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How Do Piles Work With Foundation?

Foundation repair experts drive steel piles deep into the soil under your house. They transfer the weight of the home to the piles supported by the strength of load-bearing soil or bedrock. Piles provide permanent support for your home. They can also restore leveling for homes that have suffered foundation damage and need repair.

What Do Piles Do?

Piles perform two functions that work together with your foundation:

Sinking Foundation Repair

Foundation repair experts can install piles in the ground using hydraulics. The piles take on the majority of a sinking foundation’s burden. Once installed, a hydraulic jack will push the beams toward the surface, raising and releveling your home.

Structural Reinforcement

Even if your foundation is undamaged, piles can defend against future problems. Pre-installed piles will ensure that your foundation stays level.

How Do I Know If I Need Piles?

Signals that your house may need extra support look like those that show early foundation damage.

  • Cracks on the exterior of your home
  • Cracks in drywall on the interior walls
  • Doors and windows sticking or not opening
  • Chimney pulling away from home

Exterior Cracks

Wood or vinyl siding will crack where it is weakest. Cracks are sometimes invisible without a thorough search. Look between siding slats for signs of cracking. Areas that are retaining moisture may also signal the beginning of loose or broken foundation.

For exposed brick or stone siding, you’ll find cracking in the mortar. Cracks will stretch toward areas with minimal support such as windows. Bricks may also begin to come loose as foundation problems worsen.

Interior Cracks

Drywall may begin to crack before the exposed side of your interior walls. Check for soft spots in the wall if you suspect your foundation is weakening.

Non-Functioning Doors and Windows

Once foundation begins to crumble, your house will try to compensate. Doors and windows are some of the first victims. If your windows or doors won’t open, they are holding too much weight. It’s likely that their support systems have warped.

Falling Chimney

The chimney relies on the surface structure of your home for support. When foundation fails, the house can no longer hold the weight of its attachments. The chimney will begin to pull away from a home that is no longer level.

What are the Types of Piles?

Pressed Pilings

These are the most affordable option for foundation repair. They have one serious disadvantage: Installation reaches just deep enough to raise a home to its original level. Seasonal changes in soil will weaken this foundation, negating its restorative effects.


A concrete pile system uses blocks to seat a house and foundation. The main support block is a large rebar structure that rests underground. The rebar holds the concrete blocks. Concrete piles are affordable but difficult to install and are susceptible to adverse weather.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel piles rely on dense earth or bedrock to support a house’s weight. They are tall beams driven into the ground with precise spacing. The spacing allows them to bear incredible weight without buckling.

Helical piles

Also called helical piles, these piles have the added benefit of placement options. A specialized torque driver can push the steel beams underground at an angle. Angled configurations allow a helical pile system to support foundations. Ram Jack Systems specializes in foundation repair with the help of helical piles.

How Are Piles Installed?

Foundation repair specialists install pile systems below ground. The entire support grid is invisible from the surface. Installations are available year-round. They also don’t need the help of heavy equipment operators.

First, a foundation repair expert installs bracketing to your foundation’s footing. They then drive steel tubes into the ground using a hydraulic system.

The brackets and beams rest in solid, dense soil or bedrock. Your home’s load is then shifted from the foundation to the piles. Once the piles begin supporting the home’s weight, your house can be lifted to its original level. Leveling allows the piles to hold your home upright while it rests on the original foundation.