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Foundation Piering Systems – A Basic Overview

If you have done your research, by now you have realized that there are a variety of foundation piering systems.  The purpose of this blog is to give a basic overview of the most commonly used systems.

There are two ways in which a pier can bear the load of a home’s foundation:

Eccentrically Loaded – This type of pier is attached to the edge of the footer with a large bracket.  The bracket is used as resistance to push the pier into the ground.  Thus, this type of pier creates an offset load.

Concentrically Loaded – This type of pier is installed directly under the footer.  The weight of the building is used as resistance to drive the pier into the ground.  Therefore, this type of pier creates a direct load.

Foundation Piering Systems

Types of Foundation Piering Systems

There are five basic designs and we will go through them one by one.

Offset Steel Pier-

As stated, a bracket is attached to the footer and it is an industry wide practice to cut out part of the footer to get the bracket closer to the wall to reduce the offset load.  The pier is driven into the ground until it hits stable strata.  It is not the course of wisdom to remove a portion of a home’s footer, nor to create an offset load.  The tested and published safety load factor for this type of pier is 2 to 1.

Helical Foundation Anchor-

These are relatively new to the marketplace.  They are also attached with a bracket to the footer.  Helical piers typically must be driven into the ground at an angle, which creates stress on the threads.  This can lead to failure of the pier to bear the load properly.  Additionally, they are not driven deep enough to hit bedrock, or load bearing strata.  And helical piers also create an offset load.

Concrete Piling-

They are 6” in diameter and 12” long. They are concentrically loaded, which is good, and they work well in sandy soils, but they are too large in diameter to go deep enough to be effective in clay soils.

Concrete Shoring Pad-

Fourth, an older technology that is still sometimes used is a concrete shoring pad.  The idea is to dig under the footer to pour a bigger footing under the one you have.  This has not been proven to permanently fix a settling foundation.  The new footing can continue to settle right underneath of the old footing.

Stabil-Loc Pier-

Last but not least, the Stabil-Loc Pier is designed to be installed directly under the foundation wall.  Its unique interlocking high strength steel construction can support up to 300,000 lbs.  Hydraulic pressure is monitored while the pier is being driven into the ground.  There are no bolts, no brackets, no removal of the footing, and no off-set loads. The Stabil-Loc pier carries an Engineer Certified safety factor of more than 10 to 1.

A Final Word

At Pioneer, we only sell and install products that we firmly believe in.  For example, we choose not to use products that create an offset load.  We also avoid piers that feature brackets or pieces that create weak spots and could potentially break.  That is why we use the Stabil-Loc pier.  It has been proven to be a permanent solution to stabilize settling foundations.  We work closely with engineers and local building officials to ensure that we provide the best possible solution for your foundation.  You can learn more about Stabil-Loc piers by clicking here.

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Foundation Piering Systems

Author: Ron Lee

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