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  • Writer's picturePaul Kulzer

Installing Helical Piers

Helical piers are so effective at impeding foundation settlement and foundation heave (both of which can be directly attributed to expansive soil) they are now the industry standard for quality foundation repair.

Helicals differ from push piers and other steel systems in that they have helices (circular sections similar to a staircase or corkscrew) welded to the bottom of the galvanized pipe. At Superior Foundation Repair, we use a tractor with a drilling attachment to install these piers.

These helicals anchor the structure they are attached to. Imagine your home sitting on underground stilts that are embedded in load-bearing soil or bedrock.

The helicals ensure your home won’t go up and won’t go down, it’s locked into place.

What is a Helical Pier?

A Helical Pier is a steel circular/square pipe (utilized in foundation repair) that is hydraulically driven into load-bearing soil and anchored to a structure’s prepped footing to stabilize and/or lift a structure.

Helical Piers are:

  • Comprised of galvanized steel to impede rust or oxidization

  • Have a maximum load capacity of 74,000 pounds

  • Come in sizes ranging from 3', 5', 7', 10' or 20'

  • Comprised of a lead, extensions, & remedial bracket

  • Generally pushed down to depths of 25 to 30 feet

Helical Piers are utilized every 6 feet and their positions. 3x3 foot excavations are dug (usually 18 to 24 inches deep) at the demarcated locations in order to create access to the foundation’s footing.

Occasionally, concrete removal and replacement is necessary to create access.

Helical Pier Installation

Helical Piers, unlike Push Piers, are not pushed into the earth – they are screwed. The easiest way to remember the differences is Push Piers are like nails and Helical Piers are like screws.

The Helical Piers are screwed down to competent, load-bearing soil.

Torque equals the amount of force that is required to rotate the helical into the ground. Intuitively, denser soils require more torque than less dense soil.

Once the load of the home is factored in and we know the amount of helical material that will be implemented, we can calculate for torque to reach the desired loading value.

Lift /Stabilization

After all of the helical piers have been safely installed at each location, the lifting process can begin. The goal of all foundation repair specialists is to achieve maximum practical recovery.

Maximum Practical Recovery is the amount of lift that can safely be achieved without compromising the structural (and, occasionally cosmetic) integrity of the home.

Lifting a home can take 2-3 hours.

Not all homes are lifted due to structural and cosmetic concerns; however, homes fitted with helical piers are then considered stabilized as they won’t sink any further.

Superior Foundation Repair is Here to Help

If you live in Utah and have questions about your foundation or cracks in any concrete, give us a call or submit a request via our website here.

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