How Does Pier Drilling Work?

Pier drilling is a process which uses an augur to drill deep down into the ground, for the purpose of establishing piers or columns upon which a foundation can be placed to support a structure above ground. It is very often used in locations where the ground is not particularly stable, and where it would be unsafe over the long haul for building construction. Piers are often drilled down deep enough so they can rest in either stable ground, or on solid bedrock, which can provide a very solid base for supporting anything above.

How Pier Drilling is Accomplished

There are several reasons why pier drilling would be used to support a structure, as opposed to the normal, relatively shallow foundations which usually provide structural support for buildings. Pier drilling is often used where extremely heavy loads must be borne, e.g. skyscrapers or office buildings, where the soil is known to be of poor composition for support, or in locations where there are constraints on larger excavations.

In traditional pier drilling, the first of three primary processes calls for drilling a hole to the desired depth. As the augur penetrates into the ground, its rotary blades fill with ground material, which is then brought to the surface and removed. The second step involves creating the supports for the pier, for example installing a steel mesh cage into the hole. The third main process occurs when concrete is poured in all around the mesh cage, which will then harden into a very strong column, or pier, which can be used as support for the foundation above.

The advantage of using this approach is that its far less intrusive than excavating an entire foundation area, and much smaller equipment can be used to do the job, so it generally costs less as well. It is suitable for areas where traditional supports may be inadequate, even in locations where seismic activity occurs. Because pier drilling transfers the load-bearing stresses laterally and axially, it can support extremely heavy loads, which makes it ideal for a wide range of applications, including deck piers, docks, bridges, hospitals, lighthouses, and even oil platforms.

Contact Pier Drilling Experts in the Bay Area

When you have need of pier drilling services in the Bay Area, especially for deep foundation drilling or for footing piers, the company which should be at the top of your list is Lassiter Excavating, Inc. Contact us today for more information about drilling and excavation projects, or for a free estimate on any excavation project you may have in mind.

Four Ways to Prevent Home Foundation Problems

Avoiding problems with your home’s foundation is critical to the long-term stability of your home, which will also save you money on costly repairs. In the San Francisco Bay Area, such problems can be prevented by installing deck piers, footing piers, helical piers, concrete piles, or other constructs which can provide foundation support to keep your home’s base completely stable. As a homeowner, here are some things to look for in in order to prevent foundation problems.

Preventing Home Foundation Problems

Improper Placement of Downspouts
When downspouts are properly positioned, they effectively direct rainwater runoff away from your house so the water doesn’t sink into the nearby soil. Proper positioning calls for extending a downspout at least 5 feet to 10 feet away from the house. Anything less than that will cause runoff to sink down toward the foundation, where it can potentially undermine your house.

Root Problems
When you plant shrubs and trees too close to the house, they will often be in competition with the soil surrounding the house for moisture. This can cause uneven settling, and even sinking in some cases. In turn, this can create all kinds of problems for the foundation, for how the doors and windows fit in their jambs, and even for the drywall between rooms. All deep-rooted plants should also be kept far enough away from the house so that the roots don’t intrude on the structure.

Water Issues
Droughts can become a big problem for your foundation (and the whole house) because of what happens afterwards. When there is a huge rainfall after a drought, the soil undergoes a dramatic expansion and creates tremendous stress on the foundation. To avoid this scenario, whenever you have an extended dry spell, keep the area around your house watered, but keep the soaking 6 inches away from the foundation.

Improper Landscaping
If the area around your house wasn’t landscaped properly during construction, the gradient of the soil can actually direct water toward the house instead of away from it. By using a carpenter’s level, you can determine whether or not your gradient is appropriate for directing water away from the house. Ideally the ground should slope away, at least 6 inches for every 10 feet between your house and the street or curb.

When Foundation Problems Occur Contact a Bay Area Foundation Drilling Company
Sometimes through no fault of your own, problems will still occur with foundations, and repairs or even replacements may be necessary. This is a serious operation which requires the expertise of a reputable Bay Area drilling and excavation company like Lassiter Excavating, Inc.

For all kinds of deep foundation drilling, conventional pier drilling, and foundation support, the company to call first is Lassiter. You can count on receiving the most professional service, and you can count on your foundation problems becoming a thing of the past. Call us at (925) 449-3112  or visit us online for more information!

Pier Drilling – The Basics

Pier drilling is one of several deep foundation methods which can be used to bypass surface-level ground, which is usually relatively soft and unstable, instead of the favorable solid ground that would be found deeper down. Bedrock is the ideal layer sought by deep foundation drilling because it provides the best support for a structure for passive as well as dynamic conditions.

To reach the harder ground further down, it is usually necessary to use an auguring tool, which can bore into the ground to create space for a vertical column. This dug out column would then be filled with concrete and reinforced steel to create an extension from the foundation to the bedrock. The size and number of these columns will depend on the size and load of the foundation.

How Pier Drilling Works

The process for pier drilling works something like this:

augur drilling – an augur, or spiral drilling tool, is attached to a motorized shaft and is forced into the ground under rotation. When it becomes entirely filled with soil it has loosened, it must be brought to the surface to have the soil removed. This process is repeated until the column depth is reached.

bell pier drilling – when the soil is considered too soft for normal support systems, the augur might be replaced by a bell tool which can dig out a ‘bell pier’, i.e. a shaft wider at the bottom to provide additional support.

concrete insertion – once the hole has been dug to the desired depth, all water if present, is pumped out from the bottom of the shaft. A reinforcement cage is placed in the shaft, then concrete is poured in and allowed to settle.

Pier drilling offers one big advantages over ordinary pile driving in that pile driving creates a lot of noise and ground vibration. In most conditions, especially those near other buildings, piers may be a much better option.

The Bay Area Pier Drilling Experts

If you need any kind of deep foundation drilling or excavation for your construction project, the company to call in the Bay Area is Lassiter Excavating Inc., a family-owned business which has provided expert excavation services to people of the region since 1989.

If you’re not thinking of installing a whole new building, but just want to implement some deck piers or footing piers as a preliminary step toward a follow-on project, we can do that too. Whatever your project consists of, contact us at Lassiter Excavating, Inc. for a free estimate, or to have any of your questions answered courteously and professionally. Our phone number is (925) 490-2037

Straight Pier and Bell Pier Drilling

Pier drilling is an effective way to provide a strong and secure foundation for a Bay Area structure, especially in areas where the ground is less stable. As its name suggests, pier drilling consists of creating a shaft in the ground which is bored with specialized machinery, after which it is usually filled with concrete to add strength and stability to the foundation. This kind of drilling or excavation can be at normal depths or it can involve deep foundation drilling, when extra depth is needed to reach stable ground for a larger structure. Continue reading “Straight Pier and Bell Pier Drilling”

When to Use Helical Pier Drilling

Helical Pier drilling in the Bay Area and Sacramento can be thought of as a system which uses anchors to secure structures to the ground when soil conditions are rather challenging, and where the usage of a more conventional foundation system is not indicated. These piers consist of a steel shaft with helicals that make it look like a very large screw, and help to secure any structure tied to it. It is especially useful for drilling where there is unfavorable ground conditions. Continue reading “When to Use Helical Pier Drilling”

How to Identify Home Foundation Problems

A home’s foundation is its first line of defense against the elements. When a foundation is strong, then the whole structure has a high level of integrity. In order to make sure that your building stays strong, there is a need for regular inspections. This kind of action enables you to detect small glitches and plug them before they get out of hand. However, it is hard to get there when you don’t know the signs that raise the red flag. Continue reading “How to Identify Home Foundation Problems”

What is Pier Drilling and What are the Advantages

Pier drilling is a drilling method used for drilling deep holes in the earth for constructing concrete cylindrical foundations.

A pier drilling company uses this drilling method mainly to transfer the load of the building to the subsurface layers of the earth at different depths. Continue reading “What is Pier Drilling and What are the Advantages”