When a structure's foundation has experienced settlement, it is important to solve this problem permanently.
You might think you have to tear out the existing foundation and rebuild it to solve the problem. You don't. Besides being too expensive to do, you would be building right back on top of the soil that gave you the problem to begin with. So you have some options.
Piering is the most cost-effective way to solve your foundation settlement problems. Underpinning or piering is the foundation repair process, which transfers the weight of the structure that is sitting on unstable soil to bedrock or firm bearing strata by using piers or piles.
They test each pier with a load including a safety factor calculated to ensure a stable solution. The installation is quick and can be installed in limited areas.
The structure is carefully restored back by lifting in unison on each pier or sections of piers.
This process is typically 3-5 days on a residence depending on the size and area affected.
Push Piers or Piles
Steel piering or piling systems should be installed to depths below the problematic Missouri soils which cause foundation settlement. These piers are sometimes referred to as resistance piers also. These foundation piers will reach all the way to bedrock or adequate load-bearing strata before installation is complete.
The piers (which look like 3.5 or 4 inch pipe) are high strength steel that are attached to your foundation's footing using foundation brackets. These piers and brackets combine to create the new permanent support for the structure once it is lifted.
On the majority of Central Missouri foundation stabilization projects, windows and doors that used to stick will become functional, and cracks and other blemishes can be permanently repaired without concern for them reappearing.
Helical Piers or Piles
We use helical piers many times on very light structures, porches, and columns to support lighter loads in our area.
Sometimes they are used on heavier structures because of concerns to how deep push piers may have to go to reach good solid soil or bedrock.
The steel piers are hydraulically driven (screwed in) to a specified engineered torque, to stable bedrock or load bearing strata and the weight of the structure transferred to the steel brackets attached to the foundation.
Helical piers can also be used to prevent foundation problems. Many times the installation of helical piers as new construction piers are screwed in prior to footings being poured to ensure a stable foundation in the future. This creates a stable deep foundation for a building to be built on.
Alternative Pier Methods
There are alternative and cheaper methods to foundation repair than steel piers. However be warned there can be some issues with alternatives. The science and engineering behind piering doesn't support some of these alternate methods.
Concrete piers are concrete columns that are formed by pouring liquid concrete into holes drilled into the ground for homes and light commercial buildings. This process can be very expensive to do and doesn't provide an engineered solution. Not recommened by this author for anywhere in Missouri.
Concrete pilings are concrete columns that are pushed into the ground under a foundation and are for homes and light commercial buildings. This process started originally in Texas where the soil is much different, has tried to come into Missouri as a solution. It never gained much traction as a solution probably because they had issues getting them deep enough to stable soil.
On older sturctures build on the ground or short crawl spaces your options could be as simple as house leveling. Sometimes the wood structure is the issue and you don't need to address the concrete, block or rock foundation, but instead install new floor joists. Bad floor joists or rim joist around the perimeter of your home could certainly cause what would seem to be a foundation settlement issue - when in fact the wood has failed and allowed the structure above to also settle. Wood rot or termites could be the cause of this. An honest estimator will find this and recommend a carpenter instead of a foundation repair company for repairs.