Common Uses for Steel Piling

Any building, from a residential home to a skyscraper, is only as durable as its foundation. A piling provides stability and is often the go-to remedy for structures showing early signs of foundation failure. For homes and smaller buildings, a foundation expert from Align Foundation Repair can evaluate your structural damage and recommend whether concrete piling or steel piling is the best solution. However, for larger structures, such as towers, bridges, and apartment complexes, steel piling solutions are common.

What Are Steel Pilings?

Pipe dimensions are a dual walled interlocking 2 7/8 and 2 5/8 inch pipes. The piles are inserted below the foundation for structural support. The piles are versatile and can support most foundation types regardless of the soil type. Most can also be inserted into rocky or swampy ground.

While piling installation may seem like a massive undertaking, modern equipment and technology enables quick and speedy installation with minimal invasive procedures to the surrounding property. In most instances, minimal digging is required. Installers implement an impact driving method using a hydraulic press to drive the piling into place.

Other Special Considerations for Steel Pile Use

What makes steel piles more applicable over other pile types? Installers may recommend steel piling over these construction scenarios:

  • Accommodating buildings with a heavy load (e.g. skyscraper, highway bridge)
  • Poor soil conditions or shallow depths, which is common in the Garland, TX, area due to the waxy, alkaline, and calciferous soil prone to shifting and expansion.
  • Other piles may not be possible due to property line restrictions.

Steel piling is commonly used in:

  • Bridge/dock construction
  • Marine/Offshore construction
  • Road and highway construction
  • Rail road construction
  • Oil field construction
  • Communication tower construction

Steel Piles Are Durable, Expedient, and Long-Lasting

With its ease of installation and quality, steel piles provide long-term solutions for a very integral part of any structure. We advise property owners to contact Align Foundation Repair if you notice any symptoms of a compromised foundation. Steel piling solutions are an investment that may last for the life of the structure.

 

Facts About Steel Pilings

Concrete is the most common type of pile we drive because it’s strong enough for most residential and commercial applications and also affordable. Yet, steel pilings have long been used to support foundations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area too. Here are a few steel piling facts you may not know.

Steel Pile Driving Equipment Has Been Around Since 1740.

Swedish inventor Christopher Polhem developed the first pile driving system, used in the creation of a harbor in Stockholm. The industrial revolution brought even more advances to the system, as steam and diesel-driven machines appeared. Today, the increase in heavy, multi-story buildings drives the need for steel piles.

Steel Pile Foundations Make The Impossible Possible.

As civilizations grew, so did the demand for housing and construction. Steel piles make it possible to build on expansive clay soils, create offshore structures, and produce everything from piers to bridge abutments over moving water. The steel piles reach down to stronger, sturdier soil and bedrock beneath the ground.

Piles Can Be Made of Multiple Materials.

In olden times, we relied on thick, straight tree trunks to use as piles where the ground was too weak to support our building structures. We still use wood today — in the construction of jetties. More often, we use steel or concrete piles. Concrete is particularly advantageous where there is abrasive soil. Steel is ideal for saving time and construction involving exceptionally heavy loads. Sometimes we use hollow steel piles filled with concrete to reinforce the strength of the structure.

Installing Steel-Pressed Piles Is Quick and Easy.

Though it sounds like a big production to press steel piles down into the ground using a large hydraulic ram, a professional can successfully complete a steel pile foundation job in as little as 1-2 days.

Contact Align Foundation Repair for your free estimate.

If you’re located in Texas, contact the family-owned-and-operated Align Foundation Repair for a free consultation. Our service area includes Allen, Arlington, Carrollton, Dallas, Fort-Worth, Frisco, Garland, Plano, and Richardson. We’re A+ rated by the Better Business Bureau, with nearly a decade of five-star service in the area. We offer a wide range of foundation materials and types of installations to keep you in budget. We get the job right the first time – and, as added peace of mind, we offer a Limited Lifetime Warranty on our workmanship as well.

 

The Benefits of Using Steel Piling

Whether you’re holding up a house, a high rise building, a bridge, or a water tank, long cylindrical pile supports can lend enough strength to support the weight of the building. In Texas, our soil tends to be clay-based and weak, which is why steel piling is so helpful. By connecting to the stronger soil or bedrock below, you won’t have to worry about heavier loads sinking into the ground. Piles can be made out of timber, composite, concrete, or steel, but steel piling is among our favorite materials to work with.

Benefits of Steel Piling

For most Dallas Fort Worth homes, the virtual indestructibility of steel makes it an attractive option.

Other advantages of steel piling include:

  • Resistance: Coated steel is resistant to moisture, rust corrosion, and deterioration. We find that steel piling succeeds where past foundations and repair efforts have failed.
  • Deeper point of refusal: Concrete can be built 12-40 feet down into the soil, while steel can be used at 22-75 feet into the soil. Because the steel piles are driven so deep, they shift around less with soil movement.
  • Time-tested solution: Because steel piles connect with the underlying bedrock or more compacted soils further below ground, they are not as influenced by the soil movement as other foundation piers.
  • Environmentally friendly: The process of hydraulically driving steel piers into the ground requires minimal excavation, so there is less disturbance to the surrounding landscape.
  • Can overcome site inadequacies: Sites with heavier-than-normal loads, excess moisture, or horizontal underground forces can still be built upon with a steel pile foundation.
  • Speed: New advances in steel piling get the job done 4x faster. Even large-scale commercial steel piling projects can be done with a crew of three people in just five days. Most jobs are completed even quicker.
  • Easy to warranty: Steel piling comes with some of the best industry warranties, like 150+ years of rust warranty coverage. Often, you will receive a transferable lifetime warranty, which increases the value of your structure.

Are there any drawbacks to steel piling?

The only potential downside of steel piling is that the cost is higher. The manufacturing and installation equipment cost more, which trickles down the food chain to the consumer. For large commercial projects, that can be a real deal-breaker. If your soil isn’t very deep or you’re not staying in your house much longer, you may not want to invest in steel piling. Concrete supports can still provide a good deal of strength for more shallow repairs.

Align Foundation Repair offers steel piling and more.

Here at Align Foundation Repair, we understand that foundation repair can cost a sizable chunk of money that everyone doesn’t have just laying around. With our financing program, you can enjoy 0% / same-as-cash for up to a year, with no down-payment and monthly bills as low as $125/month. Contact us for a free assessment of your residential or commercial structure. We do both concrete and steel piling, pier and beam and drilled pier, so we can offer a custom solution that best meets your needs. Our expert installation team can have a steel pile foundation installed on your job site in days.

 

When Is the Best Time of Year to Fix Your Foundation?

Is there an ideal season for scheduling a foundation repair? It comes down to the type and degree of damage. If severe, then the house may require repairs ASAP regardless of the time of year. However, if the repairs can wait, then it may be to your advantage to hold it off until a certain season or month arrives.

Why Time of Year Matters

Foundational damage is often the cause of shifting and expanding soil. Soil shifting is heavily influenced by weather and humidity. This means foundation damage is more likely to occur during certain times of the year, though homeowners may not notice signs of damage until months or years down the line. The accumulative effects of the damage may also occur over a span of multiple seasons.

Winter

Winter encompasses the months of December through February. In many cases, winter is the best time for repairs due to the colder temperatures and minimal rainfall. The relatively dry weather creates stable soil conditions. However, this is also when homeowners are less likely to schedule a repair. The reason is twofold.

First, stable soil conditions mean less foundation settling. Signs of damage are less apparent, meaning homeowners are less likely to sense urgency. Second, homeowners prefer not to have work done on their home during the hectic holiday season, especially in December.

Spring

Spring is when repair work is often done. This is because homeowners recognize signs of damage as they are scheduling renovations. Cracks may also manifest in spring as clay soils begin to expand.

Summer

This is when soil contraction reaches its peak due to the humidity and summer rainfall. Foundation settling becomes highly apparent. Like winter, however, homeowners may hesitate to schedule summer repairs due to vacation plans.

Fall

Summers in the Garland, TX, area tend to bleed into fall, so you get a lot of the same hot weather, especially in early autumn. This means much of the same noticeable foundation settling. Some homeowners also prefer fall for repairs since they have no immediate vacation plans.

When Is the Best Time for Foundation Repair in Garland, TX?

Ultimately, regardless of season, the best time for foundation structural repairs is whatever timeframe is dictated by the damage to your foundation. That may be ASAP, when weather permits, or until next season. In any case, it comes down to the extent of the repair work necessary and whether it can wait or requires immediate attention. Contact Align Foundation Repair to learn more about our foundation repair services in Garland, Texas.

The Advantages of Concrete Piling

Ground soil in much of the Texas region is prone to shifting, expansion, and other weather influences. Over time, this causes foundations to also shift, resulting in cracks, splits, and sloping. Fortunately, the advent of concrete piling has made foundation repairs affordable while providing a reliable and long-lasting solution. Let’s dive into some of the benefits concrete piling has to offer.

Exceptional Durability

Concrete piles accommodate almost all subsurface conditions common in the Texas region. The piles are pre-manufactured and constructed to precise tolerances and made from high tensile strength materials. The column consists of 6-inch diameter precast 12-inch sections. The top section includes steel shims, providing a base for the foundation to rest on.

Concrete piles are durable enough to be used with nearly every type of residential home and small to medium-sized commercial structure. In the rare event more strength is required, installers can always opt for steel pilings.

Cost-Effective

Concrete piling is a cost-effective solution for the most common types of foundation damage. They can be easily fabricated for structural strength, and they can be driven into the ground.

Installers also use dynamic pile testing to determine the precise pile capacity and pile length. Each pier is individually customized to its location.

Speedy Installation

Since piles are made in advance and not on site, the construction process is far more expedient. Lack of drill spoils also means no need for cleanup. Concrete piles also don’t require curing time. This allows them to be installed in sequence, keeping heavy equipment movement to a minimum and drastically speeding up installation time.

As you can see, concrete piling is a durable and long-lasting solution at a fraction of the price and with quick and easy installation. Call Align Foundation Repair if you suspect damage to your residential or business foundation.

Why and When to Use Concrete Piles

Concrete piles are a mainstay in foundation repairs, especially repairs around the Garland, TX, area. The region is rich in clay soil, which is prone to shifting, contraction, and expansion. The constant soil movement can seriously compromise building foundation, causing cracks, sloping, and sinking.

What Are Concrete Piles?

 

Concrete piles are vertical cylindrical beams, usually about 6-inches in diameter. The installer digs a hole about two-feet deep and adjacent to the foundation that the piles go into. A hydraulic machine is used to press the piles deep into the holes until it reaches solid bedrock or maximum strata is reached. A concrete cap is then added over the piles.
Piles are usually made from concrete, though they may also be made from steel and reinforced with other material.

Piles are usually made from concrete, though they may also be made from steel and reinforced with other material.

Why Use Concrete Piles?

 

Concrete piles are far more affordable and speedier compared to other methods. It also requires minimal equipment and space. Installers also don’t need to dig expansive and space-consuming holes beyond the ones for inserting the piles. This contributes to site cleanliness with minimal intrusions during site operation. Surrounding landscape is often left undisturbed and fully intact.

Concrete piles also make sense financially; most installations come with a lengthy warranty and can be adjusted for the life of the structure.

When to Use Concrete Piles

An installer will assess your foundation and other factors like extent of damage and soil condition. An evaluation will determine whether concrete piles are the best solution for the situation. Usually, concrete piles are in order when:

  1. The upper layer of soil is weakening and unable to support the weight of the building. The building load then needs to be transferred to the stronger soil or bedrock that lies below the weak upper layer.
  2. The building has extremely heavy and concentrated loads.

Concrete Pile Types

  • End-Bearing Piles – This pile is used when the soil has a stronger bottom layer, usually consisting of firm bedrock for the pile to anchor to. The pile essentially acts as a support column.
  • Friction Piles – this is shorter than an end-bearing pile and usually does not reach the bottom of bedrock. Instead, the pile transfers the building’s weight and load evenly across the soil.

In any case, the evaluator will determine which concrete pile type is ideal for any given situation.

Fortifying Your Foundation

Concrete piles are more affordable and feasible for most situations thanks to new technology in the industry. If you notice irregularities in your foundation, such as sloping, tilting, or cracks in the walls, then call Align Foundation Repair. Repairing concrete piles is one of our mainstay services in the Dallas-Forth Worth region.

 

The Use of Concrete Piles vs Steel Piles

Steel piling and concrete piling are not interchangeable solutions for foundation repair. Each requires different methods of installation and the choice to use one or the other will depend upon the kind of structural damage your home is exhibiting. We’ll explain the difference and the factors that dictate when each method is most viable.

What Are Piles?

First, let’s explain how foundation-supporting piles work. These are thick, vertical pillars pressed deep into the soil. This provides a firm support base for a foundation when the soil is weak and unable to keep the foundation steady. The pillars themselves don’t fully support the weight of the building. Rather, they transfer the weight to the stronger layer of rock and gravel that rests several feet below the surface soil.

Concrete and steel piles are the two main types, which we’ll be discussing for this post. However, some applications may also call for other pile types, such as those erected from timber or composite.

What Is Concrete Piling?

Concrete piling is usually a foundation repair method for residential homes and light commercial facilities. It consists of heavy-duty concrete columns pushed deep into the soil to provide support for the foundation. The top portion consists of durable concrete caps followed by a concrete cylinder that sits between the column and foundation.

What Is Steel Piling?

Now that you understand concrete piles, you can probably guess that steel piles are more or less the same, with the exception that the columns consist of steel instead of concrete. Steel offers the highest tensile strength. The exceptional durability also enables them to be driven further into the ground and past dense layer of hard gravel.

Steel piling is designed to handle the heaviest structures, such as skyscrapers, highway bridges, and vertical towers. Due to the material, this pile type is costlier. However, this is a nonissue for Texas residences, as most of homes only require concrete piling.

Side-By-Side Comparison

 

Concrete Piles

  • For residential and light commercial buildings
  • Cheaper to install

 

Steel Piles

  • The strongest pile in the industry
  • Reserved for the heaviest structures, such as skyscrapers and bridges for public roads
  • More expensive installation

Reinforcing Your Foundation

Align Foundation Repair performs both concrete piling and steel piling installations. Give us a call if you notice structural damage in your home or place of business. A free inspection will determine the best method for your foundation repair in the Dallas-Fort Worth region. Soil types can also dictate which pile material is appropriate.

 

Hot Weather Foundation Repair

Why Hot Weather Damages Your Home Foundation

Texas temperatures in summer easily break 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Even when the temperature is in the high 90s, dry Texas weather wicks the moisture from the soil around your house and steals it from your foundation, which causes cracks. Dry weather day after day is a recipe for foundation disaster, and you may find yourself with lasting foundation damage that compromises the structural integrity of your home if you don’t address the problem.

Foundation repair experts believe that homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area in and around Plano should understand the facts behind this phenomenon, and why it’s more important than ever to be proactive in assessing damage to your home’s foundation.

Shrinking Soil

When the weather gets too hot and dry, especially in states like Texas where the daily summer temperature easily reaches above 100, that dehydrates the soil. Since the soil around your foundation is usually moist, it shrinks when it’s dehydrated, moves around, and stops supporting your foundation. The loss in support causes your foundation to settle.

Sinking Foundations

When settling occur in the foundation because of dryness and hot weather, the foundation will settle until it finds support again. However far away from your foundation the dry soil has moved, that’s how far the foundation will move until it has soil to rest against again. This causes parts of your foundation and house to tilt in whatever direction the foundation started to fall and sink.

Just Add Water

One of the ways homeowners can combat dry soil and cracking foundation is to water the area around the house. Spend 15 to 20 minutes each day adding water to the soil around the foundation. If your area is in a drought, do as much as you’re allowed, but be consistent. As permitted, increase your watering time until you hit 15 or 20 minutes each day. Just remember to keep the soaker hoses 6-18″ away from the foundation.  For those who worry about water costs during the summer, your water bill might be a bit higher, but that’s preferable to a foundation repair that costs thousands of dollars. Use watering as a method to maintain your foundation. If you believe you have a settling issue, continue to water normally and call Align.

Foundation Cracks in Dallas-Fort Worth? Call a Professional

How do you know this damage hasn’t occurred already? Sometimes it’s obvious, but sometimes those cracks are sitting in places you can’t see. Call a professional and ask for a foundation evaluation. When no problems exist, our foundation repair service professionals will recommend more measures you can take to make sure your foundation stays intact. When settling is present, we will let you know how extensive the damage is and whether repairs need to happen right away.

The Texas heat is brutal on your foundation, so foundation damage isn’t something to ignore. Call Align Foundation Repair right away for an inspection. Our Texas foundation repair service areas include Plano, Garland, Arlington and the entire Dallas-Ft. Worth area. If your foundation is fine, start watering it every summer day to make sure it stays that way. If it isn’t, take care of it before the damage gets any worse.

 

Spot Foundation Problems

Foundation Problems vs. Foundation Settling: What Is the Difference?

Many customers ask us about the difference between foundation problems vs. settling. Foundations can be constructed in many different ways using piers, spread footings, and pilings, but most homes in Texas are made of concrete poured on steel. Sometimes the foundation settles and remains sturdy for years to come. Other times, foundation problems develop that require immediate attention. A good foundation does more than just hold your house above the ground. It also insulates against the cold, keeps moisture out, and holds fast against the movement of the earth around it.

Our Dallas-Fort Worth foundation repair service areas cover Plano, Garland, Arlington and more. Call us today for a free estimate!

What Is Settling?

“House settling” is a term used to describe natural wear-and-tear of a foundation over time. It’s normal for homes to sink a bit further down into the ground, no matter how well a foundation has been constructed – especially given the climate and soil type of Texas.

Over-excavating and inadequate back-filling can result in some settling, but the biggest contributor is the natural expansion and contraction of the soil. As the clay in our soil gets exposed to cycles of moisture and dryness, some shifting and compacting will inevitably occur.

Roughly one-quarter of all homes in America are affected by this type of settling, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. Many of these homes will be okay, but an estimated 10 percent of these homes will experience severe foundation issues as a result. The rates of occurrence  are much higher in the DFW area.

House Settling vs. Foundation Problems

Signs of house settling that do NOT necessarily indicate foundation problems include the following.  If you see any of these, do not hesitate to call as it could also be a foundation issue.

  • You observe thin, hairline cracks, less than 1/4 inch wide.
  • Tiny cracks appear in an L-shaped section of foundation or in the mortar between blocks.
  • The cracks in your home do not appear to be growing longer or wider.
  • There are no other warning signs besides a few cracks here and there.

Do You Have A Faulty Foundation?

It can be hard to believe, but brand-new homes sometimes end up with foundation failures within the first five years. We see this a lot of times when a home was built during a particularly rainy season when the soil is as swollen as it can get, followed by a period of extreme drought, where clay can retract, causing the house to plummet up to five inches within a few months.

Sometimes a home has undiagnosed issues caused by plumbing problems, over-watering plants, or improper sloping and drainage away from the foundation. Contractors can contribute to foundation failure when they rush the curing of the concrete, interrupt the concrete pouring process, or have not firmly tamped down the soil before adding the concrete.

You can tell it is foundation problems vs. settling when:

  • There are wide cracks, greater than ¼ inch in width, or bulging walls.
  • You note jagged cracks running from the foundation at a 45-degree angle.
  • The doors and windows of your home are sticking for no apparent reason.
  • The top story of your home exhibits cracks above door and window frames.
  • There are stair-stepping cracks in the brick veneer of your home.

Worried About Foundation Problems or Settling in Dallas, Tx?

Contact Align Foundation Repair to discuss your concerns about possible Dallas foundation problems. A foundation specialist from our family-run business would be happy to come out and take a look, free of charge. We are an A+ Better Business Bureau rated service offering a full range of foundation repair services to suit your needs and budget.

 

water drain

How to Maintain Your Catch Basin

Catch basins are often an afterthought for many homeowners. However, the catch basin plays a vital role during storms and heavy rainfalls, preventing flooding and capturing debris. Neglected catch basins can lead to flooding, which can negatively impact your home’s foundation. For this reason, we recommend that homeowners in the Dallas-Fort Worth area clean out their catch basins on a regular basis.

Catch Basin Cleaning

Area drains and catch basins are designed to accept a certain amount of debris along with the water. The debris drops to the bottom and the water level rises and enters the exit tube. If they are not cleaned regularly, they will eventually fill with debris and clog the line. It is a good idea to pop the lids and scoop out the debris as often as once a month.  After cleaning the debris, you can wash the basins out with water and fill them to test that they are flowing water properly.

Catch basins collect rain and storm water and release the debris buildup into the municipal sewer system. Basins are placed in areas prone to collecting standing water. This prevents flooding that may affect soil conditions. Water absorption causes the soil to expand and contract, in turn causing home foundations to shift. Flooding is one of the primary reasons foundation repairs are needed in the first place.

This is precisely why catch basin cleaning is crucial. If too many solids accumulate, the water draining tube becomes blocked.

Catch Basin Drainage Repair

Catch basins should be cleaned when the interior is filled one-third of the way with solid debris. For some areas, the maintenance may be as often as once a month. If you notice water overflow, nearby pest infestation, or an excessively damp yard, then the basin may require a professional drainage system repair. Depending on the foundation, soil type, and current condition of the basin, this may include additional solutions, such as:

  • Gravel-heavy trenches to redirect the water
  • A sump pump installation
  • Soil contouring for better water flow

Don’t wait until a backup occurs to call in a drainage repair expert. Taking preventative steps to improve your drainage system before a problem arises not only saves you money, but helps promote the long-term health of your home foundation, while also reducing environmental risks.

Catch Basin Maintenance for Property Owners

There are steps you can take on your end to keep the basin in good operating order. This doesn’t eliminate the need for professional cleaning, but it does keep the basin in acceptable condition in between servicing.

While basins can accommodate some level of debris, never actively dump trash inside. This includes all waste products, such as pet waste, cooking oil, or grease. Such garbage will not make its way to the treatment facility and may instead end up in nearby lakes and rivers.

You should also regularly check the grate to be sure there are no obstructions that may prevent the unit from accepting water. About once a month, you should check how full the basin is with debris. A simple visual check may not be possible due to the grate being in the way. A solution around this is to stick a broom into the opening and see how deep it’s able to go down.

Catch basin maintenance is part of being a responsible property owner. Foundational repairs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area may also include drainage solutions to improve the basin’s efficiency. Contact Align Foundation Repair to determine if your property can benefit from drainage repairs or installations.