What is it like to get home foundation repair with drilled piers? You’re thinking this repair type might be an option for your house, but you need a little more detail about the process. If you choose this repair method, it would be nice to know what to expect, right?
After 35+ years and thousands of repair jobs, Anchor Foundation Repair has developed systems, processes, and checklists to ensure that we meet the intent of the repair and exceed your expectations in our performance. We can explain the steps of our repair process to you, no problem.
We dialed down the explanations a bit in this article for someone still “kicking the tires” on foundation repair contractors and methods. So, this article is a *slightly less detailed* version of our process for someone who is still deciding if Anchor Foundation Repair and drilled piers are right for you.
We can’t say for sure that every contractor that does drilled piers will do everything the exact same way as Anchor but there should be a lot of similarities. Here’s a scaled-down version of the drilled pier process without all the special stuff that Anchor does.
If you want the mega-detailed version of our drilled pier experience then we have that too!
7 Steps for Drilled Pier Foundation Repair
Not all foundation repair is the same. Since there are different foundation repair methods, the steps and the process is different for drilled piers than for pressed pilings (another common foundation repair method.
We put together this step-by-step guide to let you know when team members or trucks would be at your home and what they will generally be doing. We want to take the worry, uncertainty, and stress out of this process for you and present you with the following steps.
- Pre-Job Appearances and Happenings
- Job Kickoff
- Work Phase 1: Dig – Drill – Pour
- Concrete Curing
- Work Phase 2: Raising the Home
- Tunneling and Plumbing Repair (only if needed)
- Work Phase 3: Mud-Pumping and Clean-Up
We understand that many homeowners haven’t seen, experienced, or lived up close to a foundation repair job before. Or you may have experienced it from a distance but you haven’t had it done to your own home. Let’s check out these steps, shall we?
1. Pre-Job Appearances And Happenings (The Week Before)
We make sure that a couple of things happen before a foundation repair job starts at your home, especially if you live in town as some of these are required in city municipalities.
Call 811 for a Dig Test
When anyone plans to dig around your home, they are required to call 811 for a “dig test” to keep all your underground utility lines safe by marking them with colored flags.
Anchor Foundation Repair takes care of making this call in advance. You don’t have to do anything and you don’t have to be home when these people come. They work only outside the home and are very independent.
Pull a Work Permit with the City
In Bryan and College Station, work permits are required for foundation repair. Anchor takes care of getting permits requested. Again you don’t have to do anything, but know that this will be done in any city required. If you live outside BCS city limits or in a smaller city, permitting is not a requirement at the moment.
2. Job Kickoff (Beginning Of Day 1)
When will the crew arrive? Will they need to talk to you when they get there? Here’s a quick rundown for you.
Start Date and Work Time
Anchor will be in contact with you about your start date and will confirm as the time nears. The team will arrive at your home after 8 am. It could be 8:20 am to 8:30 am or later depending on how far you live from our shop. The team will usually work until 4 pm or a little later each day.
The crew will begin working through several pre-start activities within the first 20 to 30 minutes of arrival. These tasks include:
- Checking for and testing the working order of your irrigation or sprinkler system if present
- Taking pictures and/or videos of landscaping items to document placement
- Carefully moving landscaping items to a designated-by-you temporary location
- Identifying other items that need to be moved and replaced, like termite traps or firepits
- Identifying a location for temporary dirt storage with you
- Identifying the location of your home’s water shut-off valve and electrical panel in case of an unplanned issue
- Meet and greet with the job foreman
- Then, the team will get started on digging some holes!
This is also a great time for a homeowner to ask questions and talk with the foreman about any concerns as well.
3. Work Phase 1: Dig – Drill – Pour (3 To 5 Days)
Our team jumps right in and starts working hard as soon as the pre-start checklist is complete. There’s digging and drilling out holes for the bell-bottom piers, and then pouring concrete towards the end of this work phase. Here’s what Phase 1 work entails.
Digging Holes at Each Pier Location
There’s a lot of activity during this phase. Team members each choose a spot around your home with a wheelbarrow and shovel and dig a 2-foot by 2-foot hole at each spot where support is needed. These holes are square and neatly done.
If any exterior concrete surfaces need to be broken up to create pier access, jackhammering is done to reach those locations. Jackhammering usually doesn’t start right away, we dig the easy holes first before starting on the others. At the end of each day, the holes will be covered with plywood for your safety.
Drilling Down to 12 Feet and Making Bell Bottoms
Using a 2-man motorized auger (it’s a big long drill that bores an 8-inch shaft down into the earth), a shaft is bored down 10-12 feet deep at each pier location.
Then a “beller” is inserted into the hole to create the bell shape at the bottom of the shaft. This spinning tool slowly cuts the soil out at the bottom of the hole into a bell shape as it spins. The final result at the bottom of the shaft is a wider part that flares out.
Pouring Concrete by Hand
Concrete comes mixed in a concrete truck. The concrete is brought by a team of wheelbarrows, and poured by hand at each pier location. Once all the pouring is done, then it’s time to wait.
4. Concrete Curing (7 To 10 Days)
Concrete needs time to cure without pressure on it, this is what makes it the strongest for your home’s piers. The heavier your home is, the more time it should take to cure the concrete. So work will stop at your home for this curing period but we will do a little cleanup including:
- Haul away of the dirt that was dug out of the holes and no longer needed
- Pressure washing your driveway where the dirt was stored
5. Work Phase 2: Raising the Home (2 To 3 Days)
After the concrete curing is complete, it’s time for the team to return to raise the home back to its original elevation and correct all the signs of foundation problems happening at your home. The team will place hydraulic bottle jacks on top of all the pier caps and begin the process of raising and leveling your home.
Until now, the crew has stayed outside of your home. Now they will need inside access throughout the raising time as they are carefully checking and monitoring the lifting progress.
The team will first raise the whole house with the jacks, monitor for level and the correction of foundation settlement signs, and then shim the home securely into place using steel shims.
Plumbing Pressure Testing
Once all shimming is complete and the home is back in its optimal position, we will conduct a hydrostatic plumbing pressure test on the home at this time. This is to ensure that a.) your plumbing is in working order, and b.) to prepare for mud-pumping later on.
6. Tunneling and Plumbing Repair (Only If Needed)
If an unexpected under-slab plumbing problem surfaces, tunneling and additional repair will be necessary. Honestly, 25 to 30% of foundation repair jobs already have or identify new plumbing issues, so be prepared for this possibility.
Now, we won’t go into detail on tunneling, but if you need it, this is when it happens. As the name suggests, we are digging a tunnel under your home to get to the problem so that a plumber can make the needed plumbing repairs without a lot of disruption inside your home.
7. Work Phase 3: Mud-Pumping and Clean-Up (1 To 2 Days)
Now begins the final phase of work on the home to get you back to normal home life. You will know this is about to happen when a pile of new dirt gets delivered to your home.
Hole Filling and Patching
We don’t fill holes back in with the expansive clay soil that we took out. Instead, a load of topsoil will be brought in and we will fill the holes with that.
Mud-Pumping after Foundation Repair
Your home has been lifted up and now there is space under your home that wasn’t there before. We fill in these new gaps using a technique called “mud-pumping.” We use a flowing mix of “slurry” to firmly support the interior of your home as much as possible, but there are a few other reasons too.
- To prevent drainage and erosion problems around and under the home that can “undo” all the work that was just done
- To support the interior floor so it doesn’t sound hollow when you walk on it
- To keep critters from deciding it’s a great place to live
We’ve got a whole other article on mud-pumping so we won’t go into too much detail here. Basically, there will be a small machine that looks like a motorized wheelbarrow pumping the cement and dirt mix under your home through a hose. We will also patch up holes that were made in sidewalks or porches at this time.
Clean-Up and Recheck the Pre-Start Checklist
Just as we went through steps at the job start, we go back through them to make sure everything gets put back right and in its previous state. Including:
- Checking for and testing working order of your irrigation/sprinkler system if present
- Carefully replacing landscaping items to the original location by referencing pictures
- Returning other items to the original location, like termite traps or firepits
- Clearing away or spreading any remaining topsoil
Communication During the Foundation Repair Project
We have a great communication tool called Buildertrend. This online system allows us to keep you updated on the work being done on your property. The team will take pictures and videos during work progress and the office will post them to your Buildertrend portal along with updates so you can see what is going on every step of the way.
We do this to help lower the worry level and uncertainty that you may feel with any large home project. You can also see invoices and make payments conveniently on this online system. Buildertrend is pretty handy!
Your Home is a Priority for Anchor Foundation Repair
We want you to have the best possible homeowner experience with your Anchor Foundation Repair project. We commit to kicking off the project right, keeping you informed throughout the process, and putting everything back where it is supposed to be – including your home!
“Our number one priority, and something we take very seriously, is to treat your home as if it were ours. It’s more than just a job to us, it’s your home and we want to protect it and you every step of the way.”Craig Tripp – Anchor Foundation Repair President, CEO, Owner, and Foundation Repair Extraordinaire
Want to find out more about what we do to take care of your home during the repair process? Here’s an article about 4 Service Features that Set Anchor Foundation Repair Apart.