For most people, purchasing a home is the biggest investment they’ll make in their whole lives. That’s why it’s essential to inspect the property you want to purchase thoroughly before making a long-term commitment.
Meeting the Customers and Our Initial Inspection
This project came about as a result of one such inspection during a real estate deal. The inspector noticed a slight, ½” lean in the chimney, which is indicative of problems with the foundation itself.
Our team met with the seller’s agent on site in Florence, SC, located 80 miles east of Columbia, SC, and proposed a solution to the leaning chimney problem. We recommended the installation of two push piers and left the agent with a quote for the job. The agent said he would take the quote to the seller and get back to us.
There are many reasons a tilting chimney can come about. Some of them are indicative of problems with the chimney itself. It’s usually one of the heaviest pieces of a home and it can bend and lean under its own weight. In other, more serious cases, a chimney problem can indicate that the whole property is leaning and that the issue is with the foundation itself.
This was the case here and our inspector caught the problem right away. Luckily, the foundation repair necessary was relatively simple and required only two push piers to be installed. It’s also better for the repair to be completed before the new owners move in.
Repairing the Damage
When there is urgency with foundation repairs, the signs that something should have been done appeared at least years ago. However, in this case, the goal was to secure the chimney as soon as possible so that the property can be sold right away.
The site was a one-story home built in 1978, and the chimney appears to have settled a half-inch. Our team recommended the installation of two push piers to solve the problem, paving the way for a new family to move in as soon as the sale is completed.
A push pier system is made out of steel piers that are pushed into the soil beneath a property to permanently stabilize and potentially lift it up. It’s inserted using heavy-duty brackets and only after some of the soil is removed from the area around the home.
There are mechanisms involved that are there to prevent the pier from breaking or bending over time. The material from which the piers are made is also chosen carefully so that it isn’t affected by moisture and doesn’t corrode over time.
The first step in installing a steel pier is to remove the soil and expose the foundation footing. Next, a push pier bracket is installed.
Our team then undertook the following:
- Installed a friction-reduction collar to reduce skin friction
- Placed an external sleeve to reinforce the steel just below the bracket to protect the integrity of the steel from bending forces
- Drove galvanized steel piers to the necessary depts based on pressure readings
- Attempted lift
The weight of the home is then transferred through the push piers to the bedrock and this will prevent any further leaning of the chimney.
The soil is then backfilled and the chimney is stabilized in the new position and it will remain so for years to come.
When the job was done our team finished a final check-up to confirm how the process affected the property in its entirety and not just the chimney on which the problem was noticeable.
This includes checking:
- Stucco cracks
- Drywall cracks
- Sloped floors
- The chimney itself
Sometimes the change can be noticed visually as was the case with the chimney, but sometimes measurements are taken before and after to make sure.
When Does This Solution Work?
There are other pier systems out there and which one to use depends on the type of soil beneath the foundation of a home. In Florence, SC, most homes lay on a solid bedrock that supports the weight of the home once a pier is used to transfer its weight to it.
A lot also depends on the weight of the structure being lifted. Less heavy helical piers could be used to support a smaller structure.
Our team found common ground with both the seller and their agent during this real estate deal in Florence, SC, and completed the project quickly and in a way that met the needs of the new owners for years to come. If you’re selling a home, make sure to call us and get a free inspection, so that you can fix these sorts of problems before finding a potential buyer.