Push piers are steel supports that provide a permanent solution to stabilize a foundation. Push piers and helical piers are used to support both residential homes as well as commercial structures.
We work with dozens of engineers and architects to support major commercial structures, as well as homeowners who want permanent foundation repair solutions.
Supportworks push piers
Our Supportworks Push Pier System utilizes high-strength round steel tubes and a load transfer bracket (retrofit foundation repair bracket) to stabilize and/or lift sinking or settling foundations.
Push pier installation
We follow a carefully-engineered process during push pier installation.
Steel foundation bracket
Once soil is removed from the foundation’s footing, a steel foundation bracket will be secured against the existing footing.
Hydraulically-driven push piers
Push pier sections are driven hydraulically through the foundation bracket and into the bedrock or stable soil layer below using the combined structural weight and any contributory soil load as resistance.
Push pier sections are continuously driven until a suitable load-bearing stratum is encountered.
At that point, the structure either begins to lift or the target pressure/load is achieved. The weight of the structure is then transferred from the unstable soil, through the steel brackets and push piers, to firm load-bearing soil or bedrock. At this point, a lift can be attempted to return the structure to original position.
Once the foundation is permanently stabilized, the soil is backfilled.
For an outside installation, the soil around your foundation must be excavated so that the footing is exposed. For an inside installation, a section of your slab floor will need to be removed to expose the footing. The slab will be restored after the installation.
A section of the footing will be prepared for each foundation pier so that the pier is supporting the wall directly, and not simply lifting the section of the footing that extends beyond the walls. This makes for the strongest installation.
A steel bracket is secured to the foundation footing at each pier location.
With push piers, the foundation bracket is installed before the piers are driven into the earth. This allows the push pier to take advantage of your home's structure, stabilizing the pier as it is advanced deep below your foundation to competent soils.
The hollow steel piers are installed in sections, or extensions, that are connected to each other. One at a time, each extension is driven down through the bracket until strong supporting soils or bedrock are reached.
These steel piers are the strongest component of our foundation pier system, and are responsible for transferring the weight of your structure to competent load-bearing soil. Our foundation piers are available with a galvanized steel design. These piers are corrosion-resistant, for long-lasting durability.
Once all foundation piers have been installed, the settlement of your foundation will be permanently halted.
At this time, we will determine if the foundation should remain at its stabilized location or be lifted back to its original position. Following this final stabilization, slabs are repaired and soil is replaced to totally hide the repair.
Factors of safety
The Supportworks Push Pier System develops a factor of safety against pier settlement by the push pier installation methods used and the sequence with which multiple push piers are driven and then re-loaded.
Push piers are first driven individually using the maximum weight of the structure and any contributory soil load. After all of the push piers are driven, the piers are re-loaded simultaneously, and the total reaction load is distributed over the multiple pier locations.
Since the average load on each pier during the load transfer operation is less than the load during pier installation/driving, a factor of safety against settlement is achieved.
Typical factors of safety against pier settlement range from about 1.5 to 3.0, with higher values generally achieved for structures with greater rigidity.
These factors of safety conservatively ignore any additional long-term frictional component to the pier's capacity.
Push pier design
The Supportworks system utilizes a smart design to achieve permanent foundation repair solutions.
Push piers are installed directly adjacent to the existing structure utilizing side-load brackets. This introduces eccentricity into the system.
Patented bracket and external sleeve
The Model 288 Push Pier System incorporates an external sleeve at the top of the pier to aid in resisting the bending forces generated by this loading condition. This helps preserve the axial compressive capacity of the pier shaft. The external sleeve extends through and below the foundation bracket to essentially create a bracket that is 48 inches tall.
The moment of bending force is localized within a relatively short distance below the bracket. Although the bending force is dissipated quickly by the pier bearing against the confining soil, it is significant and cannot be ignored.
The depth or length of sleeve and pier over which the bending force dissipates is a function of the soil stiffness near the surface.
The depth is greater in soft clay and loose sand, and less in stiff clay and dense sand. In soft or loose soils, a small portion of the bending force may be transferred to the pier below the sleeve, thereby reducing the pier's allowable axial compressive capacity.
A modified, lower capacity system is also available with a shorter, 30-inch long sleeve for low headroom applications.
Friction Reducing Collar
The first pier section advanced into the ground includes a larger-diameter friction reducing collar welded to the lead end.
This collar, being larger in diameter than the pier tube, effectively creates annular space around the pier as it is advanced through most clayey soils.
In soft clay or clean sand and gravel, an annular space may only temporarily be created. However, the larger diameter collar causes soil disturbance or remolding to occur, which also significantly reduces frictional resistance on the outside surface of the pier during driving.
The result is a driven pier that generates most of its capacity in end bearing.
Over time, the soils surrounding the pier relax back into the annular space and against the pier shaft.
This provides an additional frictional component to the pier's capacity.
Even though this frictional capacity may be significant, it is conservatively ignored in the determination of the pier's factor of safety against pier settlement.
Push Pier Installers In Florida
As a Supportworks contractor, we offer professional installations of push pier systems for structures that are experiencing damage from settlement or sinking.
We provide free, written push pier installation inspection. If you would like to schedule your free on-site inspection, professional consultation, and written system design, call (407) 564-1973 or email us today! Our service area includes Saint Petersburg, Tampa, Orlando, Bradenton, Lakeland, Sarasota, Ocala, Kissimmee, Daytona Beach, Clearwater and the surrounding areas.