Pier Installation Basics

Pier Installation Near Me is an involved process. It requires the excavation of soil to expose the footing of the foundation.

A heavy-duty steel bracket is then installed beneath the foundation. Rugged pier sections are hydraulically driven through the bracket until bedrock or stable soil is reached. Unlike push piers, helical piers do not deflect or produce vibrations that can interfere with imaging and observing.


When building a home or commercial structure, you may encounter soil conditions that require transferring the load of the building to deeper, more stable soil layers. The best way to determine this is to perform a geotechnical investigation such as a soil boring. This will provide data including the soil type, organic layers and depth to bedrock. Based on this information, the appropriate foundation construction technique can be determined.

If the site has soft or expansive soils, helical piers may be recommended to support your new build. They are designed to drive through these soft conditions and into stable, load-bearing soil or bedrock. They can be installed much faster than traditional concrete foundations, which can save you time and money on your construction project.

Helix piers use a series of helical plates to “grip” into the soil, which helps to increase their load-bearing capacity and mitigate settlement under structural footings. They are installed using a hydraulic machine and can be driven to significant depths, reaching a more stable soil layer that is able to support the building loads.

Aggregate piers, also known as vibro stone columns or VSC, are a cost-effective alternative to concrete piers in soft soils. They are constructed in groups to increase the bearing pressure and reduce settlement under foundation footings. This construction method is very quick and efficient, allowing specialty contractors to install 40 or more aggregate piers per day.

The construction process begins by pre-drilling the pier location to a full-depth hole that is a minimum of the pier design diameter. When the soils are stable, a top-feed installation system can be used where holes cave or collapse during construction. In unstable soils that are granular or silty, a bottom-feed system is required.

The GP3 system is unique in that the stiff GP3 element supports the underlying softer matrix soil “mattress”, thus reducing the overall slab design. The GP3 stiffness is achieved by the combination of significant densification of the aggregate from high frequency vibration; a direct vertical ramming energy that dissipates lateral stress in the matrix soil and increased composite stiffness with the surrounding matrix soil.

Piers are designed to transfer the weight of a building to the more solid strata below. They are often used in situations where the ground cannot support a conventional foundation or in areas that have high seismic activity and wind loads. There are two general types of pier foundations: concrete piers and drilled caissons. Both involve excavating holes, drilling to the appropriate depth and then filling the hole with concrete. Both options have benefits and drawbacks, so consult with a foundation expert to determine which one is best for your home.

The process of installing a pier foundation begins with preparing the construction site. Crews must check for underground utilities and mark their location before digging. This helps prevent accidents and ensures that the excavation process is safe for everyone involved. They must also level the dirt to ensure that it is even and ready for the piers.

Once the area is ready, a hole for each pier is dug by hand or with an excavator. The location and depth of the holes depend on the load-bearing specifications of your structure and soil conditions. The piers are then placed in the holes, and steel brackets connect them to the footing. These brackets then transfer the load of the structure to the piers, which will help to stabilize and repair the foundation.

While a pier is an effective solution for most foundation problems, it does not work well in all cases. For example, if the grade beam is not supported by the piers, it will sag over time and eventually cause cracking in the rest of the house. In addition, piers do not offer the same stability as other foundation types in regions prone to seismic activity and high winds.

Another disadvantage of a pier is that it creates crawl spaces beneath the grade beam, which can be a challenge for people with limited mobility. These spaces can also be havens for termites, rodents, and other pests, which can damage the foundation and lead to rot. Despite these disadvantages, the pier and beam foundation is still an excellent choice for many homes.

The type of foundation repair method chosen can impact the overall costs of pier installation. The drilled pier method, for example, tends to cost more than the push pier method. Whether the repairs are minimal or extensive also plays into the price point. A minimal pier job around the perimeter of the home could range from $7,000 to $9,000, while an extensive pier project that requires both exterior and interior work could cost up to $50,000.

The number of supports that need to be installed also impacts the total price. A lightly loaded home typically requires between 25 and 50 helical piers, while a heavier home would need more. These piers are designed to support the load of your entire house and can be used to stabilize your foundation as well as replace damaged concrete footings or grade beams that need replacing.

In addition, the location of the piers also impacts the price. Each hole that needs to be dug for piers is 2 by 2-feet, so anything that blocks that area or needs to be broken up — like sidewalks, driveways, porches, decks, trees, plumbing drain lines, large air conditioning units and chimneys — adds to the overall cost because it takes longer to prep, install and return the area to its proper condition.

Other factors that impact the price of a pier project include:

The length of a helical pier also affects the cost because it allows for longer soil penetration than shorter piers. This helps to ensure that the pier is able to reach the appropriate soil density for stability.

While it might seem frivolous, hiring an architect to help you plan your pier and beam foundation installation is important. It will help to ensure that the foundation is properly planned out with safety and longevity in mind, helping it to last a lifetime.

Finally, the labor costs for a pier project also play an important role. This is because piers are more involved than slabjacking in that the repair work requires digging under your foundation to get to where the piers need to go. This is why piers generally cost more than slabjacking.

If your home has been settling or sinking due to poor soil conditions, moisture, erosion, or other factors, foundation repair experts can recommend push piers as an effective solution. This type of pier installation is done by driving steel, helical piers into the ground until they reach bedrock or stable soil. Then, the weight of your home is transferred to this load-bearing soil, stabilizing your foundation and restoring its value.

The piers themselves are made of concrete or a combination of materials such as brick, steel, and concrete. In many cases, the piers are precast. These concrete piers are much stronger than traditional poured concrete piers. They also don’t require as much water to cure and are installed much more quickly than poured concrete piers. However, there are a number of things that must be taken into consideration when choosing the right piers for your foundation repair.

In order to install a pier, the area must be prepared and surveyed. This can include excavating a 2 feet wide by 2 feet deep hole for each pier and creating footings to support the structure. The area must be leveled after the piers are installed. This is important because any unevenness can lead to a foundation that’s unstable and potentially dangerous for your family.

Another consideration when choosing a pier repair contractor is their ability to work with your property’s access limitations. Because piers are heavy and require large machinery to install them, they can cause ruts in your lawn. These ruts can be difficult to remove and can affect your landscaping or outdoor living space. To minimize this impact, a good repair company will lay sheets of plywood across your yard to reduce the size and severity of any ruts that may form.

Some pier repairs require the use of heavy equipment that requires easy access to the drilled hole. This can be challenging for homeowners with limited yard space or those who live in a neighborhood with restricted access. A professional foundation repair company will be able to work around your property’s access challenges and still perform a high quality pier installation. One example of a small, portable machine that’s used for these types of installations is the Danbro R2D model. This small, compact device is designed to be used in areas where larger equipment isn’t available and can be operated by a single person.