slab foundation repair methods

What Slab-On-Grade Foundation Repair Methods Are There? 6 Types

You’ve got a slab type of foundation and are looking at repairs. Until this very moment, you were *blissfully unaware* that different methods existed in slab foundation repair but now you are seeing that you have choices. Or maybe you are super smart and already knew there were a few options out there and are trying to find the one that will work for you.

If you’re a person that likes making choices, knowing that different foundation repair methods exist is great news. If you dread the idea of making yet another choice, that’s okay too. Because depending on where you live and what you need, your choices might be narrowed down for you so read on!

Anchor Foundation Repair

Anchor Foundation Repair has been repairing foundations in Bryan, College Station, and other Brazos Valley communities like Brenham and Navasota since 1985. So what we’re saying here is that *know a bit* about foundation repair and can fill you in on repair methods.

Although we only do one of the methods in this list, we will objectively present this info and detail the basic concept of each type’s support style and what environments they work well in. 

We want to make sure you have all the information you need to make the best choice for your home. We know that’s not always going to be our method and we’re cool with that.

What Repair Methods Or Types Are There For Slab Foundations?

All slab-on-grade foundation repair methods have at least one thing in common. Each method will have a way of adding extra support under and around the home to bring it back to its original elevation. Even if the methods are very different, they at least have that in common.

foundation raising

*Side Note* Some foundation repair companies promote masonry patches, sealants, waterproofing, and epoxy resins as “foundation repair”. But since none of these repair types involve raising the foundation back into position, we won’t be covering them here.

There are surprisingly quite a few different methods of foundation repair that exist in the world. When you are choosing a foundation repair company, you are often also choosing a method of repair. Most foundation repair contractors will only specialize in one repair method, although you could find a rare contractor that does more than one.

It’s safe to say that you are never going to find one repair contractor that offers all methods or does all of the methods very well. Some of these methods may not even be available in your area at all. But we will tell you about each one briefly, organized by primary repair material.

1. Steel Pressed Pilings

A steel piling is made up of stacked steel pipe pieces that are a little less than 3 inches in diameter and come in lengths of 1 to 3 feet. The sections of steel pipe are stacked on top of one another as they are driven into the ground using a hydraulic ram. 

There is a variation of this method where concrete is poured into the center of the shaft pipe, but it is still considered to be steel pressed piling.

The number of steel sections needed depends on the soil conditions under your home. Steel piers can go to great depths (up to 100 feet if needed) and are good for installation in hard rock areas.

2. Steel Helical Piers

A helical pier is sort of an “earth anchoring device” that looks like a drill bit and is also known as a screw pier. The helical pier has one or more metal discs that are welded in a spiral pattern around a rigid central steel pipe. 

They get their name from the spiral helix pattern (like you see in the double helix of human DNA). The spiraling pieces help distribute weight and anchor the pier into the ground.

Helical piers are used frequently in commercial building applications as well as areas with high groundwater levels. They are also used more in higher wind and/or seismic activity areas.

3. Concrete Pressed Pilings

Concrete Pressed Pile Foundation Repair

Concrete pressed pilings aka pressed piles or friction piers are similar to the steel pressed pilings in that sections are driven by hydraulics into the ground. But the sections are made of concrete instead.

The concrete sections are cylindrical and measure 6” in diameter and 12” in length. Each section is pressed into the ground on top of one another until the ground pressure will not allow any more to be pressed.

Companies present variations of the concrete pressed pile method with:

  • Cable or rebar inserted into the center of the cylinders for extra support, or 
  • The pile has a special base or cap, or 
  • Their unique method is patented or trademarked in some way

BUT the basic principle is the same. They are all reliant on the friction between the concrete and the clay soil to remain in place and functioning.

Concrete pressed piles are used frequently in residential foundation repair in our Central Texas area and are known for quick installation and lesser cost than other repair methods.

4. Drilled Concrete Piers

Each drilled concrete pier is made individually on-site for foundation repair, as opposed to the other methods so far that use premade materials that are pieced together on-site. Drilled and poured concrete piers can also be called bell-bottom piers due to the distinctive bell shape at the bottom of the shaft.

A simple version of this type of pier is used in original construction for things like deck footings and might be called a spot pier in those lighter applications. A longer, more enhanced, and reinforced version of this type of pier is used in home and commercial foundation repair.

bell-bottom pier foundation repair

This method can take more time and cost to install. The drilled concrete pier is effective in areas with widespread expansive clay soils because the belled bottom resists soil uplift and increases anchoring stability.

5. Hybrid Piling with Steel and Concrete

A pressed pile method that uses steel sections at the base of the pile and concrete cylinders near the top of the pile exists as well. This combo of two materials could be more of a marketing spin than a true engineering and performance-based solution. It is unclear if this hybrid method has any true advantages over either single material method.

6. High-Density Polyurethane Foam Injection

A method commonly called “polyjacking” is also used in foundation repair and flat surface concrete repair. A specialized polyurethane foam is injected by drilled holes through the top of the foundation. The foam puffs up and pushes your foundation back up to its intended elevation from below and then solidifies to hold your home in place. 

slab on grade foundation repair with polyjacking

This method is very different from the other methods because it does not use perimeter support around the edges of the home. It only fills voids and lifts from underneath the interior areas of the home. Even though the word foam sounds like something weak, this material has significant weight-bearing strength.

Polyjacking is a quick, less-mess option for interior support of homes, but does not offer the perimeter support that might be needed in many cases.

Polyjacking can also be combined “hybrid-style” with other exterior pier methods. This is an advantage as interior pier work can be messy. Using polyjacking on the interior combines the perimeter support strength of traditional methods with the simplicity of foam under the interior spaces.

What Slab-On-Grade Foundation Repair Methods Are Available In This Area?

pressed pile foundation repair

As we mentioned earlier, some of the slab-on-grade foundation repair methods may not even be available in your area at all. In the Brazos Valley area, there are locally-owned foundation repair contractors that do concrete pressed piles and poured concrete piers.

Out-of-town contractors willing to come to the Brazos Valley can do concrete pressed piles, hybrid steel/concrete piles, and high-density polyfoam injection. We are not aware of any steel pressed piling or helical pier contractors that commonly come to this area.

Remember that when you are choosing a foundation repair company, you are choosing a method of repair as well. We compiled information on other foundation repair contractors in our area if you are interested.

Well, What Method Does Anchor Foundation Repair Use?

pressed piles vs bell bottom piers

Great question! Thanks for asking. Although both methods available in our area have merits and are good in certain situations, Anchor Foundation Repair uses only the drilled concrete bell-bottom pier method of foundation repair. The biggest pro is that this method is the longest-lasting and most durable method of repair. 

Because of this durability, we offer a lifetime warranty and service agreement on our slab-on-grade foundation repair. We have been doing business in this community for 35+ years and counting and plan to be around for the long haul. 

We can make good on warranty work because we aren’t going anywhere. We believe that our method has some strong pro features vs. the pressed pile method of repair that you can check out next.