What are Push Piers?
If you start to notice that your foundation is sinking, it can be a daunting prospect. The idea that your house is sinking, that the walls are cracking, and the doors and windows are no longer opening smoothly may seem catastrophic. However, push piers may be the solution you, your home, and your foundation need.
This guide will discuss all of the key aspects of push piers, from what they are, how they are installed, and when they’re best suited to fixing your home’s problems. So don’t panic. Read on, and you’ll have the information you need to get to work fixing your sinking foundation.
What are the Components of a Push pier?
Push piers are relatively simple pieces of equipment and, therefore, are made up of only three components.
The remedial bracket is what connects the steel pipes to the footing of the structure. These are vital in ensuring that the weight of the structure is held tight against the push pier. The brackets are designed as an L-shape, with a 90-degree bend. This helps them to fit flush against the footing of the building. The brackets vary in terms of material and size, although they are generally sturdy and weigh, on average, around 70 lbs.
The starter is the first piece of metal tubing; it can be either cylindrical or cuboid. It is what helps the push pier to enter into the ground. These are the bottom level of the push pier onto which the extensions are added. They usually come complete with a skin friction collar, which makes it easier for the tube to pass through the earth as it is shunted down.
The extensions are further pieces of steel piping (they can be cylindrical or cuboid but generally take the same shape as the starter piece). They are attached to the starter piece in as many sections as needed in order to achieve the desired length. Once the starter piece has reached the desired depth and the load-bearing stratum has been reached, the final extension will connect with the remedial bracket, which will then take the load of the building onto the piers.
How are Push Piers Installed?
If you need to install push piers, then there is some preparation work that will need to go into the process. The entire project is a multi-step affair. Although the exact specifics will vary depending on your circumstances, you can usually expect the following:
Push Piers Versus Helical Piers
Something you’ll need to consider if you do need to raise your concrete foundation slab is what type of piers you’ll need to use. There are two main types commonly used – push piers and helical piers. Push piers are the most commonly used, but helical piers are more suited to certain types of situations.
The key difference between the two is that push piers are literally ‘pushed’ into the ground using a hydraulic ram. You can think of them as giant nails being hammered into the ground. By contrast, helical piers are giant screws. They have helical plates arranged around a central cylinder. They are then turned into the ground, which causes them to be drilled ever deeper into the ground.
Which one is right for you is dependent on the specific issue affecting your foundation as well as the size of your home (or other building in question). Push piers tend to be better suited to large buildings or buildings that utilize a lot of concrete – this causes them to be heavier. Push piers rely on the weight of the building to achieve the requisite depth.
By contrast, helical piers are better suited to structures that aren’t as heavy. This often means buildings that are less than two stories and homes that aren’t built with a lot of concrete. Helical piers are anchored in the ground due to the torque of the soil, so they don’t need the building as leverage.
What are the Strengths of Push Piers?
Even though helical piers are better in some situations than push piers, there is a reason why the majority of projects use a piering system. Push piers have plenty of strengths, particularly compared with other means of lifting a concrete slab. Some of these advantages include the following:
What are the Limitations of Push Piers?
Despite the clear and obvious advantages of push piers, they are far from perfect. In some situations, other types of foundation lifting may be better suited. This is why it’s important to speak to a professional in advance of any work starting. Some limitations include the following: