Concrete Pilings Foundation Problems

Contributor: Chris Cates

Concrete pilings are long columns, constructed primarily of concrete, that are sunk below ground to support a house’s foundation. Concrete pilings are not the same as concrete drilled piers. Pilings can be installed more quickly because there isn’t any curing (hardening of the concrete) time needed.

Within the concrete pilings are lengths of steel or rebar. These provide strength for the concrete piling as it supports the foundation and the home atop it. Concrete pilings often are used in areas that have expansive clay soils. States with notable expansive clay soils include Texas, Colorado and Kansas.

Expansive Clay Soils

Concrete Piling ImageSoils with high clay minerals can cause multiple problems for homeowners. Expansive clay soils absorb water more than other types of soil. The water absorption causes the soil to expand and exert pressure on the foundation.

Over time, foundation cracks can develop. The effects ripple from there. Water seeps in through foundation cracks, which contributes to wet basements and crawl space moisture. You may see the affects of water and moisture in your home—sagging floors, cracks in drywall, baseboards and molding that are separating from wall at the corners as well as sticking windows, crooked doors and bugs in the house.

Soil Shifting

Another factor that contributes to foundation problems is soil shifting, which contributes to foundation movement and settling. Using concrete pilings for house leveling is one foundation repair method. Concrete pilings have been an industry standard for many years for foundation repair. Steel pilings are another option and have been used with success as well.

Olshan has created a new hybrid foundation repair method, combining the benefits of concrete pilings with the strength of steel pilings. Our Hybrid Piling System is available for all home types and can help resolve a variety of foundation problems.

Under your home and foundation are several layers of earth comprised of various minerals. The Hybrid Piling System can handle the toughest soil conditions, penetrating to depths needed for the best support. The concrete portion of the system allows for a larger weight bearing area (providing better foundation support) and the steel segments allow for greater depth of placement. Contact a qualified foundation repair specialist to determine the cause of your repair issues and prevent further foundation damage.

Chris Cates, Olshan Subject Matter Expert

Chris Cates

Chris has been in the foundation repair industry since the late 80’s. He has 40+ years of experience designing foundation repairs plans of all types and sizes. Chris' work and expertise has been featured in the local Houston media several times, including appearances on the CW39 News, Click 2 Houston News, ABC 13 News, The Sealy News and The Houston Business Journal. Chris' important work in research and development, played an integral role in the development of a patented repair method (US Patent #10,428,516 B2) designed to stabilize damaged tilt walls. Chris Cates is recognized as an innovator in the industry both locally and nationally.