Helical piers: what are they and what do they do?

Industry experts say that helical piers are the best solution for most home and business foundation repairs, but not everyone knows what they are, what they do, or why they work better than older foundation repair methods.

Here’s a quick rundown to help you decide if they’ll work for you.

helical pier vertical imageThe word “helix” has different meanings depending on whether you’re talking about science or construction. For our purposes, it’s just a fancy name for a spiral shape that’s formed around a central core. Helical piers are earth anchoring devices made for deep foundation support. To qualify as a true helical pier, it’s got to have three defining parts:

  1. a termination point at the top that connects to the structure you want to support
  2. a central shaft that distributes load to the bearing plates
  3. at least one helical bearing plate (usually several) to distribute load to the soil

This simplicity is one key trait that makes helical piers work so well. They’re backed with 100 years of engineering experience to give you the best load-bearing advantages, with the least disruption to your property. The ones we use, manufactured in the United States by A.B. Chance, are certified to meet ISO 9000 international quality standards, and they comply with all national building codes. This means you can install them with complete peace of mind.

So why are helical piers a better choice than old-school foundation repair methods like driven piles, cast-in-place concrete piers? For one thing, because they’re precision-designed steel, you can load them immediately without having to wait for concrete to cure. The helical shape of the bearing plates make installation fast and easy, and they don’t require the costly and extreme excavation needed to drill and place concrete piles under your structure.

Choose helical piers when:

  • You want durable, efficient foundation repair at a lower total cost
  • You’re concerned about the environmental impact of the materials you use
  • You want to avoid unnecessary excavation on your property
  • You have access restrictions that make heavy equipment impractical
  • You have a high water table or weak surface soils like the variable types in Alabama
  • You need assurance that your repair will be able to resist wind or seismic forces

Advantages of Helical Piers for homes & businesses

One of the biggest advantages of helical piers, especially for Birmingham area property owners, is that they create almost no visible soil disturbance. When you use the kind of industrial auger you need to install a concrete pier, the auger blades mix and loosen the surrounding soil, creating more instability around your foundation. In contrast, the helical bearing plates are designed to glide into place and transfer structural loads to deeper, more stable soil layers.

Another good reason to choose helical piers is flexibility. When you work with the right installer, they’ll be able to advise you on the right configuration to deal with variations in Alabama soil. The load-bearing considerations might change depending on whether your property sits on clay, loam, or a mix of the state’s 21 other soil types. Helical piers can be easily field modified and grouped for light, medium, or heavy loads, depending on the extent of the repairs you need.

Finally, because helical piers are environmentally friendly, they’ve become a preferred solution for sensitive areas like protected wetlands and forests. In Alabama, you’ll often find them underneath the boardwalks and walkways that allow people to access our natural wonders without disturbing habitats for plant and animal life.

Get a Free Helical Pier quote

We’d be happy to talk with you about helical piers and whether they might be the right choice for your property. If you think you might be dealing with foundation problems, give us a call and we’ll arrange for a trained technician to give you a free assessment – no pressure and no obligation. You might be pleasantly surprised to learn how affordable foundation repair can be.

Cook Springs, AL | Small House with sunlight image| Air Quality

Ways in Which Poor Indoor Air Quality is Affecting Your Health

Is the air your breathing causing you harm? Many Americans are in danger of suffering lasting health effects because of the air in their homes. This is because the indoor air quality of their homes is actually quite poor. Considering that most people spend 90 percent of their time inside buildings, the state of the indoor air quality of these buildings is important.

There are various toxins in air including airborne particles, ozone, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde as well as odors and various gases. These pollutants come from cleaning products, paint and solvent fumes, building materials, furnishings and other household items.

Health effects of poor indoor air quality

Air pollutants can have lasting effects on our health. Poor air quality can cause:

1. Weight gain

Are you eating healthy and still packing on pounds? Is calorie counting not working for you? Your fluctuations in weight could be the result of indoor air pollution. When our bodies’ natural pathways are overloaded with toxins, our bodies react by gaining weight.

Cook Springs, AL | Indoor Air Quality Image

2. Asthma

According to the World Health Organization, up to 30 percent of respiratory diseases are caused by exposure to poor indoor air. This is understandable, because we are exposed to these toxic agents every day just by inhaling the air where it exists in many areas of our homes, from the kitchen to the basement. You can protect your household by ensuring that the air in your home is free of pollutants and disease causing agents by investing in a quality indoor air purifier.

3. Depression

While depression is often associated with genetics or events in a person’s life, it can also be the result of toxins in the air. Studies have shown a correlation between long term exposure to toxins in the air and depression. You can reduce the severity of your depression by getting rid of the pollutants in the air.

4. Allergies

More people in America suffer from allergies today than in the past. One of the main reasons for this is the higher levels of toxins in indoor air. These pollutants trigger allergic reactions such as sneezing, headaches, skin rashes, swelling, fatigue and a runny nose.

Getting rid of these allergens will help to protect your household from developing allergies.

Ensuring clean indoor air

While you may rely on your HVAC to filter out particulates in the air, it is not adequate for getting rid of gases as well as microscopic agents. It is best to invest in a system that will help to cycle air in your home to ensure fresh air in the house.


Crawl Space | SouthernDry Waterproofing

Crawl Space Waterproofing – 4 Reasons Why You Should Have Your Crawl Space Inspected

Are you in need of crawl space waterproofing services? Many owners of homes with crawlspaces are not aware that they need these services until the damage to their homes is extensive. Identifying moisture issues in your crawl space is a great way to ensure that you can catch moisture problems early. Regular crawl space inspections will help you identify these issues.

The following are some ways that crawl space inspections can help.

  1. It will ensure that your crawl space remains clean and dry

The crawl space is not a space that is frequently explored by the residents of any home. Moisture problems in these spaces are therefore likely to go without notice. They are often noticed when the problem is in advanced stages.

Regular inspections can help to identify moisture problems in the early stages of development. A professional can identify the subtle and less obvious signs of a moisture problem and help you seek solutions. This ensures that the crawl space remains clean and dry.

  1. It will help you find out the true reason behind the tilting floor

There are many reasons why homes develop tilting floors. Sagging floors can be hazardous. They can cause people to trip and fall. Severely weakened floors can even result in people or furniture tumbling right through them.

Reinforcer | SouthernDry Waterproofing


One of the most common causes of tilting floors in homes with crawl spaces is moisture problems in the crawl space. An inspection of the space can help you determine whether this is the case in your home. This ensures that you can apply an efficient solution.

  1. It will help you determine the cause of the cracking dry wall or plaster

Are you struggling with repeatedly repairing cracking of plaster or dry wall in your home? The solution to your problem may be in your crawl pace. An inspection of your crawl space may reveal problems such as the shifting of the soil beneath the home. This may be causing your walls to shift and the dry wall or plaster to crack.

  1. It will help to reveal termite infestations

A termite problem can result in damage to the structure of your home. These insects have a preference for damp and rotting timber. It therefore won’t help to perform a termite treatment if you have an underlying water problem. An inspection will not only reveal the infestation but also the water problem. This will ensure you invest in crawl space waterproofing to help prevent a repeat infestation.