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    Stratos Pier®

    Stratos Pier® answers common Foundation Repair Questions

    Stratos Pier® faq

    Causes of foundation failure

    Stratos Pier® faq

    Questions about Piering

    Stratos Pier® faq

    Signs of foundation failure


    What are the causes of foundation failure?

    Water is often a root cause of foundation failures


    Hydro-static Pressure on a foundation: Excessive amounts of water can create a massive amount of hydro-static pressure on foundation walls and wash away the soil below a foundation footing.

    Gutters that do not drain properly: Gutters that overflow or do not drain properly cause Hydro-static Pressure on walls and wash away the soil below the foundation’s footings. Keep gutters clean and discharge gutters so the water flows away from the foundation.

    Poor Grading around a foundation: The soil around a home must be able to shed water away from the foundation. Swales and berms can help control surface water around a foundation. Pooling water can cause Hydro-static Pressure on walls and wash away the soil below the foundation’s footings.

    Failed Footing Drains: Footing drains fail over time due to silt build up, and being crushed from the weight of the soil that is covering it. Footing drains must function properly to keep Hydro-static Pressure from pushing on walls and washing away the soil below the foundation’s footings.


    Evaporation from heat, drought, and transpiration can cause foundation damage


    Transpiration near a foundation: A large tree can transpire upwards of 40,000 gallons of water per year, causing soil to contract and settle.

    Drought and lack of watering: During a drought and hot summer months the soil around a foundation needs 1” of water per week. Dry soil can contract below a foundation and cause settlement. If it becomes too dry and compact it can have problems absorbing water and cause further problems when a drought is over.


    Poor soil conditions can create foundation problems over time


    Compacted fill beneath a foundation: Fill dirt is compacted below a foundation when it is necessary to raise the grade of the structure above existing ground. Fill dirt can compact overtime and cause a home to settle.

    Waterlogged soil: Excessive water can actually wash away important minerals from soil and water log the soil making it unstable below a foundation.

    High Clay Soils: Clay is often referred to as “expansive clay” this is because it will expand and contract causing foundations to settle and crack.


    Natural Disasters can cause irreparable damage to foundations and soils.


    Earthquakes: Earthquakes can cause major damage to foundation walls and footings.

    Flooding: Heavy flooding can cause major damage to foundation walls and footings.


    What are the Signs of foundation failure?

    What are signs of foundation problems inside a structure?


    Cracks in drywall can be a sign of foundation damage: Cracks that tend to open and close based on wet and dry seasons tend to point to settlement issues. Cracks that appear in the doors ways near the center hallway of a house typically mean the center girder is settling.

    Sticking doors: Doors that stick, do not close, or will not latch are often a sign of a settling foundation. Sticking doors are usually one of the first signs with most foundation settlement.

    Sloping floors: Uneven, sloping floors are sure signs of settlement. Either foundation, girder posts, or pier and beam settlement can cause this.

    Counters and Cabinets: Counters that lean, cabinet doors that swing open or close by themselves, cabinet doors that are not aligned properly are all signs of foundation settlement.

    Cracks in foundation walls: Cracks in foundation walls can be a sign of foundation failure. Cracks that are less than 1/16” are typically considered to be nuisance cracks. Cracks that 1/16 or larger are typically considered to be structurally problematic.

    Leaning and bowing foundation walls: Walls that bow or lean are sure signs of foundation failure. Typically but not always a wall with less than ½” of lean is considered to be with intolerance. ½” to 2” lean can be braced in place. 2” or more lean need to be straightened or replaced. Any amount of bow in a wall should be repaired.


    What are signs of foundation problems Outside a structure?


    Cracks in foundation walls: Cracks in foundation walls can be a sign of foundation failure. Cracks that are less than 1/16” are typically considered to be nuisance cracks. Cracks that 1/16 or larger are typically considered to be structurally problematic.

    Leaning and bowing foundation walls: Walls that bow or lean are sure signs of foundation failure. Typically but not always a wall with less than ½” of lean is considered to be with intolerance. ½” to 2” lean can be braced in place. 2” or more lean need to be straightened or replaced. Any amount of bow in a wall should be repaired.

    Beam pocket broken: The girder of a structure will often sit in a pocket or on a column of a wall. When a wall leans in (usually a side wall) the beam will break the pocket and often expose the beam.

    Stair steps in bricks: Cracks in the mortar joints of bricks that form a “stair step” like pattern is often a sign of foundation movement.

    Bowing Siding:

    Leaning Chimneys: Chimneys that lean, tilt, or bow are a sign of foundation damage and will often go unnoticed.


    Questions and Answers about Piering

    A foundation pier is a steel piling, concrete piling, or helical pile that is placed below or beside a structure's foundation in order to stop settlement and stabilize a structure.

    A push pier or resistance pier is a steel or concrete piling that is hydraulically driven either below (concentrically) (unicentrically) or beside (eccentrically) a structure's footing to stop settlement and stabilize a structure. Often the structure is lifted to make the structure more cosmetically appealing.

    A helical pier is a steel screw that is driven by turning the pier using a hydraulic auger. Helical piers are all installed eccentrically when used in foundation repair. A helical pier does not typically reach bedrock.

    A concentric pier is installed directly in the center of a foundation wall and below the footing. The load on a concentric pier is carried directly over the segment piles and is concentrically loaded. A concentric pier is hydraulically driven to bedrock or stabil-strata.

    A unicentric pier can be installed anywhere below the wall of a foundation and below the footing. The load on a unicentric pier is carried directly over the segment piles and is concentrically loaded. A concentric pier is hydraulically driven to bedrock or stabil-strata.

    An eccentric pier also known as an offset pier is placed beside the footing and often driven at a slight angle. The load on an eccentric pier is carried off of the center line. An eccentric pier is hydraulically driven to bedrock or stabil-strata.

    Steel push piers are driven to bedrock or stabil strata and capable of holding tremendous amounts of weight. When placed on proper spacing and driven to the proper pressure they will be very effective in stabilizing a structure's foundation.

    Yes, in most cases a structure can be lifted using steel push piers.

    Steel push piers should last upward of 30 years in a standard environment. Corrosive materials, earthquakes, changes to a structure, and other things can shorten the lifespan of a pier.

    The average number of piers installed is seven.

    Steel push piers are installed by hydraulically driving steel segments into the soil below a foundation until a pressure of 10,000 psi is applied. At that pressure the pier has reached bedrock or stabil strata. The weight of the structure is placed on the piers and transferred to the bedrock or stabil strata.

    In most instances a foundation pier does not need to be galvanized unless specified by an engineer. Due to low oxygen levels at the depths below a foundation there is less need for a sacrificial layer of metal. Depending on the soil type, depth,salt levels, and other factors a pier may need to be galvanized.

    No, only a trained and certified installer can purchase piers.

    The installation of steel piers will typically cost between$1,200 and $3,000. Factors will be depth of soil, and difficulty of the installation.

    Most foundation repairs are not covered by insurance. Determining whether or not your insurance policy covers foundation issues is a two-step process. Look at your policy or talk to your agent to see if your policy specifically covers foundation damage. Typically, the small cracks that come from settling will be excluded,but other types of damage may be covered.

    A typical foundation repair will cost between $7,000 and $10,000

    Stratos Pier works with many Foundation Repair Contractors around the country. Let us save you the trouble, Stratos Pier will send you information on a local and highly recommended Foundation Repair Expert.




    Terms used in foundation repair:

    Hydro-static Pressure: Hydro-static pressure is the pressure that is exerted by a fluid at equilibrium at a given point within the fluid, due to the force of gravity. Hydro static pressure increases in proportion to depth measured from the surface because of the increasing weight off fluid exerting downward force from above.


    Footing Drain: A footing drain is an exterior foundation drainage system placed outside the foundation wall near the wall’s footing, at the footing level, covered with gravel, and it is piped today light or to a catch basin that is in turn pumped to daylight or to a storm drain.


    Transpiration: Transpiration is the process of water movement through a plant and its evaporation from aerial parts, such as leaves, stems and flowers. Water is necessary for plants but only a small amount of water taken up by the roots is used for growth and metabolism.


    Drought: A prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall, leading to a shortage of water.


    Compacted fill: Soil placed as engineering fill is compacted to a dense state to obtain satisfactory engineering properties such as, shear strength, compress ability, or permeability. In addition, foundation soils are often compacted to improve their engineering properties.


    Sandy Soil: Sandy Soil is light, warm, dry and tend to be acidic and low in nutrients. Sandy soils are often known as light soils due to their high proportion of sand and little clay (clay weighs more than sand). These soils have quick water drainage and are easy to work with. These soils tend to be more stable to build on.


    Clay soil: Soil that consists of very fine mineral particles and not much organic material. The resulting soil is quite sticky since there is not much space between the mineral particles, and it does not drain well at all.


    Sandy loam Soil: This soil type is normally made up of sand along with varying amounts of silt and clay. Many people prefer sandy loam soil for their gardening because this type of soil normally allows for good drainage. It can erode easily and can cause foundation settlement issues.


    Girder: A large iron or steel beam or compound structure used for supporting the floor joists in the center of a framed structure.


    Beam pocket: An opening in a wall to receive a beam in a vertical structural member. It is an opening in the form for a column or girder where the form for an intersecting beam is framed.


    Foundation Pier: A steel piling, concrete piling, or helical pile that is placed below or beside a structure's foundation in order to stop settlement and stabilize a structure.



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