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 for contractors but has very little benefit 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 is 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 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, all 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.
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.
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 requires 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 your home – a high-quality steel pier system. To schedule a consultation with an approved installer of a high-quality steel push pier, contact us today.