Pier Installation – The Basics

Piers provide a solid alternative to traditional foundation repair methods. They are a good choice for many homes with concrete-poured foundations.Pier Installation

Unlike push piers, helical deck piers are installed independent of the footing until they reach competent soil or bedrock. This makes the process faster and more efficient. Visit https://yourmarinecontractor.com/ to learn more.

During the installation, we lay sections of plywood across your yard to reduce the size and severity of ruts left by machinery.

As with any foundation stabilization system, the first step in installing a pier is to prepare the construction site. This includes contacting the call-before-you-dig hotline to locate any buried utility lines that could be damaged during digging. Then, the team prepares the site by marking out the location of each pier hole. They refer to the building blueprints to identify each pier center and measure the distance between each hole, ensuring it matches the requirements outlined in the blueprints.

To avoid costly mistakes later, the team uses Sonotubes to create a form for each pier hole. Also known as concrete form tubes, Sonotubes are long, hollow pipes with a flexible end that can be inserted into the ground. They are filled with concrete to create a temporary pier form, which allows for consistent dimensions throughout the pier construction process. To prevent water from leaking out of the bottom, the concrete mix is sealed at the bottom of each tube.

Once the forms are in place, the team begins excavating each pier hole. They use a backhoe or skid loader equipped with an auger to dig down to the local frost line, which is usually about 2 feet below the finished soil grade. If they are working on an existing slab floor, the team must remove a section of the slab to expose the footing, then replace it once the pier is installed.

After the holes are dug, the team compacts the soil to ensure a strong base for the concrete pier. They also add a steel bracket to the footing of each pier, which will hold the support beam that will be installed on top of it.

Then, they pour each pier’s concrete and smooth it with a trowel. Because they are working in cold weather, they mist the concrete daily to slow down the curing process and keep it moist. Once the concrete dries, they strike off the excess pipe with a reciprocating saw. Lastly, they install zinc-galvanized pier caps on each concrete pier. Once the piers are set, the team will return to raise the house using hydraulic bottle jacks and monitor and correct any signs of settlement.


The first step of the pier installation process involves excavating the area where the pier will be placed. This is done using an auger, which is a type of drilling equipment that can dig holes in the ground. Once the hole has been dug, it is reinforced with steel reinforcement and poured with concrete. This will provide a strong and stable base for the pier.

Before starting excavation, it is important to clear away any obstructions that might be in the way of the pier installation. This will prevent the repair technician from encountering any problems that could delay or derail the process. Some things that might get in the way include tree roots, utility lines and other construction materials. In some cases, these obstructions may require a permit to be removed or worked around.

The next step in the pier installation process is to place the pier head. Once this is done, the pier can be filled with concrete and inspected for levelness. This ensures that the pier will be stable once it is in place and can support the weight of your home.

There are many different types of piers that can be installed in your foundation. These include tube footings, push piers and helical piers. Each has its own unique advantage that makes it appropriate for different situations. For example, push piers are designed to stabilize and (in some cases) raise slabs that have settled. They are shaped like corkscrews and turned into the soil to a depth and torque specified by a geotechnical engineer. Once they are in place, a specially designed bracket connects the top of the pier to the underside of the slab to stabilize and/or raise it.

Another type of pier is the drilled caisson. This is used to install piers in conditions where the ground is not conducive to traditional foundation methods. They are also used to support bridges and shore protection works. They are constructed by drilling a shaft through the soil to the desired bearing stratum. This can be accomplished using self-contained drill units, crane mounted drills or mobile drills.


The footings are what support the pier and transfer its load to the firm soil or rock below. There are many different types of footings and the details depend on where it is being installed. Some examples are details 2, 4, and 18. A buried post & footing pad is one of the most common types of deck footings. The local building department will decide the size and depth of this type of footing.

The pier itself may also act as the footing, such as in the case of detail 15. In this type of footing, there is less contact area with the ground, but it can still carry substantial loads. It can be used for shed footings, sign posts footing, and more.

When choosing a contractor for your home foundation repair, look for an experienced company with a portfolio of past projects. Checking online reviews and ratings can help you find out more about a company’s customer service and quality of work. It’s also a good idea to ensure that the contractor carries liability insurance and provides warranties for their work.

A pier-and-beam foundation is preferable over a slab because it lifts the house above potential flooding and moisture problems. It can also be easier to access plumbing, sewage and electrical lines in the crawlspace with this type of foundation.

Before the foundation is poured, the contractors dig holes for the footings. These holes must be a certain size and depth, depending on the location of your house and the type of pier being built. It’s also important that the contractor checks the slope of the site with a transit level, or laser level. This will help them determine the proper pier height and ensure that each pier is at the same height.

The piers are then put into the holes and topped with concrete. After the concrete is poured, the contractors will use a steel rod (rebar) to connect the footing to the pier. This will ensure that the pier is not moved during construction or afterward, especially in heavy rains.

Support Beams

The support beams used in a pier and beam foundation are typically made of pressure-treated or cedar heartwood. Although these woods are rot-resistant, they can still decay from contact with moisture. This type of decay negatively affects the structural integrity of the floor joists and the house above. This can be a major cause of pier and beam foundation problems, which must be addressed immediately to prevent the house from sagging.

Another reason pier and beam foundations need repairs is that they are prone to flooding from ground water. This is because the footings aren’t elevated above the piers, which can lead to structural damage and mold. In addition, soil conditions can cause piers to shift and settle, especially when the underlying materials are saturated with moisture.

A pier and beam foundation is also susceptible to shifting from natural disasters like earthquakes. While this isn’t a common issue, it can happen and should be repaired as soon as possible to avoid further structural damage to the home.

Helical piers are a great solution for this because they don’t require the heavy weight of your home to be driven into the soil. Once the helical piers are installed, steel brackets are attached to connect each pier to the footing. By installing these steel brackets, the settlement of your home can be halted and its doors, windows and locks returned to their original positions.

When it comes to repairing or replacing the beams in a pier and beam foundation, the process is fairly simple. However, it is best to hire a professional, as the job must be performed carefully to ensure that the new beams are properly aligned with the house above. This is because the large Sonotube piers, which are often used in this type of foundation, are very hard to realign once they are off-kilter.

It is also important to note that a pier and beam foundation can only be repaired by removing the affected support beam, disconnecting it from the floor joist above and the pier below, jacking up the house above, and then installing a new beam. This is a much easier process than removing and replacing the entire pier, and it will typically save you thousands of dollars in repair costs.

Beverly Sinnott