Bell Bottom piers were developed many decades ago to level and stabilize foundation movement in slab-on- grade type concrete foundations. Custom homes in the Houston area are often built with bell bottom piers to begin with, and referred to as ‘Builders Piers’.
The process of installing bell bottom piers begins with a soil test to determine the depth of the load bearing clay that will support the structure. Once the depth is known, Engineers then calculate the weight of the structure and how large to make the belled portion of the pier. Of the various sizes available, 12 inch diameter shafts with 36 inch bells are the preferred size, usually to a depth of 12 – 15 feet.
Once the pier shafts and bells are excavated, steel rebar is installed in the shafts, and concrete is poured. The curing time is usually 2 – 3 weeks, if it doesn’t rain and fill the holes. Once the concrete is cured, crews return to level and stabilize the foundation structure.
Bell Bottom piers are excellent at preventing uplift or heaving, and in areas where soil conditions require drilling instead of pushing. They are also used extensively for light-weight structures such as wing walls and porches.
Vulcan’s Certified Foundation Repair Specialist (CFRS) will explain how bell bottom piers work in more detail, and leave a written diagram.
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