What's the Difference In Foundation Repair Methods?
When a homeowner determines that their home’s foundation may be damaged or failing them, the first feelings are ones of concern and confusion. The foundation of a home has everything to do with the safety and comfort of those who live in it, and when a repair is needed, getting honest and clear information is critical for the owner. The homeowners can become perplexed over the different methods of repair, but understanding that there is a difference, is the first step to evaluating the best solution.
In Texas, because of the nature of soil conditions, climate variances, and home construction materials, there are essentially four primary methods used to repair a home’s foundation. They include:
- Bell Bottom Pier Method
- Pressed Piling Method
- Pressed Piling with Inserts Method
- Steel Piling Method
Briefly, let’s look at each of the methods.
- Bell Bottom Pier Method – This design consists of a rebar-reinforced (steel), concrete pier installed under the home’s foundation with a bell-shaped base at the bottom. This foundation support is the same type used in the construction of commercial multi-story buildings, bridges, and highway overpasses.
- Pressed Piling Method – This design involves the pressing down of individual, unconnected concrete cylinders into the soil where the repair is needed. The weight of the home is used to drive the cylinders into the soil.
- Pressed Piling with Inserts Method – This method takes Pressed Pilings one step further by reinforcing the concrete cylinders with an insert, usually rebar.
- Steel Piling Method – Unlike Pressed Pilings methods using concrete which can break during installation, Steel Pilings use the strength of steel cylinders to overcome the more fragile nature of concrete. The process of installation is similar to other Piling methods using the force of the home for installation.
Which is better for your home?
As you might be able to guess from the brief descriptions above, there are disadvantages to the Piling methods. The depth of the pilings is limited by the weight of the home which means that the pilings may or may not reach stable soil to adequately secure your foundation. Since there is no base to the piling methods, the shifting of soil over time can affect the pilings as well. Concrete cylinders may break during installation and go unnoticed during the process. (Think how fragile patio pavers can be!) Even steel pilings, while not likely to break, are not as thick as concrete, and they can give way to the pressure of shifting soil over time. There are other disadvantages to the Pressed Piles methods, but what about the Bell Bottom Pier method?
Bell Bottom Pier
The advantages to this method are significant, and in fact, this method is the only thoroughly researched and proven foundation slab repair method. The soil is tested for strength and the size of the bell and shaft can be custom designed to match the home’s engineering needs. Safely factors are built into each pier, and no damaging forces are exerted on the home during repair. This method has become the “gold standard” of foundation repair among engineers and satisfied customers. This is the only method that Dawson Foundation Repair uses, and we offer a FREE foundation inspection for homeowners and commercial property owners.
Dawson Foundation Repair services homes and commercial businesses all over Texas including Austin, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, and other smaller cities. If you have questions about methods of repairing your foundation, how it might affect your family or office, or just general questions about foundation problems, we are here to provide you with a professional opinion, and if necessary, a proven, time-tested, and permanent house leveling solution.