Have you ever noticed that even the cable-lock companies use pressed piers? Pressed piers are the most commonly used piers for several reasons. They are the most cost effective pier to install. Pressed piers can be installed deeper than most other types. They are also one of the easiest piers to install. In addition, pressed concrete piers are the most durable pier over time, and easiest to adjust if necessary.
There are many companies that install the pressed piers for as little as $125 per pier. While this is a true reflection of the moderate costs of cylinders and labor to install these piers, it is also a reflection of the quality of the company installing them. Many companies are using simple hydraulic bottle jacks to press these cylinders. For some projects this is the best/only way to install them due to the weight of the structure above. However, when installing these piers under a house, there is sufficient weight to use a more powerful hydraulic ram to install the pressed piers. This ram allows the pier to be pressed deeper and faster than a bottle jack is capable of pressing them.
One important factor to consider in this is that the deeper the pier is pressed, the more stable it will be, and it will use more cylinders. Because it uses more cylinders it will cost more to install them in this manner. The average cost of these piers is $300 per pier.
Some types of piers require far more labor to install such as poured concrete piers. These monolithic piers are augured out and then poured full of concrete. Then all of the dirt removed has to be hauled away and disposed of in some manner.
These piers are typically 2 foot in diameter and about 20-30 feet deep. This is a lot of concrete, and is going to be very heavy. When these piers only go 20-30 feet deep instead of 40-60 or to bedrock, they will have a tendency to sink or settle easily.
Due to the light weight and small diameter of the pressed pier they will press far deeper or to bedrock and will not be able to settle over time. The only part of these piers that may result in required adjustment over time are the eventual rusting out of the steel plates used to shim the top of the pier to the bottom of the foundation. These plates should last longer than the average life span. They are solid steel.
Steel cables or rods will rust out over a period of less than five years in most cases. This has been the case due to being submerged in the soil. The constant moisture below the surface of the ground causes rapid deterioration of metals among other things.
Any company that is using a gimmick like steel cables or rods to make their pier more solid is hoping that you have no common since. This may be helpful in areas where lateral movement is occurring, but will rust out over time. The best pier reinforcement technique for the specific conditions is a plastic rod inserted into the cylinder shaft. This method is known as the “Alamo Advantage". These plastic rods are more than sufficient to protect against lateral movement in the soil and will not rust out over time.
If you need piers I recommend trying the Alamo Advantage piering system. There are a growing number of providers licensed to offer this technique. http://www.BrokenSlab.com will help you contact a provider near you.
James Nech is a Masonry Repair Contractor in the Dallas / Fort Worth area. His company has repaired thousands of homes restoring them to their original beauty. When he is not repairing Brickwork or other masonry he can be found talking or writing about it. For more articles on brick repair visit his website at http://www.alamomasonryrepair.com