This article describes how to install concrete piers in Dallas for foundation repair. As with any concrete foundation repair method, the installation should only be done by foundation repair professionals, as the hydraulic equipment will create pressure in the range of 10,000 pounds per square inch.
While the concrete is available at many home improvement stores, the cost of foundation repair equipment needed for installation, as well as the training required, makes one-off foundation repair impractical for a homeowner.
Concrete piers are a good option for foundation repair in Dallas, but we do prefer to use steel piers when budget allows. Concrete piers have some qualities that can cause issues for homeowners in the future, but every situation is different and the homeowner can decide if concrete piers are the best fit for their budget and home.
So how do we install concrete piers?
- Review locations of buried utilities (call utility companies for marking).
- Identify pier locations per a pier diagram approved by a professional engineer. Minor location adjustment may be necessary due to shrubs, trees, pipe, A/C, buried cables, etc. In Dallas area cities, a permit is normally required.
- Where needed, place protective ground cover (plastic or plywood).
- Identify locations for electrical and water hook-up to the house as needed.
- If a concrete break out is required, jackhammer the area and when practical, saw cut top edges for a smooth, finished appearance.
- Dig holes 2.5’x 2.5’ to a depth of 25” below the grade beam, with adequate soil removal under the beam to allow a worker to sit near the base of the beam and guide concrete Pilings and hydraulics. Cut sprinkler lines as needed at holes and later splice.
- When soil is dry, water inject location of piling with 3-5 jets to a distance of 4-6 feet below the bottom of the hole with a pressure in excess of 2000 PSI. Keep hole moist as cylinders are driven. Alternatively, place 1-2 inches water in the hole and add as necessary to lubricate the cylinders.
- Place first concrete 6” cylinder under the beam with a 20-ton hydraulic cylinder atop and use a 10000-PSI hydraulic pump to perform the drive. Continue driving and adding additional 6” cylinders. At first refusal, the house will rise ½-2 inches. Don’t stop. Continue slowly adding cylinders, pressing downward until final refusal. Typically the house will rise 1-3 inches at final refusal. Never stop installation during a drive, as the clay will quickly grab onto the cylinder and restrict the ability to achieve a deep drive. At final refusal, remove the hydraulics.
- When all pilings are installed, place atop them a trapezoidal block. Then install a hydraulic jack and lift to support and/or remove as much settlement as practical at the determination of the crew chief, then shim using concrete cylinders and steel shims. There may be sequential lifting of various areas of the house. It is not normally necessary to lift the whole house at once.
- During the lift one individual will periodically go inside the house to monitor the lift. It is impractical to lift to a specific elevation.
- Fill holes with soil, tamper and mound to allow for future settlement. Splice sprinkler lines.
- Patch concrete breakouts and touch up mortar in immediate area of pilings.
- Rake area and remove excess dirt.
- Final walk around property with customer to assure customer satisfaction.