Foundation Pier: The Solution to Foundation Problems

Published On: October 13, 2022

Foundation problems can cause a lot of headaches for property owners, and if left unaddressed, they can lead to expensive repairs and even pose safety risks. Fortunately, industry experts have identified piering or underpinning as the most effective solution for correcting foundation settlement in properties located in Middle Tennessee, Southwestern Kentucky, and Northern Alabama regions. In this article, we will focus on the foundation pier, a critical component in underpinning and stabilizing structures with foundation problems like stair step cracks and windows pulling away from the brick.

Advantages to Foundation Push Piers

Push piers, also known as steel resistance piers, are load-tested and designed to stabilize structures and correct foundation settlement. They are driven deep into the ground until they encounter a point of resistance, usually solid bedrock or other load-bearing strata, providing the necessary support for a home’s foundation. The following are distinct advantages of using steel push piers:

  • Incredible load-bearing capacity – Steel piers are known for their robust strength and depth, enabling them to support the full weight of a property. During installation, they undergo load testing to ensure they have reached bedrock or a point of refusal.
  • Continuously adjustable – Unlike concrete piers, steel piers are designed to adjust to continuously shifting soil, accommodating reliable foundation support with environmental changes.
  • Proven by science – USS steel piers are ICC-ES certified, regularly audited by the International Code Council, and recognized nationwide by home inspectors as a proven foundation repair method.
  • Installation flexibility – Steel piers can be installed either inside or outside a structure, depending on specific needs, using portable equipment.
  • Clean installation – Compared to other methods of foundation repair, only a minimal amount of dirt needs to be excavated. After repairs are completed, the area is often graded, seeded, and strawed.
  • Concealed support – Once installed, piers remain underground and out of sight, providing constant foundation support.

What Is a Foundation Pier Made Of?

Steel pipe

The foundation pier is made up of two major components: the foundation bracket and the tubular pier sections. The steel pier sections range from 2-7/8 to 4 inches in diameter, depending on anticipated loads, and are driven or pushed below the ground surface using a hydraulic system and drive stand. Companies like USS utilize American-made, contractor-grade steel pier components manufactured by Titan Products with state-of-the-art robotic and laser precision technologies, in their lifetime warrantied steel push piers.

Foundation brackets play a crucial role in underpinning structures and correcting foundation settlement. They are engineered to match various project demands and are constructed of steel. Typically, foundation push pier brackets surpass the required capacity to correct the majority of settled residential and commercial foundations. Some additional foundation brackets are specially designed for anticipated loads over and above the average project, such as multi-storied housing complexes and commercial buildings that require stabilization.

Steel bracket

Foundation Push Pier Installation

The installation of steel push piers is surprisingly quick, with the work often completed in just a couple of days, depending on the size and accessibility of the job site. Excavation around the foundation is required to create holes for the piers. Depending on the installation area’s conditions, such as a tight crawl space that requires interior push piers, excavation is carried out by hand digging or using an excavator. Once holes are dug for the piers, foundation brackets are placed under the foundation. Steel push piers are then driven deep into the earth until they reach solid support, a point of refusal, or bedrock. The weight of the structure can then be transferred onto the steel piers, and stabilization of the foundation can be achieved.

The standard six-step installation process for steel push piers involves exposing the foundation, preparing the footing, setting the bracket, attaching the drive stand and drive pier, setting up to lift and stabilize the foundation, and concealing the foundation by returning the material to the area. Once the installation is complete, cleanup ensues, and landscaping or other components of the structure, such as decks, stairs, or concrete, may be replaced.


Steel pier installation
Foundation piers beneath house

Underpinning with steel push piers, also known as resistance piers, strengthens the foundation of an existing structure and provides the stability that a home or office building needs. With the added support of foundation steel push pier installation, the building can become stronger than it was when first built. Property managers can choose to subcontract additional work to the foundation repair company or carry out the steps themselves to complete the finished work.

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