Steel vs Other Methods

Concrete Piers

  • Hand-dug perimeter excavation, 1-4 feet deep, in the original non-supportive soil
  • Large excavation area
  • NOT driven to bedrock, supported by same expansive soil that created the original problem
  • Continued expansion & contraction of the soil may lead to call-backs and additional foundation problems

Concrete Piers with Mud Pumping and/or Mud Jacking

  • Mud is forced under newly formed concrete piers (concrete should harden for 28 days)
  • NOT designed to contact bedrock, supported by same expansive soil that created the original problem
  • Continued expansion & contraction of the soil may lead to call-backs and additional foundation problems

Hand Dug Drilled Concrete Piers

  • Much more labor intensive
  • NOT driven to bedrock; supported by same expansive soil that created the original problem.
  • Continued expansion & contraction of the soil may lead to call-backs and additional foundation problems
  • Aesthetic repairs delayed while concrete hardens and grout is inserted between the pier and footing

Pre-Cast Short Concrete Cylinders

  • Short pieces make alignment during driving very difficult
  • High resistance against the soil high due to its diameter which limits its ability to be driven to bedrock
  • Supported by same expansive soil that created the original problem

Helical Anchors

  • Designed for holding things down, not up
  • Works well for tie backs on bowing walls and can be adequate for supporting some light structures (porches, etc)
  • NOT driven to bedrock; supported by same expansive soil that created the original problem
  • May require adjustments which can be troublesome and costly

Concrete piers are sometimes cheaper initially than steel driven piers, but the inability to drive to the depths needed to reach bedrock or load bearing strata creates the necessity for frequent post installation adjustments. Rooted in the expanding and contracting soil that initially caused the problem, problems are likely to continue. The strength of the concrete pile is limited to the strength and alignment of the pier sections. It’s only as strong as the weakest link.

In areas of constantly wet soil (either from poor soil conditions or poor drainage due to improper grading), concrete piers will continue to settle in the soft soil or clay. Many of these companies offer soil injections to help alleviate the problem, usually requiring service contracts for repeated treatments which significantly adds to the inconvenience and overall cost of the repair.

PermaJack foundation repairs are unaffected by such conditions since it supports the foundation with a pier driven to bedrock or equal load bearing strata which makes the repair reliable and permanent.