There are several types of piles and different ways to push them into the ground. The stabilization of existing buildings on piles has existed in Quebec since 1980, when a few entrepreneurs began developing planting techniques like hydraulic piles and more recently the helical screw piles.
When the time comes to choose a technique over another, avoid certain errors.
For many homeowners, the cost of the work is the determining factor in choosing a contractor for the stabilization of their home. A dishonest entrepreneur will also use price as a determining factor and install low cost piles that do not stabilize foundations.
The truthful entrepreneur will always use hydraulic piles as it remains the only technique that will guarantee the stability of an existing building. The screw piles may seem cheaper initially but understand that they are not able to take the load of concrete foundations. We must not forget that the screw piles can only be used in specific cases, such as the stabilization of a gallery or a shed for example.
The screw piles should never be used to stabilize the existing building with concrete foundations (see photo 2).
Hydraulic piles are the only ones able to withstand such loads.
Here’s an example:
A couple is building a house. During the construction, installation of the kitchen cabinets, the contractor realizes that the house is sinking. Floors, windows and doors are not level. It’s so crooked that he can not continue the work. He noted the home was sinking 2 inches. He advised the owners to call an expert in piles. They sign a contract and undertake to straighten and stabilize their new home. After the home has been piled, the house construction resumes. The contractor finds that the home continues to sink. New cracks appear and the house is more crooked than before the piles were installed! The house now has a 3-inch slump. The owners call the pile contractor who no longer can be located by any means. They will learn that the “expert” entrepreneur had used screw piles. These type of piles should never be used to stabilize concrete foundations. Yet an engineer had put his signature on the plans.
Results: The couple went bankrupt and the house was foreclosed. The franchisee entrepreneur declared bankruptcy and, the franchisor of screw piles meanwhile still exists …. Screw piles never were made/designed to be installed to support heavy loads and a complaint to the Order of Engineers will not restore your home! (see photos)