How Many Helical Piers Do I Need For My Foundation Repair?

When you receive project proposals with foundation repair, you’ll usually encounter different types of piers used for the fix. Some projects will have helical piers on the paperwork.

But what the heck is a helical pier? And how many do I need?

This article is here to help you answer these questions so you’re not going in blind. Knowing what to expect with your foundation repair will keep you prepared and a step closer to your peace of mind.

Dalinghaus Construction has inspected over 10,000 homes, doing foundation repairs for over 2,000 homeowners using push piers, helical piers, or both. A large portion of our foundation repair projects require helical piers. We know about helical piers, what they can handle, and how many you’ll need for foundation repair. We want you to figure out if you’re getting a good deal and understand what to expect from companies as they provide project proposals for your fix.

When are helical piers used?

Helical piers will be used if a building is too light for a push pier to be hydraulically pushed into the ground or if an older building is being repaired since they’re relatively light compared to newer homes.

A push pier hydraulically driven on a lightweight structure wouldn’t make it to competent soil before lifting the home. A push pier uses the weight of your home to be hydraulically driven down into bedrock.

Push pier

A helical pier goes into the ground like a screw. They are dug under the soil using helices attached to the pier until reaching competent strata. Installing helical piers does not require using the weight of your home.

Helical piers can hold up to 40,000 pounds.

Helical pier

Be sure you also watch this video on helical piers to have a better understanding of how they work.

How helical piers are installed

When you identify where a helical pier will be placed, you’ll dig below grade (better known as the surface), excavating below the footing so the production crew knows where to install the brackets the helical piers attach to. 

The leading helical pier (the lead flight) is driven into the ground first via a drive motor with a torque bar attached. If the torque bar isn’t attached, the motor would move around like the Taz from Looney Toons, which is very dangerous (as we’ve seen in the cartoons). The motor will spin continuously while the helical pier hasn’t moved underground. 

The crew monitors torque as the helical pier is driven deeper into the soil. That way they can see if the helical piers have made it to competent soil.

Determining the spacing of helical piers on a structure

You space the helical piers anywhere from 6-8 ft, taking into consideration the weight of the structure, especially if the building has more stories that add additional weight. More weight and poor soil conditions might make it to where the spacing of the helical piers is closer together. 

What will also dictate the spacing is whether or not you decide you want to lift or stabilize your home. Stabilizing the structure will make it so the spacing can be a little wider. Lifting will sometimes require helical piers to be placed closer together since they will lift your heavy home

The helical piers are doing the work of Hercules – in being strong enough to lift a building. Not fighting mythical creatures and dealing with the torment of Hera. 

Determining the number of helical piers needed for your foundation repair

Our foundation inspectors do floor elevations to see which area of your home is most affected by foundation settlement, determining where they will be installed. And again, the weight of a structure determines the spacing. 

So if 48 linear feet of your home need helical piers installed each separated by six ft, you will have eight total piers installed. 

Whether the piers are placed at an end or a corner of a house doesn’t matter. Where the house is experiencing foundation settlement is the determinant factor. 

Cost for helical piers

Each helical pier can range anywhere from $2,500-$3,500. It can depend on the diameter of the helices. 

Sometimes there may be piers needed that require a higher loadbearing capacity, which can cost around $3,500-$5,000

Helical piers take a little longer to install compared to push piers

Installation is determined by the depth in which a pier will be installed. The helical pier needs to be brought to competent soil determined by the required torque.

Helical piers take more time. A bracket is mounted to the footing of your home, only requiring one person to hydraulically push a push pier. Helical piers need a crew of three people. One person drives the pressure of the pump while two people hold the drive motor in place to direct the pier. 

Are helical piers effective?

Yes. They address the problem of your home dealing with foundation settlement. Push piers will do the same if they are required to be a part of your foundation repair proposal.

If you compare helical piers to concrete underpinning, they tend to be far more effective. Many concrete underpinning projects don’t go deep enough into the soil, still in the “active zone,” or the zone prone to movement from foundation settlement or heave. 

Concrete underpinnings add weight to the structure, which can accelerate foundation settlement. When it isn’t touching the competent soil, it’s like using an anchor while a ship is sinking.

Not to mention concrete underpinnings don’t have a lifetime warranty. Helical piers have a lifetime warranty that can even be transferred to the next homeowner. 

Learn more about the differences between helical and push piers vs concrete underpinning in our article Push and Helical Pier Underpinning Vs Concrete Underpinning

Always remember your foundation repair plans are designed specifically for your home’s particular situation

There is always the temptation to want to reduce cost and ask, “Hey, can we reduce a helical pier over here?” 

When a project consultant makes a project proposal properly, the intention should always be for the stability of your home. You don’t want to save money while crossing your fingers every day in hopes the foundation repair plan works. 

Hoping for the best won’t guarantee your peace of mind.

Now that you know what determines how many helical piers you need for your foundation repair, look into multiple companies inspecting the foundation of your home

You’ve learned about helical piers, how to determine how many go on a home and even the cost of each helical pier. This information is good to keep in your brain when comparing different foundation repair companies best suited for you. 

You can book a free 60-90 minute evaluation with a project specialist through Dalinghaus Construction.

Be sure you receive multiple bids from other companies. That way you can compare project proposals from different companies to see who will give you peace of mind.

To push you further in the right direction, learn more about Push Piers vs Helical Piers (Installation to Equipment to Cost)

And be sure to learn more about why you should get multiple repair bids in our article Should You Get Multiple Repair Bids? (How You Benefit).

Give Dalinghaus Construction a call at (877) 360-9227 or click the button below to schedule your free evaluation today!


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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