Types of Piers Used in Foundation Repair
Foundation problems can be scary for any homeowner. Fortunately, there are several options available when it comes to fixing foundation issues resulting from things like erosion or settlement. One of the most popular options is pier-based foundation repair, which involves the use of various types of piers to provide additional stability and support for a home’s foundation.
In this post, we've outlined different types of piers and how they differ below so you have all the information needed to make an informed decision about the next steps in repairing your foundation.
Helical piers are a type of foundation repair that utilizes steel piers with helical-shaped plates to provide deep and robust support for buildings. This method can be used in all soil types, from soft sand to dense clay, and offers greater flexibility for the footing depth than other foundation repair systems.
Compared to concrete or push piers, helical piles require less labor time and much less disruption since they can be installed without any excavation or soil removal. They also have a higher load capacity when used to support unstable structures. Although often more expensive than traditional repair systems, the combined advantages of helical piering make it an excellent choice when faced with foundation issues.
Push piers are a type of deep foundation repair system that differs from other piering systems in several ways. Push piers are driven deep underneath the foundation, providing stable base support for your home or business. Unlike other piering systems which rely on hydraulically driven steel piles as their main form of support, push piers are pre-manufactured and keep their form when pushed beneath the surface. As a result, they don't require ground material like concrete to hold them in place.
Push piers can be used in any soil condition and provide superior load-bearing capacity since they can be easily adjusted to unexpected soil conditions while they're being installed. Push piering is an effective way to permanently stabilize a settling structure without undergoing extensive excavation or compromising the existing footing.
Piers vs Piles
Foundation repair piers and piles are both used to level and stabilize foundations, but there are some distinct differences between the two. Piers are driven deep into the soil beneath a structure and are secured with concrete for added stability. This is typically done with an auger that drills through the earth and creates a narrow space for piers to be placed. In contrast, foundation repair piles go farther down into the earth using a large steel pipe that is filled with concrete or other structural material like wood.
Piles differ from piers in that they require more manual labor, excavation, and material costs than simple piers. Thus, it is important to determine which type of foundation support system best suits your particular needs before proceeding with any repairs.
Crawl Space Jacks
Crawl space jacks are another form of foundation repair used to stabilize foundations, but they differ from piering in that they are installed under living spaces instead of beneath the dirt or concrete slab. Crawl space jacks are typically adjustable and can be adjusted over time as needed, providing greater flexibility for foundation repairs.
Unlike piering, crawl space jacks tend to cause less disruption since the installation takes place in an accessible area rather than underground. The jacks become part of the supported structure, helping it better withstand shifts in the soils around it and ensuring your home's long-term health and structural integrity.
Outdated Piering and Piling Systems
Outdated foundation repair systems often rely on methods such as mudjacking, requiring the injection of a primarily dirt-based material under a settling foundation. By comparison, modern systems like helical piers use sturdy steel screw piles that are carefully embedded into the soil deep below the surface to better support a failed foundation and take pressure off vulnerable concrete or block bases.
Helical-based foundations can offer lasting protection in areas with high water tables or unstable soil since they increase the waterfront stability of a structure’s basement by transferring weight and force far away from its walls. With the added benefits of being easier to install, less labor-intensive, and more reliable than their outdated counterparts, helical piers make for an ideal choice when considering a more permanent fix for your home's infrastructure.