How Invasive Are Push Pier & Helical Pier Underpinning?

When I consider the term invasive, my mind immediately jumps to the word invade – think Sharknado or H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. I think of invasive species or an intrusive dentist’s drill buzzing into my teeth.

Let’s face it – invasive is a word with a negative connotation. And we often receive the questions: how invasive are push pier underpinning and helical pier underpinning?

There is a good deal of apprehension when it comes to underpinning and foundation repair in general. Rest assured, these considerations or just plain-old fears are normal.  

Like a tooth with a nasty cavity, both the issue and solution can cause some trepidation.

In this case, the problem is expansive soil which results in foundation heave and foundation settlement.  Foundation heave and foundation settlement cause a whole litany of signs and symptoms.  

To stick with our metaphor – expansive soil is the corrosive sugar and the ugly discoloration, and the pain is the sign and symptoms. For some, the solution – the dentist or a foundation repair contractor, can pose some foreboding.

We are here to put your fears to rest, at least in the context of push pier and helical pier underpinning.

In this article, we are going to cover the invasive nature of underpinning when it comes to your:

  •   Home’s Exterior
  •   Home’s Interior
  •   Your Time

Before we dive in, it is important to note that push pier and helical pier installations are some of the most non-invasive forms of underpinning, particularly when compared to caissons or mudjacking.

How Invasive are Push Pier and Helical Pier Underpinning to Your Home’s Exterior

The vast majority of underpinning work takes place outside of the home, which is great news for you! Grab your neighbor’s hand, light some candles, and sing Kumbaya, just be prepared to have a section of your yard out of commission.  

The home’s exterior provides the easiest access to the home’s footing and foundation. Therefore, this is also the area with the highest traffic.

Typically, our crews arrive on-site around 8:00 a.m. and roll out by 4 or 5 in the afternoon.

Our production crew must transport equipment (shovelspiers, and hydraulic rams) from the truck to the affected area. This equipment is returned to the truck after the day’s work is completed.

In addition to the foot traffic, excavation holes are dug for the push pier and helical pier utilization sites.

The piers are set at six-foot intervals along the affected area. These excavation sites are demarcated via painter’s tape on the siding of the home. The painter’s tape is easily removed and does no damage to the home’s exterior.

The holes are 3×3 foot excavations are usually 18 to 24 inches deep. We need to be able to reach 8-12 inches below the footing in order to apply the pier bracket to the footing.  

The holes are covered up at night with plywood to ensure your neighbor’s cats don’t get stuck in your yard and meow all night.

To dig these holes, occasionally concrete sidewalks or flowerbeds must be removed. The concrete will be replaced upon the completion of the project and the flowers or shrubbery will be returned to their flowerbeds following the underpinning repair.

The biggest issue is that your kids may have to forgo a few nights of tag in the yard and your pet pooch might temporarily lose their favorite bush to whiz on.

*Note – Many potential clients ask questions about their gas, power, and waterlines. The good news is damage to these utilities is highly unlikely. We always utilize DigAlert and corresponding services long before our shovels hit dirt.

In summary:

  •   High traffic and excavation sites will temporarily limit your access to your yard
  •   Concrete and flowerbeds may be temporarily disturbed
  •   Tom and Sally might have to throw the frisbee in the other yard or watch TV for a few days
  •   Your gas, power, and waterlines are safe with Dalinghaus
  •   Bonus – we always abide by city and community noise ordinances

How Invasive are Push Pier and Helical Pier Underpinning to Your Home’s Interior

The interior of your home should remain relatively untouched – so consider it your inner-sanctum during the underpinning process. Crank your favorite tunes and make yourself a mojito because this is relaxation central.

In fact, after your home is lifted back to maximum practical recovery, you should notice vast interior improvements:

  •   Floors magically relevel
  •   Cracks close up and shrink
  •   Door and window frames fit back into place

The biggest likely inconvenience will occur during the polyurethane void fill during the lift on the final day of the project. For this, tiny holes are drilled into your slab on grade foundation to deliver the polyurethane beneath your foundation.

See our article: 5 Steps to Polyurethane Foam Injection (From Drill Holes to Cure).

This might entail rearranging some furniture and pulling back some carpet, but it is a fairly un-invasive process.

 If, however, there was a recent remodel on the home or your door/window frames were altered to appear straight during the foundation settlement or heave, the lift can cause a little bit of cosmetic damage:

  •   Recently patched drywall cracks may “spit out” the filler
  •   Recently self-leveled floors may appear uneven
  •   Recently “fixed” door and window frames may appear crooked again

If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time! This is why we here at Dalinghaus Construction Inc. suggest waiting for all home remodels until the home is secured and stabilized.

See our article: What to Expect When Lifting a Home (Cosmetic Corruption & Functionality)  

How Invasive are Push Pier and Helical Pier Underpinning to Your Time

Unfortunately, you can still go to work. I know, it sucks, but we can’t supply you with a doctor’s note for foundationitus. But, in all seriousness, your presence is not required for the majority of the underpinning project.

You and your household can carry on with your normal weekly activities. And, best of all, you can stay up to date with your very own Buildertrend account which covers:

  •   Daily Logs – who is on-site and what work is being done
  •   Photos – Photographic progress
  •   Weather – Is that snow?!
  •   Documents – Permits, repair plan, and contract
  •   Messages – messages from the production lead team member or your foundation repair specialist

See our article: The Benefits of Buildertrend (From Daily Logs to Messages)

The only two days we request that you are on site are the first and last day of the project.

The first day so we can cover the foundation repair plan with you and the last day to ensure we reach the maximum practical recovery your desire.

Choose Dalinghaus for Your Underpinning Needs

Be sure to check out our Ultimate Foundation Repair Guide

Here at Dalinghaus Construction, Inc.: we respect your time. We tailor-fit your foundation repair plan to meet your unique needs.

Dalinghaus Construction Inc. can help you fix your sinking foundation once and for all with helical pierpush pier, and polyurethane underpinning

We do foundation underpinning and retaining wall repair the right way. With over 100 years of combined experience and 4.9 stars out of over 300 reviews – we are here to ensure that you never settle

If you live in SoCal or Arizona and would like a FREE crack inspection, click the link below.


Brian Dalinghaus

Brian is one of the Co-Founders of Dalinghaus Construction. He has been in the foundation repair industry since 2005. During his career, he has been associated with helping over 4,000 homes and structures throughout California and Arizona.

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