Steel Piers Vs. Concrete Piers – Which is the best?
What is the best foundation repair method?
There are many different methods. For an in-depth overview of different methods, click here.
The most common comparison happens to be between steel piers and concrete piers.
Which is better?
It Steel piers are normally the best foundation repair method over concrete piers for the Dallas Fort Worth area.
Our warranty experience is evidence of that fact.
Straight Steel piers are always driven to shale or bedrock at depths of up to 80 feet. Concrete Piers are typically driven to a maximum depth of 10-20 feet due to the resistance of expansive clay soils.
Why such a difference in pier depth?
3 inch diameter steel piers are far easier to push into the ground than 6 inch diameter concrete. Steel piers require ¼ the drive force to obtain the same depth as concrete piers. For a comparison, try pressing a hammer handle and a high heel into your yard.
Both pier systems depend upon the opposing force, the weight of the foundation, to drive the piers. The available force for most houses is in the range of 4000 to 8000 PSI. The best that one can hope for in driving pressed concrete is shallow rock, and that all of the soil is pushed out from the base of the pressed concrete using water injection.
These statements are applicable to areas of shallow shale or bedrock. In regions where the hard surface is hundreds of feet thick, concrete piers are preferable to steel and are the only practical choice. For actual field test results, see the following article: Comparison of Steel Piers and Pressed Concrete Piers for Residential Foundation Repair.
Steel Piers Are The Best Foundation Repair Method
The best foundation repair method utilizes steel piers to permanently solve foundation problems in Dallas, Frisco and surrounding DFW communities.
Why are steel piers the best foundation repair method for houses in Plano, Dallas, Frisco and surrounding DFW communities?
Why Is It The Best Repair Method?
Using advanced hydraulics, Granite Foundation Repair is able to drive the steel pier support system to bedrock or shale. This is not a band-aid fix for a foundation. It is not a quick fix. The repair is robust and permanent. This is the primary reason steel piers are the best foundation repair method.
Steel Piers are driven as deep as 100 feet. Other repair methods only achieve a depth of 8 to 12 feet, so they have not reached load-bearing strata. Even with new house construction, builders’ piers are only installed to a depth of 15-20 feet. The depth is a huge advantage and greatly contribute to steel piers being the best foundation repair method.
What is the purpose of reaching load bearing strata? Well if you can’t reach load bearing strata, what is the purpose of attempting to support and lift a foundation? Are you going to rely upon mud to support your pier system and your house? Mud is what you get when you add water to clay.
What’s Your Goal? Permanent Repair
The goal of repairing a foundation that has settled is to lift it using a permanent solution. Lifting a foundation using clay as the support base is never a permanent solution. Clay can’t be relied upon as a permanent foundation support system. And clay is the underlying support material of all of our DFW area houses.
Even when a developer replaces the top foot with sand, clay is still underneath. Driving deep with steel piers is the best foundation repair method for the Dallas area because the vast majority of North Texas has clay soil.
Clay soil is simply terrible at supporting foundations and supporting pier systems. When a pier system is supported by clay, it is susceptible to seasonal moisture changes of several inches and even feet in a single year. Let me repeat that, several inches of movement and even feet in a single year. When clay soil gets wet, it expands and lifts the foundation. When clay soil dries, it shrinks, removing foundation support. Those are scientific facts about clay. Let me explain what occurs at the molecular level with clay soil.
Clay is an assemblage of flat particles. Minute in size. Each clay particle is held to the other by a molecular bond. Add water, and the gap between particles expands. That is the source of upward foundation movement, which is commonly known as heave. Add enough water to clay particles, and the molecular bond fails. The clay becomes mud.
When clay soil dries, the molecular distance between particles decreases and a foundation will settle.
Clay has another property which makes it terrible as a support system. When clay soil is disturbed during construction or pier installation, it is almost impossible to compact. The flat clay particles are out of alignment. It takes years for clay to consolidate and compact, which is why houses continue to settle for decades after construction.
Steel Piers are pressed deep, really deep, down through the clay, to a load bearing strata of shale or rock. A load bearing strata, which does not move with changes in water. The expanding and contracting clay soil, which has already caused so much house damage, is never an issue with steel piers. Steel piers rely upon hard strata which, except for earthquakes, is not going to move.
In summary, steel piers have consistently been proven to provide the absolute foundation repair method, because they take the clay out of the support system. The support system is robust steel and underpinned by immovable rock or shale.
To schedule a free, no obligation evaluation of your foundation, call Granite Foundation Repair at 972-412-2171.