Understanding Foundation Piering for Buildings

One of the most devastating things that can happen to a building is foundation failure. Because a foundation shoulders the load of the entire structure, its failure can cause problems that make it unsafe and at risk of collapse. Replacement is not only expensive, disruptive and time consuming. In these cases, foundation piering is an efficient and cost effective method of foundation repair, one that results in significantly less inconvenience to home owners or businesses.

Foundations can fail for many reasons, the most common causes being improper construction and unstable soil. This is often the case when construction is done very close to watersheds such as swamps and bogs, or when the soil has a higher than usual content of clay, as it does in Georgia. In either case, piering can restore the foundation back to proper form.

workers fixing a home's foundation with pieringFoundation piering involves sinking steel pilings, also called piers, into the ground to straighten and permanently support the existing building foundation. There are two different types of foundation piering, each serving to stabilize different types of structures. When the structure needing support is smaller or lighter, helical piers (also known as drilled piers) are used. These are threaded piers that are screwed into the ground using a hydraulic torque motor. For larger, heavier structures, the process of resistance or push piering is used. Resistance piering uses long, coated steel shafts that are pounded into the ground using a powerful hydraulic ram.

Both techniques involve sinking multiple piers to a depth where they are either embedded in rock or stable soil. Once inserted to their intended depths, they are fastened to the foundation using metal braces. Heavy duty hydraulic jacks are then used to raise and level the structure. Finally, the braces are welded or bolted into place, to permanently retain the structure.

Foundation piering is an efficient method of repairing a failing building foundation. If you see signs of a failing foundation in your home, such as cracking, crumbling, or gaps around doorways or windows, it is important to consult a professional as soon as possible.

Assisting Georgia residents and businesses since 2007, the experts as ESOG will be there for your every need. Contact us today before it is too late.