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What Are Helical Piers?


Helical piers, also known as screw piles, are deep foundation solutions used to secure new or repair existing foundations. Essentially, they are large steel screws that are driven into the ground to provide foundational support. The installation process begins with a professional assessing the ground conditions to determine the appropriate length and size of the piers. Once this is established, the helical piers are mechanically rotated into the ground, much like a screw into wood, until they reach the necessary depth to provide stable support. This method is particularly effective in soils that are too soft or unstable to support traditional foundation methods.


One of the key advantages of helical piers is their minimal impact on the surrounding area. Unlike traditional underpinning, there is no need for extensive excavation, which preserves the integrity of the landscape and reduces the risk of damage to the structure during installation. The installation process is also faster and less disruptive, making it a preferred choice in residential areas. Once installed, the weight of the structure is transferred to the piers, which are anchored securely in the deeper, more stable soil layers, thereby stabilizing the foundation and preventing further settlement or movement.

Benefits of Helical Piers


Helical piers offer several advantages over traditional foundation repair methods, making them an increasingly popular choice for both residential and commercial structures. One of the primary benefits is their versatility; they can be used in a variety of soil types, including those that are not suitable for other foundation methods. This makes them an ideal solution for areas with challenging soil conditions, such as clay, sand, or loose fill.


The installation process of helical piers is quicker and less invasive than traditional methods. Since it involves minimal excavation and soil displacement, it reduces the environmental impact and preserves the existing landscape. This also means less disruption for homeowners or businesses during the repair process.


Another significant advantage is the durability and longevity of helical piers. Made from galvanized steel, they are resistant to corrosion and environmental wear, ensuring a long-term solution to foundation problems. This durability also translates into a more cost-effective solution over time, as there is less need for future repairs or maintenance.


Additionally, helical piers provide enhanced stability and load-bearing capacity. By transferring the weight of the structure to more stable soil layers deep underground, they effectively counteract issues related to soil settlement or movement. This increased stability not only protects the structure but can also help to prevent future foundation problems.


Lastly, the use of helical piers can lead to an increase in property value. By addressing and rectifying foundation issues, homeowners can assure potential buyers of the structural integrity of the property, making it a more attractive and secure investment. This benefit, combined with the long-term savings in maintenance and repair costs, makes helical piers a wise choice for foundation repair.


Signs You May Need Helical Piers


Floor & Wall Cracks

Cracks aren’t always scary. Sometimes they are superficial, such as minor or hairline cracks in plaster, cornices and skirting boards. Bigger cracks are another story and usually point to bigger underlying problems, such as uneven weight distribution due to weak foundations.


Cracks to look for could be interior (plaster, wall and floor tiles) or exterior (brickwork, render, concrete slab).


Ideally try to observe the cracks over a period of weeks or months to determine if the cracks you’ve noticed get bigger, wider or longer - or if new cracks appear. If they remain unchanged over a long period, the subsidence has likely run its course and the house has settled.


Unlevel Floors

Something that isn’t always as obvious as cracks is unlevel floors. When you are able to identify them however, a lean to one or more sides of your home is a strong sign that there are significant foundation issues at play.

In serious cases we’ve seen, you can stand at one end of a hallway and see the fall of the house as you look down the hall. Other times, unlevel floors will contribute to misaligned doors.

Generally you can use a spirit level to get some idea of how unlevel a room is. Or place a ball in a room and see if it remains still or if it rolls in a particular direction. But to understand how significant this is usually will require a professional.

Another thing to look for are irregular trenches forming around the edge of the building or slab, in the top layers of the soil. This is another sign of subsidence.


Unaligned Doors & Windows

Doors and windows can be good indicators of foundation problems.

Gaps appearing and getting wider around your windows and doors. Finding it hard to close (or reopen) your doors or windows, or not being able to lock them.

In more advanced cases, there are more visible leans to door, and door or window frames may begin pulling away from their surrounding walls.


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