Monday, June 17th, 2013 by Brad Wazlavek
Foundation repair is not all about big equipment and heavy machines.
When DryZone installs a push pier or helical pier system there is often a need for heavy machinery, but what about crawlspace support work? We can’t exactly drive an excavator under the house. Crawlspace support work, like a SmartJack system, is done entirely by hand.
The DryZone crew will dig a massive hole for each SmartJack to be used as a footer. Try to imagine the difficulty of being flat on your belly with a small shovel and digging a hole around 2 feet deep. The first time I witnessed this, I was totally impressed with the men doing it. Digging each footer took them far less time then it would’ve taken me, and the holes looked far better too. But digging the hole is only the first part of the job.
After the holes are dug, they need to bring in the stone to build the footer. DryZone uses engineered fill to make each SmartJack footer. Engineered fill is basically crushed stone that compacts nicely and doesn’t loosen a lot after the job is done. It requires less time then a concrete footer, since there is no need to let it dry. All that stone has to be brought into the crawlspace, and there is no way to get a wheelbarrow in there. They use small trays and hand trowels to bring the stone under the house. They aren’t done yet, now they have to compact all that stone. DryZone uses small jackhammers that have a compacting bit attached. These machines smash the stone done and vibrate the footer in order to fill most of the empty space. Finally the footer is done.
After that long and tiring process, they install the actual jacks. Its strange to think that cutting steel pipe and jacking up a house would seem like the easy part. The important thing to remember is that these SmartJacks are very labor intense, but also very much worth the effort. Anyone can slap some temporary jacks under a home, but the SmartJack system is built to last for a longtime.
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