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.