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Monthly Archives: April 2017

All about Helical Piers

A helical pier is truly a very flexible and versatile tool. It has many uses and does its job well; it’s easy to use and predictable. It functions reliably as it should without negative side effects. Additionally, new uses are being found for this wonderful tool all the time.

Helical piles are a great long-term solution. If a retaining wall or basement wall is tipping, for example, the installation of helical piers can stop the movement and possibly even pull the wall back toward being straight.

These flexible foundation tools have many uses. If a foundation is needed but the soil will not support a traditional spread footing, a helical can be pre-installed. When the concrete footing or grade beam is poured on top of the pier, the concrete will be stable and able to hold the load of the new structure.

Additionally, helical piers can be used in interesting ways, including use:

  • As tie-downs for signs that need wind overturn resistance
  • As resistance for guy wires
  • As lateral resistance to prevent down-hill sliding
  • As a method of soil stabilization
  • As soil nails
  • As building support over water sites such as a boat garage
  • As temporary supports in applications where the pier must be removed after the work is complete

Helical piers are installed using hydraulic pressure in a very unobtrusive way, creating absolutely no vibrations or loud noises. The installation process does not make an unsightly and costly mess, and the piers are almost always non-visible in the finished state. They can be installed in the tightest of conditions accurately and quickly by using hand-held motors. Both the correct position of the piers and the required angles of installation are easy to achieve.

The hydraulic pressures are monitored and used to indicate precisely the achieved capacity of the pier. Because of this, installers can be confident that required loads are achieved without unnecessary additional material costs, but also assures them that there is enough bearing.

There are many sizes of helical piles and various helical plate combinations. This allows installers to match load requirements and soil conditions, as well as any access limitations, with a minimum amount of difficulty.

Tips Manage Flooded Basement

A basement flood can vary from a few centimeters of water to knee height or more. It depends on what causes the flood. As with any flood damage you want to remove the water as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of mold and any further damage to the property.

When you head down to the basement and notice that the area is flooded, it’s understandable that you go into complete panic mode. But try and keep a cool head, there is a lot that needs to be done to reduce the risk of further damage.

Start by turning off any power that leads to the basement. Maybe you use the basement for laundry or you’ve converted it to a home office, whatever you use your basement for, you want to turn off the power straight away. Everyone knows that electricity and water don’t mix.

With the power turned off you can venture into the waters below. Be careful where you step and remove any items that are completely free of water damage. Boxes, photographs, furniture, basically anything that has no water damage should be removed from the area as quickly as possible.

When you head back down take towel or cloth with you. Any smaller items that are slightly damp, but can be saved, should be wiped dry before removing them from the flooded basement.

Larger items that are soaked or slightly wet, should be wiped down as best as possible and moved to a dry location with plenty of air ventilation to help them dry. The sooner they start drying out the risk of mold is reduced. Remember not all items will be salvageable.

Once you have cleared your flooded basement it’s time to start removing all the water. A light flood can be cleaned up within an hour or two, but deeper floods can take a day or more.

Start by removing all the water, you may get away with a mop and bucket for small floods, but larger ones may require the entire family getting involved, carrying buckets of water out of the basement.

With the water removed it’s time to mop the area to get any excess water out of the space. As you probably know water can cause mold and some mold can cause serious health consequences. It’s important that you ventilate the area as quickly as possible.

Not all basements have windows that can be flung open to allow air flow, chances are you will need to collect as many fans as you can, placing them around the flooded basement and allowing them to circulate the air and get the drying process started.

As the flooded basement dries, it’s your chance to determine what caused the flood in the first place. Is there a space in the corner where the rain is getting through? Did the washing machine leak when it was draining? Is the water coming from a burst water pipe either inside or outside of the property?

If you are unsure on what caused the flooded basement, it’s advisable to get a team of professionals in to check the cause, so it can be repaired quickly and reduce this risk of this happening in the future.

If after a day you notice your basement isn’t drying out even with fans going and the window open, you may want to call in a professional team that can dry the area for you to reduce problems in the future.

Fibreglass Insulation In Cellar

1. Ruined by water and moisture

Much like a sponge, fibreglass absorbs water and humidity. As a result, it can become saturated with moisture via basement flooding, water leaking through walls, or simply from the high humidity levels that occur in this below-grade space.

2. Sagging and falling down

Wet fibreglass loses nearly all of its insulating value. Adding moisture to fibreglass transforms a light, fluffy material into a heavy material that sags, compresses and often falls out of place. Fibreglass batt insulation installed between ceiling joists in a cellar or basement often ends up on the floor if it gets wet.

3. Supports mould growth

It’s not rocket science to figure out that before too long, wet fibreglass is going to encourage mould and mildew growth, which is very bad news for your health. Mold growth that originates in fibreglass insulation can eventually lead to wood rot in nearby structural lumber, which can threaten the building’s structural integrity.

4. Air circulation

Fibreglass insulation can’t stop air circulation. So the insulation does nothing to stop air leaks that occur around cellar windows and around the perimeter of the cellar or basement. Fibreglass insulation does nothing to stop cold, damp air from leaking into the basement and up into the living space above.

5. Compression and settling

Over time, fibreglass insulation can settle and/or compress. This significantly reduces its insulating effectiveness (referred to as ‘R-value,’ for Resistance to heat transfer). In older fibreglass insulation, the R-value will drop as the insulation settles or compacts. Whether installed in wood-framed walls or between joists, fibreglass batts compress easily and are prone to falling out of place. This not only creates a mess; it also renders the insulation all but useless.

Helical Pier Usage

Now this is getting creative. Do you see how one idea leads to more? Posts support many second-story sunrooms. Helicals can support them vertically or tie them back horizontally. Tiebacks lead to other uses. Basement walls often get pushed in by backfill, hydrostatic pressure, freezing, etc. Tie them back with helicals. The same holds true with retaining walls, which include wood as well as concrete and block. Sheet piles, often for industrial uses, can be tied back to keep the soil from collapsing or pushing over the sheet pile.

Temporary walls or walls in construction often need tieback support to resist wind loads during the building process. Consider a retaining wall at the water. Tiebacks can bring true stability during flood times. Speaking of water, how about a boat garage foundation support? Posts for docks are an option also. Helical piers are commonly used on boardwalks. They support the abutments for bridges. Helical piers can be used to suspend utility pipes from sinking or floating in poor soil conditions. They can hold the buildings and other items while adjacent work is completed.

That is not the end of the list, but it goes to show that sometimes a little creativity can expand a good solution like helical piles into a far-reaching fix for all types of problems. If you install piles, get creative! If you’re a contractor needing a helical pier expert, be sure to find one with experience using helical piers in all types of applications. You’ll find that expertise and creativity are a winning combination for a helical pier installer.