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World of Concrete Show

clock January 23, 2011 17:29 by author blogadmin
The World of Concrete is a convention for contractors that specialize in concrete and foundation repairs.

 

The World of Concrete (WOC) is a convention and expo for concrete and foundation contractors to visit and learn from exhibitors. The 2011 World of Concrete, while less attended due to economic reasons, fulfilled its goals for many specialty contractors from around the country. Weston Opat, National Sales Manager for Earth Contact Products, said "while attendance was down, the quality of visiting contractors was significant".

Earth Contact Products has displayed their foundation repair products and services at the WOC for 11 years. Recent years has seen declining numbers of visiting contractors yet many continue to come and seek out new products, knowledge and procedures. Many exhibitors, like Earth Contact Products fulfill these needs and provide ways for many contractors to diversify and expand their businesses during tough economic times. Weston Opat spoke of contractors that he visited with from Washington, California, Nebraska, Connecticut, Maine and Canada who all are seeking a quality manufacturer of helical anchors, steel push piers and wall anchors. While many of these contractors were able to visit with several manufacturers, "ECP appears to fit our needs in many ways", says Bill Ford (WCM Contractors).



Foundation Repair Your Underpinning Options

clock September 28, 2010 18:11 by author blogadmin
Avoid foundation repair contractors that take short cuts to make foundation repairs. Choose one that provides quality jobs and master the foundation methods.

 

 

Understanding all foundation repair or underpinning methods will help with your decision when deciding upon a foundation repair contractor. Some unscrupulous foundation repair contractors advertise that they can put in every type of piering system. Professional contractors concentrate on just one or two piering methods and master them. The contractors that claim to be a “jack of all trades” usually are the master of none. They generally take short cuts and due to the fact that they are not thoroughly trained in each specific method. Professional foundation repair contractors that pick a system or two and stick with it generally can master the methods and provide a better quality job. They may not have the answer for every situation but they will generally provide better quality work on the jobs that they accept. They are also more likely to be recommended by professional engineers. If an engineer is putting his reputation on the line they generally will recommend professional underpinning contractors to perform the work they specify.

Knowing the positives and negatives of each foundation repair system is one more step in getting a job well done. All commonly accepted methods have their place or application where they shine. Some methods, like steel push piers and helical anchors, are more adaptable to unique situations, yet even they have their limitations. Using the correct method for your particular application is the difference between a job well done and a job that is less than satisfactory.

Steel push piers have an advantage over most systems in the fact that they are individually tested as they are installed. Professional underpinning contractors will monitor and record pressure readings and then compare them with structural weights to determine capacities. They will also use a manifold lifting system to perform any lifting required to make sure that the lift does not put any undue pressure on the structure. Professional engineers prefer manifold lifting systems especially high pressure (10,000psi) systems that can be controlled from a single place.

Helical pier systems are another very popular system recommended by many professional engineers. Helical piers are "screwed" in the soil using a helical gear motor or torque motor. Once again pressures and torque reading are monitored and recorded to establish capacities. Without carefully monitoring these reading a verifiable capacity cannot be assumed. Professional engineers generally want to review these readings to verify that the helical piers have reached soil layers that can support the structure. Manifold lifting systems are once again the preferred method of lifting.

Simply, homeowners need to ask questions of engineers and underpinning contractors before choosing a contractor. Stay away from the jack of all trades and also be wary of the contractor who does not use a manifold lifting system. Many of these contractors use simple bottle jacks in their attempt to lift structures. These are all simple clues that you need to keep looking for a professional contractor to work on your most valuable asset, your home. As always hiring an independent professional engineer is the best course of action before any foundation repairs are started.

 



Ignoring Foundation Repair

clock June 27, 2009 20:19 by author blogadmin
By ignoring foundation repairs, your home may start to settle or move laterally. Hire a foundation repair expert to stabilize your foundation before it is too late.

 

Foundation repair is not something most of us like to think about. We tend to ignore it and hope that fixes itself. Foundation problems can be a stressful, potentially costly endeavor, filled with uncertainty, particularly if not done under the direction of a professional contractor or foundation engineer. 

Foundation Repair is needed when your foundation begins to settle or move laterally. This can be caused by building on expansive clay, compressible or improperly compacted fill soils, or improper maintenance around foundations.  

Foundation repairs aren't easily performed, so you cannot sit back and hope for the best. You must do your homework to find the best foundation repair contractor for the job. As usual, the lowest price is not always the best way to go. If you choose to make your final decision based on price, be prepared to be disappointed. Quality repairs take specialized equipment and specially trained people to perform the work. 

Needed foundation repair work can not be ignored. The traditional answer to foundation repair has been to erect piers to jack up the foundation and raise it off the expansive clay soil. The piers must be installed through the expansive or weak soils to stabilize the structure. Foundation repair can be the most expensive repair that you will make to a property. There are four major categories for this type of piering – steel push piers, helical piers, micro piles and concrete piles. Each of these have their benefits and logical applications. 

Steel push piers are hydraulically driven piers that use the weight of the structure to drive steel pier material through the soil until they reach a load bearing stratum for support. Once the pier material is driven, individual hydraulic cylinders are attached to each pier and the structure is either stabilized or lifted using a hydraulic manifold system. Steel push piers are best suited for basements, crawl spaces or other heavy structures. 

Helical piers are similar to push piers except they are screwed through the soil and use a steel plate, flight, to support the pile within layers of good soil. These piles must be monitored very closely upon installation to achieve their intended depths. Once an adequate depth is achieved, once again, a hydraulic manifold lifting system is installed to lift or stabilize the structure. These helical piers are ideally suited to light weight structures that only need a small lift or stabilization. 

Micro piles are hydraulically driven hollow steel piers that are filled with grout during installation or immediately upon completion. The hollow bar serves not only as structural steel but also as a means inject the grout. These high capacity piers use the same type of manifold lifting system as steel push piers and helical piers. While these piles have very large capacities and can be installed in soils that other piles cannot be installed in, they also require much more equipment for installation which make them more expensive to install. They are best suited for very heavy structures sitting upon poor soils laden with cobbles, boulders and trash. 

Concrete piers are piers that use a drilled hole filled with concrete that rely on skin friction for support. They are drilled or dug into the soil, usually beyond the active soils, and then filled with concrete. Once the concrete has hardened, a shimming system is usually employed to support the structure. These piers are not only messy but take much longer to complete. 

Foundation repair is critical to address as soon as you suspect a problem. For starters, the sooner you fix a failing foundation, the less damage it will cause. Due to the complexity of foundation repairs the best advice is to hire an engineer followed by a trained foundation repair contractor. These professionals will make sure that your home is fixed correctly and permanently. Do not ignore your foundation problems have them fixed by the pros.

 



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