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  • Your crews were efficient & effective in their repair. Thank you, Superior, for a wonderful job. - J. Schwarz
  • Wow! I'm impressed with Superior... I would highly recommend this company to anybody. - Bonnie T.
  • Their crew was fast & efficient. I recommend Superior to anyone needing foundation repair. - T. Johnson
  • Superior Foundation Repair's service was outstanding. - R. Williamson
  • Superior Foundation Repair offers a better, more permanent solution to level foundations. - J. Daniels
  • I would highly recommend Superior Foundation Repair. - Clark T.
  • I was impressed with the crew. They had great attention to detail and were very neat. - D. Pimentel
  • I couldn't have asked for a better experience. The quality of the work impressed me every step of the way. - S. Wallace
  • From start to finish, my experience with Superior Foundation Repair was enjoyable and cost-effective. - Chris V.
  • Finally, we have found a foundation repair company that we can truly rely upon. - J. Honegger
  • A reliable local company that stands by their word and takes pride and care in their work. - D. Golding

January 2010

Simple Pressed Pilings - Foundation RepairSuperior Foundation Repair will be examining disadvantages of various foundation repair methods, over the coming weeks, with an in depth look at why these methods are inferior to Steel Piers. The first type of foundation repair we will expose is the often used method of concrete pressed pilings.

Disadvantages of Concrete Pressed Pilings

In homes with Simple Pressed Concrete Piling Foundation Repair, concrete cylinders are driven underneath the home’s foundation one on top of the other using the weight of the slab to press them down until they cannot go any further (known as the point of resistance). Unfortunately, it is impossible to tell what this point of resistance is, it could be bedrock, stable soil or unstable soil. Most engineers agree this method of Foundation Repair is not the correct solution for foundation problems because expansive soil will continue affecting pilings after installation. When the soil expands it can work it’s way in between pilings and completely nullify the support this method is intended to provide (see picture above for example of piling displacement).

There is no factor of safety built into Concrete pressed pilings

The factor of safety is defined as “the structural capacity of a system beyond the applied loads or actual loads” by Wikipedia. Because the weight of the structure is used to press the pilings down until they can go no further, simple concrete pressed pilings have a factor of safety ratio of 1:1 which means any significant weight additions, have a great potential to cause foundation instability. According to Wikipedia: “Buildings commonly use a factor of safety of 2.0 for each structural member.”  This means foundation piers should be able to support the sturcture’s weight times 2 at the least. Superior’s Steel Pier Method supports a structure’s weight comfortably with a safety factor significantly greater than 2 by anchoring the structure to solid bedrock, which prevents future additions in weight to a house, i.e. add-ons, new furniture, etc, from causing any negative affect on a home’s foundation. Superior’s Steel Piers are certified by Independent Engineer Consultants.

Pressed Pilings installed in dry or unstable soil may sink upon the introduction of moisture

Because Texas experiences long periods of dry weather followed by wet weather, the soil moisture content is continuosly changing, causing expansion/contraction of soil (further reading: Article from Geology.com, Blog post on Expansive Soils in Texas, Article from USinspect.com). Therefore pressed pilings inserted into dry soil are unstable from the start. If the point of resistance is on unstable soil, increased moisture can cause the piers to sink further into the ground, or, if the soil is stable, expansion will cause the piers to move.

Oftentimes companies will pre-soak the soil to drive the pressed pilings as deep as possible. This is to prevent the pilings from sinking in times of increased rainfall. Introducing large amounts of water into soil is not good for any home at any time, under any circumstances. Superior’s Galvanized Steel Piers are driven through the soil until they reach the bedrock up to 100 feet below the surface, effectively securing a home’s foundation to a solid rock, which is unaffected by shrinking and swelling.

Further Reading on Simple Pressed Concrete Pilings:

An excellent article on the disadvantages of Simple Pressed Concrete Piers from myfoundationrepairs.com

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Image: Daniel Rizzuti

This blog post will examine some of the factors that contribute to how foundation repair estimates are priced and educate homeowners about how foundation repair estimates are formulated.

  1. The Extent of Foundation Deviation

    Deviation refers to the extent that a structure is unlevel. If the home is experiencing severe signs of foundation problems, such as bowed walls, large cracks in the ceiling or walls, or doors that will not open or close properly in a majority of the house, it is feasible that the foundation will need to be stablised with interior piers to a greater extent than houses with a lesser deviation. The more stabilization a house needs, the more the repairs will cost.

  2. The Stability of the Soil

    In Texas, houses situated atop a great amount of unstable soil tend to need more interior piers to counteract the shrink-swell characteristics of soils. Each house sits on a unique mixture of soils and some soils have greater shrink-swell potential than others (read our article about soil types in Central Texas). Another factor that contributes to the stability of the soil is proper drainage. Improper drainage can cause erosion underneath a structure which will adversely affect the foundation, and cause it to sink. Naturally if the drainage problem is affecting the entire structure. More interior piers will be needed to counteract the erosion.

  3. The Size and Weight of the Structure

    Other major factors in determining the cost of foundation repair are the size and weight of the structure. Heavier structures will need more piering closer together to adequately support the weight of the structure. The size of the ground floor of a structure also contributes to the amount of piering that will be needed to adequately solve foundation problems. Larger homes will need more piers to provide support over a wider area.

Contact Superior Foundation Repair today for a free estimate on repairs. Superior’s Steel Piers are certified by Independent Engineer Consultants as required, and, all foundation repair work is backed by a lifetime transferable warranty.

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image courtesy of *Sally M* on Flickr

A list of 5 resolutions Central Texas Homeowners should take to heart to help protect their home investment and insure a healthy foundation:

  1. Know the signs of Foundation Problems

    There are many telltale signs of Foundation problems, which homeowners may not be aware of. Early signs of foundation problems may be chalked up to faulty construction, poor materials, or general wear and tear. But left unchecked may lead to major structural damage in the future. Read Superior Foundation Repair’s Top 10 signs of Foundation problems and check your home to see if it is starting to show any signs of these problems. Most foundation problems begin to manifest themselves within 3-4 years of construction, and when ignored can adversely affect the price of a house.

  2. Find out what type of soil your house is built on

    Austin is home to many expansive soil types. Expansive soils wreak havoc on home foundations, as they expand during wet periods, and contract during dry periods. All this expansion and contraction leads to major stress on home foundations, and over years can seriously damage a buildings structural integrity. Read Superior Foundation Repair’s blog post about expansive soils in Central Texas, and contact your builder or a certified geologist to determine what type of soil your house is sitting on. If you know you are in a potential danger zone, Superior Foundation Repair’s Steel Piers can counteract the effects of expansive soils on your home by anchoring your home’s foundation to bedrock.

  3. Learn how to avoid causing foundation problems

    Oftentimes Home Owners undertake remodeling or landscaping projects at home which adversely affect their foundations. Read Superior’s blog post about how home owners cause foundation problems, before making additions to a home or property. Well planned projects can save a lot of money and headaches for the future. Use certified contractors to complete any additions and do not opt for the cheapest option. Check the contractor’s standing with the BBB before agreeing upon any contract, and ask for a list of references.

  4. Maintain a healthy foundation

    As homeowners, there are steps that can be taken to ensure that minimal stress is put on a home’s foundation. Superior Foundation Repair’s Foundation maintenance tips are a good start for learning how to care for a home’s foundation. Follow these steps to counteract typical causes of foundation problems and to protect your home investment. Even if a home has previously had foundation repair (Spread Footer, Drilled Bell Concrete Pier, Simple Pressed Pilings, Concrete Pressed Pilings, etc.) these are not permanent fixes, and the home will most likely need foundation repair again in the future. Superior Foundation Repair’s Steel Pier House Leveling Process is the only solution for permanent foundation repair. By lifting a home’s foundation and anchoring it to bedrock, the home will have a secure foundation for a lifetime.

  5. Check your landscaping and remedy potential problems

    Check existing landscaping at home to avoid potential structural damage caused by poorly designed installation. Read Superior’s tips about Landscaping and Foundations to learn how to properly install landscaping additions to a home or remedy current problems a home may be experiencing. Inattention to Landscaping problems can seriously affect a home’s foundation, while proper care can help homeowners avoid headaches in the future.

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