Helical Piering For Foundation Repair

Posted On Monday, 12 February 2024 10:59

Foundation repair experts have been employing helical piering for repairing damaged foundations for more than a century now. Helical piers can be installed conveniently and possess durability and versatility. These features, along with many others, make them a favored choice for builders and foundation repair experts.

Do you want your foundation to undergo helical piering? Wondering how it works? Have a sneak peek into this article. It will help you find answers to the underlying questions:

  What are helical piers?
  What is the role of helical piering in repairing foundations?
  How to install helical piers?
  What are the benefits of helical piers installation?
  What problems do you encounter while installing helical piers?

What are Helical Piers?

While suffering the internet regarding foundation repair, you might have come across terms like

  Helical piers
  Screw piles
  Screw anchors
  Helical piles
  Ground anchors

All these terms are somewhat similar. Helical piers are shafts made of concrete, steel, or wood with helices at one end. They are driven deep into the ground to support, stabilize, or lift a structure. The helices at the bottom help the piers to anchor into the soil.

What is the role of helical piers in foundation repair?

Helical piering can be quite useful when it comes to repairing a foundation as it helps in below:

•  Lifting a settled foundation.
  Fixing the drywall cracks.
  Leveling the sloping floors.
  Realigning windows and door frames.
  Resolving the problem of sticky doors.

Helical Piers Installation

Helical piers are screwed deep into the soil via a hydraulic pump until they reach the soil that is:

•  Stable.

The experts follow these steps while installing helical piers.

Step 1: Site Assessment

First of all, the experts thoroughly examine the installation site. Then, they conduct soil testing which is important for determining whether the soil is suitable for installing piers or not. Soils with good weight-bearing capacity are favorable for helical piers installation.

Step 2: Excavation

Following assessment, they dig around the foundation’s footing. Footing is the part of the foundation that is buried under the soil or the grade. It is excavated using appropriate equipment. Exposing the foundation’s footing requires excavations that are:

  18-24 inches deep and
  3*3 feet in size.

These excavations are marked off using painter’s tape.

Step 3: Attach the Remedial Bracket

In the next step, the concrete footing is flattered using a demo hammer. Then, a remedial bracket is attached to the foundation’s footing.

Step 4: Pier Installation

The helical piers are screwed into the ground with the help of a torque motor. The torque motor and its bar drive the helical pier into the soil just like a screwdriver. The experts then ensure the installed piers.

  Have reached the desired depth.
  Are aligned properly.

Step 5: Capping and Bracket Installation

Brackets and caps are attached to the piers post-installation. Both components enhance:

•  Pier’s stability.
  Soil’s load-bearing capability.

Step 6: Load Transfer

Once all the screw piles have been installed, the settled foundation is lifted back to its pre-damage position or stabilized. Remember, the foundation can only be releveled, it can never be fully recovered to its original state.

Step 7: Site Restoration

After pier installation and foundation stabilization:

  The remedial bracket is removed.
  The drilled holes are backfilled.
  All components are thoroughly inspected for quality assurance.

Foundation Lifting

The foremost benefit of helical piling is that it lifts the settled foundation without damaging the structural integrity of your home. Lifting your home’s foundation by installing helical piers requires skilled professionals and a duration of around 3 hours. For precisely lifting a settled foundation, the professionals follow these steps after pier installation.

Step 1: Place hydraulic lift cylinders at each pier location.
Step 2: Control the level of hydraulic fluid at each point via the hydraulic valves.
Step 3: Keep measuring the flooring level throughout the lifting process to ensure a leveled lift.
Step 4: Remove the cylinders after lifting the foundation to the desired level.
Step 5: After lifting the foundation, the excavated holes are refilled, and a final inspection is conducted.

Note: Some areas require less lift than others. In such cases, hydraulic cylinders at corresponding positions are turned off while the remaining cylinders keep working.

What are the benefits of helical pier installation?

Helical piering is the most commonly employed method for repairing foundations because of the numerous benefits it presents. Some of its benefits are listed below:

1.   Easy Installation

Helical piers can be installed very quickly and conveniently. In addition, we do not need to consider weather conditions for installing these piers.

2.   Cost-Effectiveness and Resilience

Helical piers are cost-effective in the long run. Manufacturers now use galvanized steel to fabricate screw piles. It is a material that can withstand:

  Harsh weather conditions.

Galvanized ground anchors:

  Strengthen the foundation.
  Maintain its stability over time.

Result: You do not need to spend money on the repair again and again.

Due to this quality, helical piling is an ideal choice for repairing damaged foundations in areas with wet soils where other foundation repair methods do not work.

3.   Time-saving

In the case of helical pier installation, you do not need to wait for the following:

  Materials to cure, or
  Concrete to harden.

The entire process takes no more than approximately 2.5 hours.

4.   Ecofriendliness

The pier installation process requires the following:

  Minimal site disturbance
  Minimal excavation
  No soil cutting
  Negligible vibration

Due to these reasons, screw piles are environmentally friendly.

5.   Maximum Protection

Any procedure linked with the structural integrity of your home is crucial. Using handheld equipment allows you to control the torque and resistance during helical piering precisely. It ensures the accuracy of the process.

What is the expected lifespan of helical piles?

However, the life expectancy of helical piers depends on various factors like the below:

•  Foundation weight
  Soil conditions
  Amount of damage
  Installation quality

Some manufacturers claim the life span of helical piers to range from 25-75 years.

What problems do you encounter while installing the helical piers?

Everything has its pros and cons. Despite the benefits mentioned above, installing helical piers can present some problems.

●     Extra Labor

Handling a torque motor is difficult. It requires at least 2-3 individuals to hold the torque motor and ensure its smooth, steady working. However, requiring extra labor does not mask the benefits it offers customers.

●     Additional Depth

The piers are normally extended to a depth of 21 meters. However, in areas where stable soils are deeper (such as wetlands), the piers have to be extended even deeper. In this case, you’ll have to pay for the extended depth. A potential drawback is that you’re not aware of the additional cost of the increased depth beforehand.


Helical piers are used to ensure new foundations or stabilize the settling foundations. These are cylindrical pipes with helical plates attached at one end. Screw piles or helical piers are driven into the soil by using a torque motor. After installation, they help in lifting the foundation by exerting hydraulic pressure. Some benefits of helical piering include cost-effectiveness, ecofriendliness, precision, and durability. However, driving the piers to extended depth might cost extra charges. Helical piers are the most durable and frequently employed foundation repair method.

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.