Saturday, August 20, 2016

How we do it

First we come out to draw a perimeter map of the house. Then we go inside the house to record elevations with a zip level pro 2000. The zip level tells us by 0.1 tenth of an inch how high or how low the house is. After the levels we observe anything below half an inch to make sure that the house is not showing structural damage. Usually the cracks will start developing where the readings show a -0.6 or one tenth below half an inch. This cracks start to develop there because the rest of the house is about -0.8 or less. Then the letter X is placed on the map at the location of the piers. We put the piers about 5 or 6 feet apart. We have put piers in the past at 8 feet, but the foundation buckles in between piers so we stop working with engineers who recommend piers too far apart. We also worked with drilled or bell bottoms, but these piers are only down to a pre-determined dept. Most companies that work with drilled or bell bottoms do offer a life time transferable warranty, but it is limited and you have to pay more after one year if the piers move.

The next step is to install the piers by digging a hole and placing them where the diagram shows. The piers are then pressed to a 10,000 PSI. However, some areas of the house can only take 4,000 or 6,000 because its not heavy enough. The piers will hold as long as the home owner maintains water from going under. The home owner is responsible for the maintenance. Water can and will void any type of pier warranty. The maintenance main idea is to create a flow of water away from the house. If water goes under the house the soils will expand and push the piers away even if they are still piers. Dirt should be sloping away from the house and watering should be two feet away from the foundation. Watering should also be just enough to keep the soils moist. This will allow the soils on the top to expand and keep the soils from cracking. If the soils dehydrate and crack the moist under the house will escape and since clay shrinks the house will drop on the dehydrated area.

When we press the piers down we press them to a dept of refusal. This for the most part is 7 to 12 feet down. However, some areas in the metroplex are 30 feet down and others are 2 or 4 feet. We price our piers at a very competitive price so that when we do the work we have enough to stay in business and you can be sure to have a warranty that is available when you sell your house.

When we finish pressing the piers we then place 20 ton press bottle jacks to lift the house slowly and at the same time. This minimizes the possibilities of damage. We then check the levels and place a pier next to the jack with metal shimms. Then we remove the bottle jack and place another pier to secure the top. After that we compact the soils with water to ensure the soils go in all the areas of the hole. However, the extra soils will be placed against the foundation because the home owner will need to move the dirt on the sides to cover the hole again. The rains will create a small sink hole right where the pier was placed and the home owner is responsible to cover it. This small sink hole may develop after heavy rains, but it will only happen a couple of times. Note that the sink hole may never happen in most cases.

Warranty calls are handled in a similar way. The home owner calls to schedule an appointment, the technician goes out and takes measures, and then assesses the amount of work needed to schedule it appropriately. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

SOS Foundation Repair Interior Piers and the beam on a slab foundation

The Beam on a slab foundation is a part inside the slab that is thicker then the rest of the slab. They are located every 6 to 10 feet apart. The rest of the slab house is only four inches thick as you can see on the picture below. This is the case with most houses. Houses without a perimeter beam have a much thicker slab in most cases also. The pictures below also have homes that are around 30 to 40 years old. Enjoy your read and call us if you have any questions

As we assess a house we make sure that the pier placement is in the correct location. We do a complete foundation inspection to where the house may not need any piers at all, or it may need them only on the exterior. However, there are some situations where the house needs interior piers and break outs. The interior pier is accounted with the piers at the same price, but the break out is an additional cost because it requires some extra steps. 

When we press down the cylinders they go down to refusal. Some times the pressure allows for seven and some times twelve. However, there are situations where the piers can go down to thirty feet and others where it only goes don one. We do not charge more or less in any of these situations, and the piers are guaranteed to hold the house up as long as no water goes under the house. The same goes for steel piers, if water goes under the house both steel and concrete piers will fail. I like to use the example of an extreme pier that goes down into bed rock and is a solid pipe that holds the house. If this pipe was possible to create and water got under the house the frictional forces of the soils will be off set on one side only and push the pier side ways away from the perimeter beam, and the house would sink. 

Finding the beam is a matter of know how houses are built. Usually the house will have a trench around the perimeter and some every six to eight feet and vertically every eight to ten feet for the most part. When we place the interior piers we first make sure its under a -1.2 or lower. Some times we place interior piers in a -0.8, but only when the house is high on the other side. If we don't find the beam as we make the holes we then put a metal angle that is suggested by the engineers to create more support for the foundation not to buckle up with the pier, or brake like a sink hole due to the lack of support.

When we put interior piers the floors will have to be replaced after the foundation is repaired. The picture above has a hole inside the house without a concrete beam so it has a metal angle above the jack. The hack will be removed after lifting and replace with concrete cylinders.

SOS Foundation Repair Tornado Disaster Relief Volunteer

SOS Foundation Repair Volunteered for the Glenn Heights Tornado Disaster Relief.

As life goes on some of us find it very difficult to imagine what it would be like when some one looses their home. We decided to make donations and some volunteer work for the benefit of the community members who suffered the loss of their home. SOS Foundation Repair has Christian values that mean we do what is necessary to reach out to others and help in our capacity. The help we provided may not be much to some people, but we feel good just by knowing that our customers made it possible for us to be able to give a measure of what they provided to us.