Serving Michigan and Northern Indiana

Stabilizing a Sinking Hillside Home

When our customer first called last fall, they knew there was a problem. The foundation of their home had a horizontal crack running all the way across one wall, and their deck was sinking. Adding to the complication was that the house was on a hill, and any case of uneven ground can make shifting soil more difficult to predict. After we performed our inspection, we determined that a series of push piers were needed to stabilize that back wall of the foundation and prevent further sinking. Our customer put off the work because of other projects that needed to be done. Luckily, when they called us in the summer, their house had not fallen down the hill – which sounds dramatic but is a very real possibility when you’re dealing with foundation problems – but it had continued to shift and sink. In addition to the original piering required to stabilize the house, we added piers to secure the deck and one additional to the foundation wall to accommodate for further shifting. Because of the location and layout of the house, the general contractor working on multiple projects in the home had to essentially create an access road for us. This is rare, but in this case was necessary for us to be able to get the excavating equipment safely into position. After excavating to the footing of the foundation wall, we installed retrofit foundation brackets to attach to the piers. The depth needed to install the piers was calculated at about 20 feet. This can change during installation, as sometimes our project manager discovers that even at that depth the soil isn’t reliably stable. This job was as predicted though, so the piers were installed as planned and anchored to the foundation. Piers work by anchoring in stable soil (hence the depth) and attaching to the foundation of the home. This allows us to effectively shift the weight of the house from the soil to the piers, which are secured in soil that isn’t shifting. Once the piers were installed and secured, we replaced the excavated soil to restore the perimeter of the home. The home that, from now on, will not be settling or shifting or potentially falling down a hill. It’s easy to put off foundation repair work – which you generally can’t see – in favor of more visible projects that give you “bang for your buck” like new windows or a new deck. But what good is it replacing cosmetic peripherals of your home if the foundation collapses?