There are a number of ways to repair a home’s foundation. Two of the most commonly used methods utilize concrete pads and concrete pilings. Here, we’ll examine each of those methods, how they work, and the common problems associated with those foundation repair methods:
Concrete pads, sometimes referred to as “mats,” are slabs of concrete that sit on or below the ground to serve as a shallow foundation. They are a quick, affordable way to repair foundation damage, but they are only a temporary fix. When concrete pads are used to repair, the following problems often occur:
- Upheaval: Walls and flooring become unlevel as the foundation rises in certain areas due to moisture in the soil or a design flaw in the foundation itself.
- Cracking: Cracks can be caused by settlement or upheaval, amongst other factors. A cracked foundation can lead to problems with separating joints, bugs, water damage, or moisture entering the home.
- Improper Design: Concrete is poured onto the wrong soil type or the foundation itself is not made properly due to lack of consideration of the geological layout of the land.
- Weight: Concrete is heavy and only serves to compress the already weak soils further.
Concrete piles are used as to support the foundation of homes in areas where surface soil conditions are poor, but deeper soil is more uniform and supportive. Vertical, concrete columns are set into place, piercing through the weaker soil until they reach more stable ground. The load of the home is transferred to the soil through the bearing end of the pile.
Like concrete pads, concrete pilings are only a temporary fix because:
- Concrete piles require a specific amount of time to create, cast, and cure, which can prolong the amount of time needed to complete a repair.
- There’s no way to monitor the pressure on these types piles from the weight they are bearing, which quickly leads to too much weight being added and cracking to occur.
- They use the weight of the structure above as the pressure to install the piles. This is typically not enough weight to get the piles to stable soils.
- They rely on skin friction from the soil and can move as the soils move.
- Concrete is heavy and only serves to compress the already weak soils further.
Ram Jack used to use concrete shoring pads as a primary method of foundation repair. We quickly learned that this was not a sufficient way to repair a home’s foundation. Adding more concrete to the footing of a home wasn’t doing anything to sustain it in the long term. The strategic, engineering minds discovered that helical piers to are the best and most efficient solution for foundation repair. These piers (also known as piles), are screws that are easily drilled into areas with any kind of soil condition.
The helical repair process begins with drilling the screw PAST the Zone of Influx (typically this zone is 12-15 feet deep). Then, hydraulic pressure is used to drive the brackets and piers up, lifting a home to a carefully calculated pressure based on the weight of the structure. Unlike concrete repair methods which can only handle lifting 1 pile at a time, the helical repair method can utilize a unified lift, which could be 10 piles at a time. Once lifted, hydraulic pressure is used to accurately raise a home’s foundation and transfer any load-bearing weight to the helical piers. Through strategic placement and careful monitoring of each piles load-bearing weight, this method of foundation repair is backed by our guarantee!