St. Louis Foundation Piering
Your home’s foundation is vulnerable to all kinds of structural problems. One such problem is shifting. As the soil around and under it changes, structures become misaligned, walls start to buckle and the basement might start leaking. Luckily, a technique called foundation piering can correct these issues and get your home into great shape.
How to Tell If You Need Foundation Piering
Most homes will experience some foundation movement at some point. When it happens, it is usually followed by a range of symptoms inside and outside of your home. Your foundation might need piering if:
- There are cracks in your basement, brickwork and foundation walls
- Windows, doors and chimneys are misaligned and don’t work properly
- Your basement is wet or has stains from leakages
- Foundation walls are bowed
- Roofline fascia boards and trims are falling away
Causes of Foundation Shifting
The main causes of your foundation shifting are dryness and water in the surrounding soil. When the soil under the foundation is dry, it will shrink over time. As it shrinks, more air will flow through it and extract the moisture, causing openings in the wall of your basement. This occurrence causes the supporting soil to be unstable and the foundation to shift.
On the other side of the spectrum, wet soil can be a problem as well. When soil absorbs water from rain, snow or irrigation systems, it swells up and exerts pressure on the foundation walls. As a result, cracks, leakages and sinking might occur.
Although the problems caused by dry or wet soil can be remedied if they are minor, some foundation issues can only be repaired by installing piers.
How Foundation Piering Works
Installing a foundation pier is a simple procedure in theory. In practice, however, it requires the expertise of engineers and seasoned contractors. This is why homeowners should not attempt piering at home.
The purpose of a pier is to change the support of the foundation. In other words, a home supported by unstable soil will be moved on to a metal pier to restore stability. Piering also restores the structure of damaged foundations.
- To install a pier, sod and soil around the home is removed to expose the footing of the foundation.
- Heavy-duty brackets are placed at the foundation footing to provide support.
- A hydraulic press made of carbon steel drills into the earth until it hits bedrock or strata that can support the weight of the home.
- A 44-pound weldment made of durable steel is installed under the foundation to replace soil.
- The weldment is overloaded for a short period of time to test if it can support the weight of the property. If it passes the test, brackets are locked in, tubing is discarded and hole is backfilled.
The installation process described above is called the Perma Jack System. Many engineers prefer this method because it is simple and reliable. It is used to install piers that can support up to 16000 pounds and causes less friction than most systems on the market today.
Ready to get started? Call us today for a free estimate.