Once your home has been evaluated and the problem is identified, a repair solution is needed. When a foundation settles, it needs to be lifted back to its existing position or as close to level as safely possible. The main thing to remember is that we want the movement downward to stop, and the foundation to be stabilized.
The type of repair system most widely installed in Texas is pressed concrete piers or cylinders. The concrete cylinders can be solid or have 5/8” holes in the middle of them. Some competitors say that they use the hole to install a cable or a piece of steel to keep the cylinder aligned as they press them in. This is mostly a marketing idea to differentiate themselves from other foundation repair firms. As most engineers will explain that the hole in the concrete cylinder actually weakens the cylinder. The hole can actually provide an avenue for surface water to penetrate to the bottom of the pressed cylinder causing failure. We only use solid concrete piers, and install these very accurately with great success.
Concrete piers are pressed into the soil using the weight of the structure as resistance. As the cylinders are pressed down, another cylinder is placed on top of the first. This process continues until the cylinders are pressed to absolute refusal. This is achieved by either hitting a hard soil formation or when the weight of the structure cannot push them any further. This type of pier works by surface friction of the soil that they have penetrated. Concrete cylinders are placed directly under the foundation beams and can be installed under the interior portion of the structure as well. Interior beams can be accessed by cutting holes in the interior of the foundation, or by tunneling under the foundation. Many times only the exterior beams need pressed concrete piers. Because these piers are less expensive to install, more piers per job can be afforded. Remember, your home is a slab-on-grade foundation. When it is raised by foundation repair, it is now an elevated slab. The more point loads of contact you provide, the less the span deflection across the entire structure, which is a good thing. Each pier is pressed, bearing many times the weight it will actually carry. Multiple piers will share the entire load simultaneously when all the piers used are in place. This is why this system is applicable to so many different situations.