townhomes

How Helical Piers Can Provide Foundation Support For Townhomes

In Helical Piers, Residential Blog Posts by John Topa

Helical Piers are Excellent for Supporting the Foundations of Townhomes

When discussing the problematic Florida soil and its effects on foundation construction, most people think about single-family homes. However, commercial buildings, multi-story buildings, and townhomes also deal with similar issues. Specialists explain that helical piers could be excellent options for foundation repair in Tampa, Naples, Ft. Myers, Orlando, and beyond.

Homeowners Know What Cracks in a Foundation Mean

Condominium owners, townhome owners, mansion owners, and anyone who owns a home know that cracks in the walls are bad news.

Foundation Issues in Townhome Construction

townhomes

When a townhome is constructed, the structure’s weight is designed to be distributed to several walls. You have undoubtedly heard of walls that cannot be altered in later renovations because they are load-bearing. It is important to note that a townhouse consists of a building with multiple floors but shares one or more walls with neighboring units.

Because of how these multi-story buildings are set up, foundation problems can affect you – even if your neighbor has the problem.

Wall ownership. You own the interior and exterior portions of your unit. This is different from a condominium, where you only own the unit’s interior.
Engineering. The construction of row houses, which is another term for townhomes, makes foundation problems likely to affect multiple residents.

Does Your – or Your Neighbor’s – Townhome Have Foundation Issues?

Are you noticing hairline cracks in the load-bearing walls between units? Are they getting bigger? If your townhouse is a corner unit, you may notice an exterior wall crack that goes around a corner. Other telltale signs include slanting floors and baseboards that no longer align with the ground.

Florida soil does not discriminate between single-family houses, commercial buildings, and townhomes. The ground your home is sitting on typically contains sand, clay, and silt in varying quantities. Rain and the absence of rain determine how this ground will support the structures that sit on it.

Problems are most associated with soils that expand and contract. Certain soils can support well with moisture shifts but could be subject to erosion. Therefore, it may not be able to carry the weight of the townhome. When working with a foundation professional, a soil test is always a good first step.

Helical Piers are the Construction Response to Ground That is Shifting

Helical piers have proven themselves excellent ground stabilizers for Florida structures. Specialists hydraulically “screw” the piers into the ground, which allows them to combine in support of your townhome’s foundation. What makes them ideal for this task is the ability to transfer much of the structure’s weight to the steel construction that reaches deep into the ground.

The advantages of helical piers as a foundation repair solution are clear.
Minimally Invasive

Even though there is a good chance that we need to involve your neighbor to access some of their foundations, too, the actual hydraulic drilling displaces very little soil. Therefore, your home will not look like a construction zone.

Convenient

Whenever you have someone do work on a townhome’s structural integrity, the homeowner is asked to leave. With helical piers, this is not necessary. You, and your neighbor, are welcome to stay in the home.

A Real Fix

Helical piers are not a cosmetic fix. Rather, they repair the actual problem whether your soil is in Tampa, Naples, Ft. Myers, or Orlando. Therefore, we recommend not making any patches to the cracks until foundation repair specialists fix the structure.

Prevent Foundation Problems in Townhomes Before They Happen in the First Place

Construction industry insiders have found that adding extra support to foundations is a great way to build. Most importantly, helical piers are a fantastic pre-construction solution for the task.

Constructing with Helical Piers is a Smart Choice

There is now a movement within the construction industry to anticipate the shifting Florida soils. Even if your sand to clay ratio looks good, some contractors suggest building townhomes and other structures with helical piers in place. Because the piers have a long shaft that wedges into the structurally sound portion of the ground, it may be possible to avoid problems.

Engineers have an excellent idea of how much weight the various piers will take on. When weight is measured in kilo pounds, this knowledge is essential for preventing foundation problems before they start.

Adding Foundation Protection to the Construction Phase of Your Townhome Development Has Three Advantages

Save the client money. If you know that the soil in the location might be questionable, it is good practice to offer the client the choice of having your firm use helical piers during construction. It shows them that you think long-term and put their ability to sell the development first.

Allow for larger builds. When the architect envisions a row of multi-story townhomes, but the soil sample threatens to upend this vision, the addition of the helical pier system could be what saves the project. Since it is now possible to calculate the exact load-bearing details of the individual piers, you decide ahead of time how many you need to support the structures

Affordable. Construction firms might worry that the addition of helical piers will add too much to a bid. This is not the case. For starters, consider that the average helical setup will last considerably longer than a century. Offset this level of durability with the money your company saves on having to send out crews later to repair shifting foundations.

Making an Informed Decision

If you are a general contractor and think of having our foundation repair company, come out as a preventative measure, you may be surprised to learn that the process is easy to streamline into the overall building process. In addition, if you are a homeowner, you know that we will gladly come out and give you a bid on what it takes to stop the townhome from shifting further.