Your home rests on its foundation. If the foundation is damaged, then your home will bear stresses it wasn’t designed for and can suffer expensive damage as a result. Large cracks can form in walls and supporting structures. Doors and windows may become difficult to open. Walls and floors may become distorted, and sections of your home can shear apart.
What causes foundation damage? Sometimes an addition to your home such as a second or third floor level, may exceed the foundation’s load capacity. Often however, damage is caused by unstable soil. The Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio areas have expansive clay soil that swells and shrinks with changes in its moisture content. Texas has been hit hard by drought in recent years, and the extreme dryness causes substantial instability in its clay soil. This soil expansion/contraction around and beneath your foundation can stress it to the point of cracking. When this happens, your foundation requires prompt repair to prevent further damage to your home.
What Is Foundation Underpinning?
When your foundation can no longer support your home, foundation underpinning strengthens and repairs it by adding more vertical support. This vertical support extends deeper into the ground which increases the foundation’s strength and stability. The depth of the supports depend on individual circumstances. The supports can be used to level your foundation with the use of mechanical jacks.
Sometimes relatively shallow supports are all that’s required. Other circumstances require supports that extend deeper into stable, load bearing soil or rock.
Here are three common underpinning methods:
Concrete Pier Method
Concrete piers are short cylindrical sections of concrete that are hydraulically pushed into the ground just under the edge of a foundation. Several of these are stacked one above the other and pushed further into the ground until a prescribed pressing force is reached. This pressure is more than enough to support the foundation at its point of attachment. The sections are connected together by a cable to provide lateral stability, and metal shims are used to fill the gap between the piers and the foundation.
Steel Pier Method
Steel piers, also called push piers, consist of interlocking sections of steel pipe that are hydraulically rammed into the ground one section at a time. This continues until the pier reaches a suitable load bearing soil layer. The interlocking sections are secured with cabling.
Drilled Pier Method
Drilled piers are made from rebar reinforced concrete. A hole of sufficient diameter and depth is drilled into the ground with an open-helix auger. Rebar is then placed into the hole and followed by concrete which is poured and allowed to dry.
The Benefits Of Foundation Underpinning
Foundation underpinning is cost-effective. The cost of any of the above underpinning methods is a small fraction of the cost of a foundation replacement. Not only is the foundation repaired, it is stronger than it was before the damage occurred. It is resistant to further soil changes, especially those caused by drought.
The piers supporting the foundation rest in deeper ground that is far removed from the moisture changes occurring in the soil closer to the surface. Having a structurally sound home that rests on a stable foundation brings you piece of mind. It leaves your savings where they belong: in your savings account, and it increases the value of your home.
Do Your Research
If you’re having foundation problems and require the services of foundation repair experts, do your research and only hire the best. Perma-Pier Foundation Repair has been in the business for three generations. We have done over 15,000 repair projects which include residential homes and commercial buildings. We provide a lifetime warranty with our repair work. Contact us today to learn more.