The Job Site: Drilling and Belling

This page will describe the Drilling and Belling of a Bell Bottom Pier for Foundation Repair in Houston. Once the boxes (holes) are deep enough to begin motorized drilling, two man teams will drill a 9 inch shaft down to the stable soil beneath the concrete beams of the home. Once stable soil is reached ten to fifteen feet below ground level, workers will use a “belling tool” to create the distinctive “bell” which give bell bottom piers such great stability. The bell will have a final diameter of 24 inches which will support the weight of the house or building in the stable soil. Steel rebar is custom cut and tied together for each pier. Fresh concrete is poured and reinforced with the steel rebar to insure strength and durability. The wet concrete at top of the pier (the cap) is leveled and it is all left to cure or dry.

Drilling the Shaft of the Bell Bottom Pier

Drilling nine inch holes requires two men to manage the hydraulic drilling equipment.
The motorized dig requires a two man team to hold, guide and remove the digging auger.
The nine inch hole shown in this photo will be filled with steel rebar and concrete and will become the shaft of the Bell Bottom Pier.
The concrete that ultimately fills this hole will be reinforced with steel rebar.

The Completed Shaft of the Bell Bottom Pier

The photo shows the belling tool that is used to hollow out a bell shape that will be filled with concrete and become the foot of the Bell Bottom Pier.
This is the bell bottom tool that is used to shape the bottom of the hole.
After the bellling tool is removed from the hole the workers open the flanges and remove the soil.
The men must remove the soil from the interior of the tool, a process that is repeated 7 or 8 times until the bell bottom base is completed.

The Bell Bottom Tool

This photo also shows the workers removing the soil from the belling tool.
Plywood boards are always placed under our tools and heavy equipment to protect the homeowner’s lawn.
This photo shows the belling tool with the cutting flanges fully deployed.
This photograph shows the bell bottom digging tool with its flanges fully extended. This is the “secret” of digging “Bell Bottoms” at the bottom of a hole.

Drilling (Excavating) the Bell at the Bottom of the Shaft

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