Helical Piers vs Push Piers

Some may remember my past post(s) concerning my own foundation settlement issue. I’ve finally got off my rear end and got estimates from 3 foundation companies. I have it narrowed down to two. One recommends six helical piers while the other recommends 7 steel push piers. What are your opinions of the two? Give me the good, bad and ugly :wink: Oh, price wise they are real close to one another based on price per pier. Thanks!


Can you provide links to their WEB sites so that we can view their pier offerings?

As for steel push piers I would not recommend them to anyone. Steel likes to rust and even if coated you can expect the coating to wear during installation. Push piers are not very good for active soils as there is always the potential of them being pushed/squeezed upward. This has been a problem with expansive soils and push piers.

Yes most helical piers are steel but at least they offer some of the characteristics of belled and poured concrete piers. Here is one interesting site for helical piers:


Whatever you do, if you use any steel in piers also make sure they are using primary steel of the proper gauge. There are some foundation repair companies out there who are using cheap secondary steel in their piers. These tend to fail and corrode quickly.

Many foundation repair companies offer a lifetime transferable guarantee. Almost better than the original foundation. Is Ram Jack in your neck of the woods?

Here we go…
www.trottercompany.com and www.anglinsfoundationrepairs.com

Not sure of Ram Jack but both companies give a lifetime transferable warranty.

The helical company seemed more professional for what it’s worth. If I use them I’ll have to hire a seperate brick mason to do the cosmetic repairs. The steel pier company provides the brick repair along with the piers.

Lifetime warranty, sounds good. Check references and good luck.

Lifetime warranties are only as good as the longevity of the companies that issue them, Read them carefully, or better yet, have them read by someone who won’t just read what he or she wants to read, and preferably someone who is very familiar with construction, so they can tell you what could happen that won’t be covered. To me, a lifetime warranty is an invitation to mistrust. Do the homework.

Of the two companies Robert listed they have both been in business since 1929 and 1930, at first look they seem reputable.

I have one issue (other than the type of pier to go with) that is sticking in my crawl… the steel push pier company (foreman) originally suggested 15 piers and later suggested 7 piers. It’s the only thing that put a bad taste in my mouth about the company. Otherwise, they are highly rated and have the added benefit of also doing the masonry repairs.


The company I have successfully used with many clients insists on incorporating a lifetime transferable warranty on all pier work, initial and final, third party engineering reports and final plumbing tests. Pressure test on supply and static on the drain.

In the event you have questions about the number of and placement of the piers consult the engineer they are using. S/he should be able to address all questions to your satisfaction.


Good points and well worth having done! There are some good companies out there. Which company is this you speak of? Do the engineering reports contain before and after elevation readings as well?

An update… I’m back on Terra Firma!!! I finally decided to go with a company that installed push piers (total of 7), made the needed brick/mortar repairs, and provided a lifetime transferrable warranty. They started at 10Am and completed the job at 9PM. No more sticking doors, cracks, etc. The crew was great and encouraged me to watch and learn. I was with them the entire day and learned a lot. I don’t wish this experience on anyone…but it was an education which will help me with future inspections…hmmm, wonder if I can get a few CE credits for that :wink:

Hope you got lots of Pictures Glad for you . All the Best …Cookie

Did you take any pics, Robert? I’m sure many would enjoy them.:wink:

I’m not sure if this will work but let’s see… http://www.kodakgallery.com/ShareLandingSignin.jsp?Uc=569nst5.4iaonjmp&Uy=3hyu86&Upost_signin=Slideshow.jsp%3Fmode%3Dfromshare&Ux=0

Hi Robert,

Glad to hear you are happy with the work perfomed. If you wouldn’t mind sharing, what was the finnal bill for all 7?

I don’t mind at all because I had received eye popping guess-timates from several people in the range of $30-40k. The total bill was $8750.00. A few other written estimates I received were a little lower but there were additional charges if the piers went deeper than 20 ft ($25 per foot). My cost per pier did not have additional depth charges. I had a few go beyond the 20 ft mark.

Nice work…

That seems like a very reasonable price to me

hope your situation works out and hope you actually needed piering,
MANY homeowners are talked into piering or underpinning etc when its
not necessary.

also hope they waterproofed that one crack in bsmt wall, and any others
on the…outside.

if there were bricks atop of this retaining wall, what might they look like,huh?
How would any piering help relieve-lessen SOIL pressure or roots? It can`t.
-----scroll down to picture of retainning wall,HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE

cracks in basement walls often occur due to expanding/contracting soil
pressure against the WALL and/or roots against the wall. some cracks occur around
the time when home is built.

cracks in BRICKS ABOVE the wall, especially above/near where there is a
crack in the basement wall may subsequently follow as the soil continues
to expand-contract with or without the help of roots.

so YES, if/when a crack in BASEMENT wall occurs, or WIDENS then a
homeowner may begin to see cracks in bricks…does NOT mean they
automatically have a settling issue…BLLCHTTTTT! Doesn`t mean they need any sort
of helical piering/underpinning etc…BLCCCHTTTT!

The bricks can certainly crack,separate,widen because the crack in the
basement wall occurred or the crack in bsmt wall is WIDENING and often
is widening due to soil pressure and/or roots AGAINST the dang WALL!!!
This is what we/i`ve witnessed…LEARNED, hands-on/up close for
3 decades.

Have never sold 1 pier,never any wall anchoring bcllhtt, just a few underpinning
instances…30 years…no homeowner complaints…hmmmm.

some will own a home for many years/decades and not have
any problems/cracks and then all of a sudden…bamm. too many HOs begin to freak out when they see a crack in wall and/or in bricks, many ASSUME and/or are told their foundation is fallin apart, hurry up and
spend many thousands before your house/foundation is ruined.

and just because a homeowner may receive several bids/opinions from
from supposed foundation experts who tell the HO they need piers etc
doesn`t mean chtt to me. Of course many, prolly MOST of these
salespeople are going to make-their-case to the homeowner to sell, sell,

Its very possible for ram jacked piering/any piering to slip/drop if/when
water-in-soil changes, jacking chtt around can cause-lead to other
problems/cracks to other parts of house/walls/floor etc.

LOOK… IF, IF,IF…there was a problem with the FOOTING,
a cracked/separated/dropped footing…it would be VISIBLE on the outside
when dug out. Digging out a few small areas to install PIERS doesn`t
define the actual problem(s)…they are assuming, not defining.

IF,IF,IF… a homeowner had other problem(s) then they may also
see their basement FLOOR crack/drop, especially around-near a corner.

See so-MANY get BS`d into piers when it ABSOLUTELY was NOT NEEDED!

Ya know, quite a few of these self proclaimed foundation-waterproofing
experts are incompetent, don`t have the many years of experience they
advertise/tell ya they do, not talking about company you had.

For instance, several companies around here who have been in business
for 30 years STILL dont understand several things, they dont believe
in hydrostatic SOIL-pressure and backfill with 1/2 or all of the same CLAY
they dug out…some think its all about the freakin` DRAIN TILES, they
actually think a basement wall can leak if any of the outside tiles are
blocked/cracked…so sorry…Wrong! SHEESH!!!

best of luck to ya! some links which mostly delve into the truth, not the BS.


this next link…read… ‘footings’ and then read… ‘basement walls’…CAUSE and
if there ISNT a cracked/dropped footing but rather a crack(s) in basement wall then bricks could begin to crack/separate and THAT is many more HOs problem.
So again…assuming a HO needs piers when they DON`T KNOW if footing is cracked/dropped is PRETENTIOUS Bcllllllttttttttt!!! Hit it again…one may ONLY have a crack in basment wall and NOT need piering/underpinning etc.


Agree with alot of this, not all.

"If a crack appears overnight in your previosuly intact brick house, don`t panic. It is not
the first step in the total disintegration of your whole home.

Most cracks require cosmetic treatment only.The MAJORITY are NOT indictions of grave
structural damage."

“Unfortunately lack of knowledge can lead to the adoption of UNNECESSARILY expensive
treatments which may be suggested by firms BIASED in favour of using their own
patented and profitable ‘cures’.”


…" This type of drainage (gravel-peastone AGAINST the Basement Wall) prevents
trapped water and saturated soil next to the foundation from building up
HORIZONTAL HYDROSTATIC PRESSURE against the WALL. This pressure will
crack walls, cause leaks, and in a worst case,collapse the wall INWARD"

So those builders/contractors/city inspectors/SEs who dont understand this
are INCOMPETENT! Better watch what SOME recommend.