Here at Dalinghaus Construction – we believe the single biggest factor to take into account when considering a construction project is cost.
We’ve all heard the expression: you get what you pay for. In the construction game, that’s not necessarily true.
In addition to the bottom line figure, you want to consider the reputation of the construction company, the quality of the building materials, and the quality of the labor.
With the virtual world at our fingertips, it is easy to research companies and the material they use, but it’s damn near impossible to find pricing for projects.
Even for something as specific as foundation repair. Or, even more specifically, the price of helical piers.
The average general contracting cost for a pier in Southern California ranges from $2000 to $3000.
Helical piers have been around since the dark ages. They are a tried and true methodology for fixing sinking foundations.
Not only are helical piers effective at stopping your home from settling further, but they are also utilized to lift and level. It really is amazing how helical piers work.
Helical piers penetrate through loose to dense soils to produce load capacity. Load capacity can vary depending on the type of helical pier (thickness/length) and what the calculated load will be.
A typical one-story house weighs roughly 1,000 pounds per linear foot around the perimeter of the home, for example.
Helical piers are screwed into the earth by hydraulic drive heads until they reach a competent soil level (unlike Push Piers which utilize the weight of your home to drive pipe down to a competent level).
The drive heads are dependent on the load capacity required for each helical pier – the higher the capacity, the larger the drive head needed to achieve the required torque.
What Is the Price of a Helical Pier in Southern California and Arizona?
Helical piers are priced based on:
- Size of the helical pier
- Depth that the helical pier needs to be installed
- Access to the areas where the helical piers will be installed
The Size of the Helical Pier
The truth is: size does matter. Helical piers come in all shapes and sizes. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the pipe, the bigger the cost.
Helical Piers are classified on the diameter of the pipe that the helicals are welded to. Larger helical piers (such as 3.5” and all the way up to 24”) will carry a higher material cost as the pier goes up.
The larger piers require larger equipment to install them. Larger equipment requires more room to navigate and garner access.
Almost all residential projects require 2-⅞’ helical pier material. These helicals have a load capacity of up to 74 kip (74,000 pounds per pier) – that’s a chubby humpback whale for comparison.
When we plug in our numbers from earlier: most one-story homes weigh about 1,000 pounds per linear foot. We space helical piers every 6 feet so that each pier only requires a 6000-pound capacity to take the joint load of your home.
With helical piers having a max capacity of 74,000 pounds, we have over a 12:1 factor of safety if the material is at its max capacity.
In other words, each helical pier is supporting an ACME Anvil instead of a humpback with a Dad-bod.
Depth That the Helical Pier Needs to Be Installed –
The installation depth of each pier also plays a major factor in pricing. Just like with size, the deeper the depth, the deeper it bites into your pocketbook.
For example, if the pier needs to be installed at a depth of 40 feet to achieve the desired load capacity (vs 20 feet), there will be an increase in price due to the cost of the additional 20-feet of material.
We promise construction companies aren’t trying to hit oil – it’s imperative we reach a competent depth that will support your home/business for years to come.
Here at Dalinghaus Construction, we offer piers with or without a depth clause. Piers without a depth clause will run $250 more per pier due to unknown depths.
Piers with a depth clause will be cheaper, but you run the risk of additional costs with additional installation depths (those costs are $75 per linear foot beyond the 21-feet that is already included).
Certain areas inherently require deeper installation depth. Homes located on hillsides, for example, tend to have installation depths of around 35 feet.
In addition, areas that have undergone extensive grading prior to the home being built have deeper installation depths.
This is because there are more “fill soils” that are present in these areas.
These soils are generally not as dense and prove more susceptible to the elements (wet and dry cycles).
The helical piers will need to be installed past these soft soils and driven into more compact, secure soil below.
Access to the Area Where the Piers Will Be Installed
It is imperative to have enough access for the piers to be installed properly. Creating this access also plays a factor in price.
Depending on the required equipment and drive head necessitated to reach the desired depth and torque values, the price will go up.
Bigger badder helical piles require bigger and badder equipment, Larger helical piles translate into a larger area required to install them.
Occasionally, we need to rent cranes to get the correct equipment into and out of a limited access area.
Crane rentals are not cheap (otherwise I’m sure we’d see them at more birthday parties hoisting up giant piñatas).
We’re talking $1,200 to $2,500 depending on the size of the crane needed and how long the crane will be required to be on site.
Cranes increase the amount of time it takes to install a project. This additional time and rental cost increase the overall cost of the helical piers.
Making the Best Choice for You and Your Family
Helical piers aren’t for everyone. Many homes utilize Push Piers instead, depending on the project’s unique, individual needs. Push Pier pricing is also something to take into consideration.
When you get quotes for helical piers on your project, make certain that you ask about size, depth, and access and whether or not these are factored into pricing.
Almost all helical pier systems installed in Southern California and Arizona include a 25-year warranty that is typically transferable in the event you sell your home.
It is an investment that almost guarantees returns. It is imperative to fix your foundation before tackling extensive home remodeling plans.
Our friends at Flip or Flop would give you the same sage advice. Speaking of – you can catch us on Season 10 Episode 8 on Flip or Flop and on further episodes upcoming this season.
Here is a kitchen-remodel-article from our friends at HGTV on the average cost to remodel your kitchen, for after you have the peace of mind of a solid foundation – of course!