Fixing Foundation Settlement

Two common solutions for foundation settlement problems are underpinning and steel pier installation.

Underpinning. The first step of installing underpins is to dig access holes around the inside or outside of the house in order to expose the footing. These access holes are then used to set up a mold and pour a solid concrete block with reinforcement bars, or rebar, under the footing of the foundation. The underpins then stop any further downward movement of the foundation.

Steel pier installation. As with underpinning, the first step to installing piers under a foundation is to dig access holes around the inside or outside of the house in order to expose the footing of the foundation. The access holes are then used to install the piers. Common types of piers are helical piers and push or resistance piers. Helical piers are shaped like giant screws; with the use of a hydraulic system, they are gradually screwed into the earth below the house until they reach either bedrock or load-bearing soil. Special tools shift the weight of the house off the fill dirt and onto the piers. No force is applied to the house during installation. Push or resistance piers are also driven into the earth under the house until they hit bedrock or load-bearing soil. Plates are installed on top of the piers, and the home’s weight is shifted onto them.