Helical piers may be the right fix for your home if you’ve noticed any of the nine telltale signs that you need a foundation inspection. Experts use these powerful structural additions to address instances of foundation settlement and head off any more significant damage to the foundation itself and the supported structure.
Helical piers can rightly be called a real team player in foundation maintenance and repair because they work in tandem with the structure, counting on the home itself to make sure they do their job. Installing them can be a quick and cost-effective solution that can provide decades of structural stability. This guide will explore how helical piers operate and why they provide such impressive advantages in foundation repair.
The Basics of Helical Piers
Helical piers – also known as screw piles – are long steel tubes designed to use the weight of your home to make it steadier. They provide foundation and structural stabilization you can count on for years, even if you’re experiencing foundation sink. Here’s how they work:
A Four-Part Structure
The footing and bracket of a pier are what attaches to the structure and what it will rest on. The steel shaft’s length will vary depending on necessary repairs. The helical plate makes these (effectively) into giant screws and transfers structural weight to the pier. A second plate is sometimes required, depending on site needs.
The Search for Soil and Strata
Workers drive helical piers underground in search of a sturdy load-bearing strata. They can also be used to find highly compacted soil or bedrock. Driving beneath the soft top layer of earth helps set your home’s foundation onto a much stronger footing than the one directly under it. This is typically a weak or compromised soil base that may be too dry, too wet, or fighting tree roots.
This begins after the pros have inspected your property and decided helical piers are the right repair. The installation team will decide the best location for pier driving (typically no more than 6 feet apart) and the optimal angles for maximum structural support. They will dig holes to expose some parts of the foundation so they can drive the piers far enough down to bear the load before the home is shifted onto the footing and bracket.
Once the job is done it’s a simple matter of backfilling the holes and covering up the piers. Beyond the mechanical basics is where the real advantages of helical piers come into play.
The 4 Main Benefits of Helical Piers for Foundation Repair
Helical piers are a popular choice because they represent advantages for the foundation team, the customer, and the property. Their toughness is matched by their versatility for different installations, making them a flexible option for various earth types and budgets. Their top benefits are:
1. Quick and Cost-Effective
Helical pier installation is one of the quickest foundation fixes from transportation to installation. There’s also no wait time for the piers to get to work, unlike other repairs that may involve waiting for concrete to set. Immediate load-bearing capacity means less labor time and more savings.
2. A Green Profile
Helical piers are long-lasting and extremely low-impact at the installation point, which ensures little to no damage to the site or its surrounding environment. Helical piers don’t require heavy equipment or vehicles to install them, so construction noise and pollution are minimal.
3. Superior Load Bearing
Other methods of foundation stabilization, such as push piers, can be sufficient for certain projects, but they’re not as strong as the screw-like function of helices. This lets helical piers go deeper, find sturdier grounding, and support heavier weights.
4. Tackling Varied Terrain
Helical piers work equally well across different soil types and in sloped or uneven terrain, because contractors can install them in vertical or horizontal orientations. They can even stabilize sites with a high water table, such as homes near rivers, lakes, or marshy ground.
Helical pier installation is like any advanced structural work in that it carries inherent risks. Hire only the most experienced foundation repair teams, and you’ll avoid some costly errors.
Common Pitfalls of Helical Piers
Proper helical pier installation involves more than digging a hole and inserting a tube. High levels of precision are required at every stage to ensure everyone is kept safe, and projects don’t cost more than they have to. Be on the lookout for these typical drawbacks:
- Price quotes for helical piers aren’t an exact science, which can lead to inaccurate quotes. Choose a transparent team that will keep you informed of project progress and any price-altering factors involved.
- Understanding soil is a critical skill for helical pier teams. Make sure your contractor has this geological knowledge and an understanding of torque numbers, or your pier project may fail out of the gate.
- Rotating equipment can be dangerous to contractors and those around them if strict safety procedures aren’t followed at all times.
- Helical pier tubes come in various configurations, including square, rounded, or hybrid shafts. Each has its pros and cons, depending on the site. Your contractor should be aware of this and follow manufacturer specifications for installation.
Appreciating these risk factors should be a basic skill for every foundation repair team. Choosing professionals with the experience and perspective of many previous jobs means you’re buying peace of mind as well as a high-quality product and service. Always speak to the right crew before a project begins, and your helical piers will provide excellent stability for many years to come.
Contact an Expert With Any Questions About Stabilizing Your Foundation
Using helical piers to secure your foundation can be a great choice when they’re applied by the right hands. LUX Foundation Solutions is proud to be a hand-picked Grip-Tite Manufacturing Co. Signature Dealer. This lets us provide their Push Pier system, which delivers outstanding quality for your home’s foundation.
Contact LUX Foundation Solutions today to speak with an expert about your foundation repair questions.