Top Five Concrete Slab Foundation Problems

Since the 1970s, concrete slab foundations have become the main way homes are constructed. The foundation is poured on top of the soil and is made of thick concrete reinforced by rebar. Although the slab foundation has replaced the crawl space, slab foundations can still experience problems. We have identified the top concrete slab foundation problems.

Upheaval is the opposite of settlement. It is when the foundation actually rises in areas. This could be due to increased moisture in clay soil or an improperly designed foundation. The signs that your slab foundation is experiencing upheaval is if your walls, floors, or countertops are no longer level.

To prevent upheaval it is best to acquire a PVR report also known as Potential for Vertical Rise before you build your home. If you are already living in your home, make sure you have proper drainage. Moisture and plastic soils, such as clay, are a recipe for upheaval.

Foundation Cracks
Foundation cracks can be caused by numerous factors including settlement and upheaval. Once cracked, the foundation can separate at the joints, bugs, water or moisture may enter the home. A hairline crack can grow into a bigger problem. Visually inspect the foundation, are there any cracks? If so, are they larger than 1/16 of an inch?  If so, you must do something about it. It is best to contact a foundation repair specialist to advise you on the severity of the problem. They will take preventive measure to fix the crack and keep it from getting worse.

concrete slab foundation problemsSettling
All homes experience settling. It is the natural process of home sinking into the ground. Settling, however, may lead to foundation issues with your home.  Foundation problems that are not fixed can cause catastrophic problems for your home. If you experience cracks in your home’s bricks, walls, or windows or if you have doors that stick, it is time to consult a professional. Those signs point to a foundation problem.

Settling is best remedied by the installation of helical piers or piles. They support the foundation and keep it from settling further.

Shifting Piers
Occasionally, piers can shift and can cause problems for your slab foundation. Shifting is not an overnight problem but slowly occurs to your home. This results in the same types of problems that settling causes. This includes cracks, sticking doors, bulging floors, and chimney damage.

The best remedy to fix a shifting foundation is to install new piers to stabilize the home.

Improper Design
The final concrete slab foundation problem is a poorly designed foundation. This could stem from not consulting an engineer for a proper geological survey, not following professional recommendations for the foundation construction, using the wrong type of foundation in the wrong soil type, or even physically not making the foundation properly.

Whatever foundation problem you are experiencing, it is best to consult a professional. You don’t want a minor problem to lead to a foundation failure.  Our network of certified PierTech installers can help diagnose and repair any foundation problems you are experiencing. To find your local installer, please contact us.

How To Install A Helical Pier

Helical Piers InstallIf you are thinking about self-installing helical piers or want to add the capabilities to your construction services, here is a brief overview of how to install a helical pier, helical anchor, or helical pile.

Installation Overview

Installation is to be performed by a trained and/or certified PierTech Systems contractor or dealer. PierTech offers free training to all of its installers. Using a hydraulic drive head, install helical piles to required depths. Specific torques and position are shown in drawings and specifications for the specific piers you are working with.

Torque monitoring tools are an essential part of the installation process. They can be located on the equipment or as a separate in-line unit. Their job is to keep a record of the torque and pressure. Torque shall be monitored throughout the entire installation process. Calibrated torque monitoring data will be made available upon request from the project engineer. Each Pile that is installed will have identification, complete torque, complete depth and a pile description recorded in an installation summary. The torque head used should put out more torque than required minimum from the engineer.

Connect the manufacture’s approved adapters to the installation equipment so that the pile can be properly installed. Install them with a continuous motion, with an advancement rate of 5 to 20 rpm. This rate should match the pitch on the pile. Make sure to apply enough downward pressure to help the advancement of the pile into the ground.

Following designed drawings align helical pile. Place the anchor on a pinned location and gain the necessary angular alignment. If the soil is rocky, very hard or full of gravel move to offset marks for pile repositions. Make the connection with high-grade bolts and nuts. If there is anything preventing the proper installment of the pier in the indicated position, remove the substance that is in the way or relocate the pile. When relocating the pile, consult with the project engineer because this could affect the positioning of other piles.

Minimum depth is typically considered five times the diameter of the uppermost helix or the maximum anticipated frost depth. Piles that reach max torque rating before reaching minimum indicated depth shall be subject to either termination at depth; only with the approval of project engineer, or replace with smaller and /or fewer helix pile, installed beyond the termination point of original pile.

How Much Can Helical Pier Bear?

Bearing capacity is defined by the American Society of Civil Engineers as, “That load which can be sustained by a pile foundation without producing objectionable settlement or material movement – initial or progressive – resulting in damage to the structure or interfering with its use.”

In simpler terms, how much weight can the pile permanently hold without moving or settling.

There is no clear-cut answer to how much a single pier can hold. It is determined by a litany of factors that must be calculated to determine how many piers will be needed to support your home or building properly.

Here are the ten factors that determine the bearing capacity of a helical pier.

1. Soil type and properties
2. Groundwater and/or surface conditions
3. Pile configuration (pipe size, number of helices, material thickness)
4. Pile material used
5. Dimension of pile (cross-section, length)
6. Depth of installed pile
7. Pile positioning (vertical, horizontal or battered)
8. Distance between piles
9. Installation torque
10. Type of loading (alternating, step-loading, static and others)

Helical Piers: The Secret Weapon to Repairing a Foudation

Foundation problems are a nightmare for homeowners. The costs, labor, and anxiety of finding the right solution can cause a lot of stress. It jeopardizes your greatest asset and your family’s security. Gone unrepaired, it can mean the loss of your home. Luckily, PierTech System’s helical piers can save you from all of these worries and permanently fix your home.

Signs Your Foundation Needs Repair

Foundation problems can manifest themselves in a few areas. In the exterior of your home, you may notice cracks in your bricks, sagging rooflines, doors, and windows that won’t shut properly, and cracks in your foundation. On the inside, cracks in your drywall, gaps in your floor and walls, doors and windows that won’t shut properly, and screws that are popping out can be signs that your house is sinking. If you are experiencing any of these issues, it is best to call a certified PierTech foundation repair specialist. They can advise you on the best course of action to take.

Helical Piers: The Secret Weapon

Whenever you are facing a foundation repair, the most important thing is to fix it permanently. You do not want a temporary fix that will need replacing in a few years. PierTech’s patented helical pier and anchor system is the longest lasting solution on the market. It provides a permanent repair from day one and continues for the entire life of your home. By boring the pier deep into, Like an oversized screw, the helical pier screws into the ground. Say goodbye to long curing times, once buried, the piers are ready to use. Finally, attaching our tru-lift bracket gives your home the stability it needs. Although foundation repairs can seem overwhelming, PierTech makes it simple. Our helical piers and brackets will support your home and give you a secure foundation.

7 Tips for Building a Strong Foundation on Sand

Constructing a home or building on sandy soil can be tough and the problems are numerous. This is especially true for homeowners in the coastal regions of the eastern and western United States, southern Texas, and the Gulf Coast area Here are seven quick tips to help you build a safe and secure foundation on sand.

1. Not all Sand is Created Equal
There are many types of sand and all of them have different physical properties. Sand can act more like gravel, other times more like silt. Know what type of sand you are working with before you start any construction planning.

2. Get a Soil Report
A professional soil test will help you architect the right solution for your foundation. It is an essential document that is full of vital information. Paying for the test upfront will save you from paying later once your foundation has settled. The report will help you calculate the bearing capacity of the sand and also the depth and composition of other soils under the sand.

3. Do the Math
Sand can generally bear 1,500 – 3,000 pounds per square foot. You need to calculate the weight of your building to determine how much load capacity you will need. Besides calculating the weight of the floors and walls, keep in mind any regional incidental codes that add to the overall weight.

4. Go Deep
Use information from the soil report, engineer a deep foundation solution. Underneath the sand is harder more cohesive soil. By harnessing the properties of this other soil type you can successfully anchor your home.

5. Reduce or Eliminate Vibration
When building on sand, pay close attention to vibration. Vibration can damage your property or your neighbors’ property as it causes sand to settle.

6. Stay Dry Build Tall
If you are living in a coastal area, chances are you need to build higher than the 100-year flood crest. This follows regulations mandated by FEMA but also keeps your home dry in case hurricane or other disasters come your way.

7. Work with a Professional
A properly certified installer or geo-tech engineer can help make recommendations for the proper solution.

Helical Piers – The Best Of All Worlds

Helical piers, also known as helical piles or helical anchors, are an ideal solution for building on all types of soil — especially sand. By screwing into the soil and being driven through the loose soil, they can anchor your home or building. This effectively removes sand from the equation as the pier is resting deeply in the earth. An additional feature of using helical piers is the minimal impact they create on existing or new construction. They are a low vibration solution, which means they will not cause incidental settling to your home or nearby houses. They can also withstand extreme loads. Our high-capacity Hercules Pile can support transfer loads up to 1,000,000 pounds.