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A Bell Bottom Pier Will Reinforce Your Damaged Foundation

Foundations can be damaged in many ways, and there are nearly as many methods used to repair them. The team at Accurate Foundation Repair is skilled in numerous foundation repair methods and can determine which option is best for each situation. One of the ways we use to fix common problems with slab foundations is called the drilled bell bottom pier. This method reinforces the damaged portion of the foundation and returns the structure to a stable state. Our team will be able to look at the current state of your foundation and assess whether a bell bottom pier is an appropriate way to fix it. Please reach out to us today to learn more or to request an inspection.

worker inspecting stair cracks

What is a Drilled Bell Bottom Pier?

A bell bottom pier is a type of vertical support structure used to support concrete slab foundations. This repair method is named after the shape of the base when completed, which is wide at the bottom, resembling a bell. In this repair process, a hole is excavated in the ground underneath the foundation and filled with wet concrete, which is reinforced with steel rebar and left to cure. This produces a very stable base to which a vertical support pier can be connected, providing the necessary reinforcement for the failing slab foundation. It is an excellent repair option for slab foundations that are sinking, heaving, or otherwise damaged.

How a Bell Bottom Pier Supports Your Foundation

Slab foundations are a popular choice because they are easy to construct and are often very affordable. However, slab foundations also come with their drawbacks. Because they are placed directly on top of the ground, they are very susceptible to shifting soil, leading to cracking, sinking, and other damage. When your slab foundation becomes damaged, you need a method to reinforce it and restore stability. A drilled bell-bottom pier will provide this extra support. The “bell” or foot of the pier provides a broad base that sits atop a solid surface. We’ll use our skill to find the appropriate load-bearing strata on which to place the bell. The wide base is then reinforced further with rebar. The bell, along with the concrete pier, provides enough support to lift the foundation back into place and prevent it from sinking or heaving any more.

shovel and hard hat by dirt

When is a Bell Bottom Pier Needed?

As previously mentioned, foundations, especially slab foundations, can be damaged in numerous ways. One of the most common causes of foundation damage is shifting soil. The unsteadiness of soil and its tendency to expand or contract with weather changes makes it a problem for slab foundations. All of this movement can eventually cause issues that need to be addressed. No matter how your foundation became damaged, our team is here to provide the repairs you need. A bell bottom pier may be required if:

  • Your Foundation is Cracked: Concrete requires a stable surface to remain strong. Unfortunately, the ground around our homes doesn’t always offer that. Over time, soil can shift and force parts of your foundation up or down, resulting in cracks.
  • Your Foundation is Sinking: As the soil shifts around your home, it may sink, which means your foundation now has nothing to rest on and will sink along with the soil. This can make your entire home sink and cause stability problems.
  • Your Foundation is Lifting: Excess moisture, heat, and cold can all cause the soil around your home to expand. As this occurs, it can push your foundation up, causing it to heave or even crack.

Installation Process of a Bell Bottom Pier

At Accurate Foundation Repair, we use a tried-and-true method to install bell bottom piers and reinforce your slab foundation. The process is relatively simple but will require us to dig up the area surrounding your home. While we understand that this can be an inconvenience, we also know that it is necessary to provide your home with the stability it needs to stand tall. To give you a better idea of what to expect during the process of installing a bell bottom pier, we’ve broken it down into steps:

  • Soil Testing: We begin the process by testing the soil to find the load-bearing strata, which is the layer of soil that is stable and solid to support the weight of the home. Often, this is located at a depth of 15 feet.
  • Manual Digging: To ensure the safety of your home, we must begin the digging process manually at the surface. Our team will dig along the home’s foundation until we reach a depth that is safe enough for motorized drilling.
  • Motorized Drilling: With the expertise of a two-person team, we use a specialized drilling tool to create a shaft that reaches the load-bearing strata underneath your home.
  • Digging of Bell Base: Once we reach stable soil, we’ll begin digging the bell bottom made famous in this method . We use a “belling tool” to complete this process. The tool features flanges that extend to either side and remove dirt and then pull it to the surface. The flanges dig wider than the original shaft, creating the bell-shaped bottom with a wide base, giving the pier extra stability.
  • Pour Concrete/Place Rebar: We then fill the bell bottom and shaft with wet concrete that is reinforced with steel rebar. The concrete is leveled at the top and left to cure. Once fully completed, this method will provide the support your foundation needs.

Contact Us for More Information

Are you concerned about the stability of your slab foundation? If you have noticed any issues with your foundation, like cracking, heaving, or sinking, now is the time to act. Foundation issues are not something you want to ignore and put off until later, as the longer you wait, the more damage that can be done. We encourage you to reach out to our team and let our experts take a look. We’ll be able to assess the current state of your foundation and determine which method will best reinforce it. Contact us today to schedule an inspection.

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