to install. For the contractor they are least expensive to purchase. For the contractor they are the easiest to install.

For the contractor concrete pressed piers require the least amount of material for him to purchase. For the contractor they require the least amount of equipment to install.While this is a real reflection of the low costs of concrete cylinders and the work to install these piers, it’s also a reflection of the quality, or lack thereof, of the contractors who install them. Many pressed pier contractors are using cheap hydraulic bottle jacks to press these cylinders. This low tech approach is one of the reasons that many foundation engineers will not recommend their use. These are the reasons that pressed concrete pier contractors advertise the lowest prices. If a low price is more important than a real repair then pressed concrete piles is your answer.

An ironic advertising gimmick that pressed pile contractors use against steel piers is that steel rusts. What they do not tell you is that they use thin steel shims between the concrete piles and the footing. They forget to tell you that they use steel cables inside the piles to keep things aligned or add to lateral strength. If you notice they do not use galvanized steel they use black, thin unprotected steel. There are even some contractors using steel piles below their concrete pier section to achieve a deep foundation pier. This is a clear admission that their pressed concrete cylinders do not drive deep enough to effectively support your foundation. So if they integrate steel in their piles, why do they not switch to a high quality galvanized steel piling system? Simply, the cost will increase and they cannot compete.

Another gimmick that pressed concrete pile contractors use is high pressure water jetting. This is when the contractor uses pressurized water to soften the soils below their pier as a means to drive the pile deeper. Sounds good, its reasonable, right? Well, lets think about what generally causes foundation failures; water. Yes water is the number one culprit of foundation failure. Now these contractors are injecting water under your foundation in an attempt to fix it? Ask any engineer if he recommends injecting water under your foundation as a good way to stabilize the home. It is pretty obvious that his answer will be “not under any circumstances”.

When you have foundation problems and you are looking for a solution, remember a few simple things before hiring a contractor. First, is the cheapest solution likely the best solution? Second, will the piers be driven deeply enough to provide support? Does the contractor use specialized equipment and products recommended by a professional engineer? Finally, will the techniques employed by the foundation repair contractor truly fix your problem or will it only mask the problems?


Micropile Underpinning of Indiana School

clock November 21, 2009 08:31 by author blogadmin
Micropile underpinning was installed at a Indiana school that was experiencing foundation settlement.


Project: Washington Middle School Evansville, IN

General Contractor: Danco Construction Co.
 Micropile Installer: United Dynamics, Inc. 2555 Cannon St New Albany, IN           800 359 4471 


Project Information: 

 Washington Middle School was being renovated and it was discovered that it was experiencing some differential settlement. Soil borings indicated the presence of fill material below the foundation. Traditional steel resistance underpinning and helical underpinning were selected originally by the design engineers as the choice of remediation. Upon review of the soil information, UDI was concerned with the capabilities of these underpinning methods due to the soils information provided. It would be possible for the helical piers to encounter cobbles/floaters in the fill thus negating the installation. The use steel resistance piers likewise could become compromised by the nature of the fill. To solve this UDI proposed the installation of small diameter hollow bar micropiles. The main advantage of the method would be the penetration of the fill material into the 'good' material below the cobbled fill.       


The passive installation of the micropiles would also allow for a greater factor of safety in strength and parameters. UDI mated Titan's 40/20mm hollow bar micropiles with Earth Contact Products MP 350 Underpinning Bracket (75,000-99,000 lbs capacity) to provide a competent underpinning system. UDI excavated the site and prepared the footings during the first day of operation. Once the brackets were mounted, UDI installed the micropiles, coring and simultaneously grouting the bars as they drilled 35' through the cobbled fill and into the good strata. Upon completion, UDI’s crew was able to stabilize and lift the structure with the MP350 micropile bracketing system. By utilizing this application, UDI was able to complete the project with a three-man crew in just over three days. UDI's vast experience in dealing with different underpinning techniques provided an economical solution to an otherwise difficult situation. 

Helical Pier Installation at Ocean House Hotel

clock November 10, 2009 19:14 by author blogadmin
Helical pier installation at Ocean House Hotel. Contractors from My Foundation Repairs used contractors for foundation Repairs.

By: New England Foundation & Stabilization Co.


Today marks the 6th day we have been at the new Ocean House Luxury Hotel. New England Foundation and Stabilization Co. was brought on site to install ECP (Earth Contact Products) Helical Torque Anchors to support the proposed event tent on the south lawn of the property that overlooks Watch Hill.  

 The Helical anchors will be recessed into lawn boxes that can be accessed when the tent is erected and will provide support to the tent guy wires, allowing proper tensile support in a strong wind load area, and ease of erecting and removing the tent during event set-up and tear down. The Helical Anchor installation is expected to be complete this week.

Please review the site photos below. We will post further photos and information once the project is complete.




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