Some people like to be prepared and know what is going to happen and how long things will take. I dare say that most people like to know these things. Although this example has nothing to do with foundation repair, here’s a story you can relate to.
You have a loose plan to go to the movies with friends on Saturday. They call and say, “Meet us at the theatre in 20 minutes.” Well, you haven’t even showered yet or eaten so this is an immediate problem.
Somehow, you make it to the theatre and there is a huge line for tickets and snacks. Long story short, you missed the first ten minutes of the movie, your stomach growled through most of it, and you’re frankly a little irritated with your friends. *insert eye roll*
Had you known the specifics in the first place, you could have been prepared and allowed more time, or done things differently, and it wouldn’t have been a problem. Amiright?!
This article serves as your preparation tool for a possible upcoming foundation repair project with Anchor Foundation Repair. You want to know how long the project will take and what it is going to be like so that you can plan accordingly with your time and expectations.
We know that you want to know how long things are going to take and want to be upfront with you about all of it. Here’s a rough breakdown of the time it takes for each phase of your repair project with Anchor Foundation Repair.
Factor 1: Dig – Drill – Pour (3 to 5 days)
The first phase of work includes a. digging at support locations, b. drilling down into the ground further, and then c. pouring concrete into the holes that have been dug and drilled.
Digging at Support Locations
The time it takes to dig one hole is 4 to 6 hours per person in a typical crew of 5 or 6 members. An average job requires 15 to 20 holes. We dig these holes by hand with shovels. The work is quiet because there is no heavy machinery involved in this.
You might wonder why we don’t use something “higher-tech” or heavier industrial equipment. The reason is that larger equipment can mess up more things around your home, like breaking irrigation lines, cracking sidewalks, destroying hardscape materials, or putting big ruts in your yard.
So it does more harm than good to use something like a mini-excavator or backhoe because messing up a bunch of stuff means that we then have to go back in and fix it later. Doing things without heavy equipment keeps the work less intrusive to your home environment.
Drilling Down Into the Ground Further
The time it takes to drill and “bell” one hole is about 1 hour per team of two. Multiply that by the 15 to 20 holes. We drill down to a depth of 10 to 12 feet and then use a special tool that creates a bell-shape at the bottom of the drilled-out shaft.
Pouring Concrete Into the Holes
The time it takes to pour cement for one house is about one hour with the whole crew working together. We also do this by hand, bringing concrete in wheelbarrows from the street. This keeps the heavy concrete mixing truck away from your home and not on your property. A heavy truck like that can damage your driveway and we don’t want that.
We’re not going to make you do a bunch of math here (you’re welcome), but during the “Dig – Drill – Pour” phase you are looking at 3 to 5 days’ worth of work.
Why are these things done by hand?
We know the soils around here better than anyone and the by-hand method ensures that we are responsible and efficient. We can make adjustments depending on the actual conditions around your home, as well as work more carefully if we are personally handling it rather than a large machine.
Doing things by hand actually improves efficiency because it prevents damage from large, invasive equipment and truly results in less work even though it seems like the opposite would be true.
“When I first came home to work with my dad, I thought that he was stuck in old fashioned ways of doing things. I was convinced that there was a piece of machinery that could really speed up the process and make us faster. But doing things by hand turns out to be the most efficient way because it is less invasive and intrusive to your property and winds up saving homeowners time and money in the end.”– Craig Tripp, President, Owner, CEO, Foundation Repair Extraordinaire
The bonus for homeowners is that it is quieter and a less stressful experience because it just doesn’t feel like everything is getting destroyed in the process of what is supposed to be a repair project.
Factor 2: Downtime aka The 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 and we will do a little cleanup too. In other words, for the 7 to 10 day period, we will not leave your home in disarray.
Factor 3: Raising and Leveling Your Foundation (2 to 3 days)
This phase of work is where your home is actually brought to level using jacks on top of the concrete piers that were poured and have now cured. The team will be outside slowly raising the sections of your home with the jacks, while one team member is inside continually checking on the progress.
During this time, your home might make some noises as it is moving into place. This is the sound of shifting “house parts” and things coming back together as they should. Some people might feel concerned about the noises, but it’s all perfectly normal to the process.
Some people might feel concerned about whether or not it’s safe to be in the home at this time as well. It is. Not one homeowner in 35 years has ever been injured during the home raising process. You might not want to be around if you find the noise bothersome or distracting though.
It’s really entirely up to you if you choose to stay on-site for this part. We have homeowners that want to and homeowners that would rather take in a movie while this is going on – preferably not with the same friends as you tried to go to a movie with last time . . .
Factor 4: Tunneling and Plumbing Repair (2 to 4 days if needed)
These are extra steps that may or may not apply to every foundation repair job. Tunneling could be needed if there were plumbing lines in need of repair under the home. This scenario applies to about 25 to 30% of the work that we do. But since it doesn’t apply to the majority of our foundation repairs, we won’t cover it in detail here.
Factor 5: Mud-pumping and Return to Normalcy (1 to 2 days)
Mud-pumping is a process we use to fill the voids and spaces under your home that are now there as a result of the home being raised. This ensures that the interior of your home is fully supported, while the piers are supporting the perimeter of your home.
We will patch any holes that we had to make during the repair process in sidewalks, driveways, or porches at this time.
Cleaning up and returning everything back to its proper place is an important last step. This includes things like landscaping, fire pits, and patios. We will always put your home back in order before our departure.
Adding Up All the Time Factors
So let’s just do a little fun math now. Okay, I’ll do the math, you just check out this handy dandy chart. We’re going to use numbers on the low and high sides of each timeframe for each step.
Keep in mind that none of this is taking into account weekends where no one would be working. The only time factor that can include weekends is the time when the concrete is curing, but all the other times will only be on weekdays.
In general, Anchor Foundation Repair typically gives a 3 to 4-week estimation for all the work to be completed on any given foundation repair.
*If* tunneling and plumbing repairs need to take place as well, include these days in your estimation.
Now, the time factors that affect an Anchor Foundation Repair project pertain specifically to the bell-bottom drilled pier method of foundation repair. So this article only speaks to a foundation repair that uses this specific method. Other methods of foundation repair will not have this same timeline.
This 3 to 4-week timeline is also for a very average job of 15 to 20 piers. The more piers, the larger the home, or larger the damaged area, the more time it will take. We are working on a job right now that requires 63 piers and could take more than 10 weeks to complete.
Why would a homeowner be okay with this amount of time?
There’s no denying that an extensive foundation repair project completed by Anchor Foundation Repair can be a long process. Some days it might feel like nothing gets done other than a growing pile of dirt on the driveway. You might be wondering why anyone would willingly choose this method and company for their repairs . . .
Good work takes time and some things can’t be rushed or made better with a high-tech, high-speed approach. There are certainly other methods that can be faster if time is a factor for you.
If your main goal is to use the method that will give your repair the most longevity and comes with a lifetime warranty, then the bell-bottom pier method that we use at Anchor Foundation Repair is the one you want.
We haven’t stuck with the bell-bottom pier method because we like how long it takes to install. Rather, we continue to use this technique because we believe it to be a great fit for many homeowners to provide the most long-lasting stability for their homes.
This article was written with a focus on time and how long things take in each step of the process. We have an article that goes into much more detail about each step as well if you are interested. Warning: it’s a long one because of extensive detail, so be prepared to give it some extra time. *winkie face*
Is Anchor Foundation Repair a Good Fit for Your Needs?
You might still be trying to decide which foundation repair contractor will work best for you, your needs, and the goals you have for your home’s future. Making this repair choice is not a one-method-fits-all solution and we want you to feel great about your decision.
Some methods of foundation repair take are faster, ours is slower. Are you willing to take the time needed for a high-quality foundation repair? Our primary mission at Anchor Foundation Repair is peace of mind and confidence in the stability of your home, and we are willing to take all the time in the world to make sure of it.
Let’s make sure that you are a good fit for Anchor and that Anchor is a good fit for you based on your needs. Once you feel comfortable, we will be there for you if and when you decide to move forward.