How Long Does it Take to Put Piers in a Foundation?

If you have a foundation repair project and want to know the timeframe, some projects won’t tell you why they’re lengthy. This is why we want you to know what factors into your foundation repair timeframe. 

You might not know why it takes a while for piers to be installed, which be a lengthy process depending on how many are needed and how deep they go. And this is one step of the entire process.

Dalinghaus Construction has been in the foundation repair and underpinning game for Southern California, Arizona, and Nevada since 2015. While the business is relatively young, we have 100 years of combined experience installing piers for thousands of projects. We understand how long it takes to push piers into a foundation. 

Pier repairs offered for a residential home

The type of piers offered for repair is determined on the floor elevations to see if there’s any settlement. If there is, some sort of repair needs to be done, whether it’s stabilization or lifting the home for recovery. Push piers and helical piers will be utilized.

While the installation process varies, both types of piers do the same thing: stabilize your home to prevent further damage. 

Push Piers

The name implies what this type of pier does. A galvanized steel tube is pushed hydraulically into the Earth by utilizing the weight of the structure until reaching bedrock or competent soil.

Push piers are mounted onto the footing bracket first before being installed via a hydraulic pump. Push piers work in conjunction with the weight of your home to drive the piers down. 

For a more in-depth look at push piers, check out What are Push Piers? (Nicknames, Depth, and Size).

Helical Piers

This type of galvanized steel pier uses helices to be screwed into the ground using a drive motor. This type of pier looks for bedrock, competent soil, or a required torque.

These can be installed independently of the structure, meaning they’ll be attached to the footing brackets when they reach their desired depth. 

For a more in-depth look at helical piers, check out our article “What are Helical Piers?

Helicals Piers To Lift a Tustin Home - Foundation Repair

 

A combination of both Push and Helical Piers

Teamwork makes the dream work. Even though these piers are a little bit different from each other, they’re meant to achieve the same goal. 

In some cases, you have to look at the pier’s location. If you have to be completely vertical up and down by a bay window, a push pier won’t work compared to a helical. Your bay window would be pushed up and damaged before a push pier could reach bedrock or competent soil. 

In this case, especially if your home is heavy enough, the rest of your home may use push piers. 

Regardless of the types of piers used, the average underpinning project will be an average of $26,000.

How do I know what repair I need?

This will be on a case-by-case basis. There are many factors to consider before a project proposal is made.

Factors that determine the repair you might need

  • The surrounding area.
    • Is anything in the way? Gas meters? Utilities? Concrete, AC units, etc. 
    • When doing a layout, everything needs to be accounted for. 
  • Condition of the soil
    • Will the piers make it past the active zone into competent soil or bedrock?
  • Location.
    • Is your home on a flatter surface or a hillside? Is it inland or by a cliffside next to the beach? 
    • If there is a slope, how much lateral movement needs to be accounted for?

For instance, if you have a single-story home, a project is likely to use helical piers since they’re installed independently of the home. A single-story home might not have the weight capacity to put in push piers to maximum efficiency. 

Installation time per pier

Because push piers and helicals have different installation methods, the times for putting them in may vary. Keep in mind production teams on site will typically be composed of three people

Push Pier Installation

The installation depends on the amount of depth that’s taken. The installation will take longer if more depth is needed. 

You first need to dig down until you reach the bottom of the footing.

A standard footing is 18 inches below grade. We’ve also encountered footings that are four feet below grade, which takes more time and labor to excavate. Either way, you want to reach the bottom of the footing to install piers. 

From there, the piers are hydraulically driven into the ground until they reach their desired depth.  

Production teams will try and install three to four push piers per day, though this isn’t a “hard rule.” In some cases, shallow footings can expedite that process. We’ve had projects where a production team was able to install nine push piers in one day

What’s nice about push piers is production teams can have one person install them while the other two people can excavate and install brackets. 

lifting slab foundation

Helical Pier Installation

You still have to go through the excavation process like you would with push piers. However, some aspects of the installation process are a little different. 

Again, you’re installing a helical pier independent of a footing first until reaching the desired torque, competent soil, or bedrock. 

The goal is to have three to four helical piers installed per day. However, the depth these piers need to go and the time it takes will affect how many can be installed per day. 

What some production teams will do is dig a few holes, add the brackets, and then install the helical piers, repeating the process until the project is finished. This is to figure out early on the depth needed until reaching bedrock or proper torque and the time it takes. That way they can document how many days installing all the piers will take and make sure they have the proper amount of resources needed as the project continues.

It takes all three people on the production team to install one helical pier. Two to operate the drive motor (that thing isn’t light) and one to look at the PSI gauge.

helical pier

 

Determining the average underpinning time

This is based on how many piers are needed for a project. Some projects can take a week. Another can take two weeks. Another can take a day. 

The more piers you have, the longer you can expect your project to be. 

Not to mention some of the equipment may fail on one of the days. To say everything goes perfectly during repair all the time would be inaccurate.

You know more about the timeframe for putting piers on a foundation.

You’ve learned about the methods used for underpinning, the installation process, the timeframe when installing piers per day, and determining the average underpinning type. Take the time to learn more information about underpinning and foundation repair. 

Look at The Cost of Underpinning – Push Piers vs Helical Piers.

For learning about other types of underpinning, check out our article Push and Helical Pier Underpinning Vs Concrete Underpinning

And look at some Outdated Methods of Underpinning: Mudjacking & Concrete Piles

For additional questions, call Dalinghaus Construction at (877)360-9277.

WRITTEN BY

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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