Push piers are employed to facilitate foundation repair when the foundations start to sink or settle. Push piers provide additional stability, and in some cases, they can also be used to lift the foundations. Settlement can occur as a result of weak soil beneath the foundations, changes in the structure and composition of the soil, and alterations in the moisture content of the soil. If the ground is dry and brittle, or foundations are laid on clay-like soils, push piers can help to secure the structure and strengthen the soil base. 

Push piers are primarily used to shift the weight of the building to better-suited, load-bearing strata, but they can also be employed to take the load down to the bedrock layer. 

At Rhino Foundation Systems, we strongly recommend using steel push piers to stabilize and support properties and buildings that show signs of sinking or settling foundations. If you spot signs, such as sloped floors, cracks in the foundation walls, or doors that don’t seem to open properly anymore, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We can dispatch a foundation repair expert to assess the site and investigate the cause of the problem.

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Types of push piers

There are two types of push piers, which can be used to address sinking foundations or settlement. These include:

  1. Eccentric push pier: also known as an offset push pier, the eccentric push pier is the most commonly used option. This is largely due to the fact that it is easier to install. This type of push pier is placed at the side of the building’s foundations, meaning that the structure is not positioned directly above the pier.
  2. Concentric pier: the concentric pier is installed directly below the foundation wall. This type of pier can transfer the weight of the structure down to the bedrock. This kind of pier provides more capacity than the eccentric pier, as the load is centered, rather than offset. If you envisage a bucket full of water, this will provide a useful comparison. If you hold the bucket close to you, the vessel will be more secure and you’ll find it easier to hold it for longer than you would if you moved the bucket to one side of you.

“At Rhino Foundation Systems, we provide both types of push pier. Some projects are better suited to one type than the other, and we use our expertise and experience to offer tailored advice.”

The Advantages of Push Piers

Push piers offer several benefits, including:

  • Capable of reaching right down into the load-bearing soil
  • Option to install the pier either inside or outside of the foundations
  • Installation only requires small pieces of equipment
  • Offers capacity up to 100,000lbs
  • Able to lift the foundations back to their original location
  • Invisible repairs
  • High-capacity, double-wall setup
  • Installation is possible all year-round

What does push pier installation involve? 

At Rhino Foundation Systems, we employ a proven step-by-step process to install push piers, as follows:

Before We Start

Before we start work on any project, we plan meticulously. Your project foreman will meet with you to complete a pre-construction walk-through, and you can talk about what you expect to happen and ask any questions you have. The foreman can give you more information about the process, so that you know exactly what is going to happen in the days ahead. This initial meeting gives us a chance to gather more information, and also to get to know our clients a little better.

Excavation

In order to install a push pier, we need to access the footing, and this requires excavating and removing concrete. The footing will be notched if we are installing an eccentric or offset push pier. This enables the pier to be placed as close to the foundation wall as possible and to lower the offset weight of the structure. If we are installing a concentric pier directly below the foundation wall, the footing will be undermined to enable access to the base of the foundations.

Connecting the Foundations

Strong foundation brackets are used to connect the pier shaft and the foundation wall. This phase is critical to shift the weight of the building to the pier. If the connection is weak or compromised, the entire system will be at risk.

Installing the Pier Shaft

Push pier shafts can extend up to 20-feet below the foundations, and for this reason, the pier shaft is placed in a series of smaller segments, which are linked. We use a hydraulic ram to push down against the foundations, creating an upward force that counteracts the downward force produced by the top of the pier shaft. Each section of the pier shaft is then pushed down to reach the load-bearing strata.

Stabilization and Foundation Restoration

Before we start any project, we liaise with our clients to establish objectives and goals. We have installed almost 5,000 piers with no failures, and we have employed push piers both to stabilize and to lift buildings. We will design and implement a process based on the individual project to achieve optimum results. 

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