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Project Overview

After the church trustees weighed their options, they were eager to move forward with the recommended repairs from Foundation Recovery Systems.

An installation crew from Foundation Recovery Systems’ Kansas City branch then executed this project of installing seven Helical Piles. The crew first excavated around the building, and then down 3-4' to access the foundation footing. The seven round shaft galvanized steel Helical Piles were then installed 17’ into the ground and down to more stable soil to better support the church building.

In addition to the piles, the crew repaired the buried downspout and footing drain in the work area. The crew said the exterior drain system was a unique installation, but it was successfully completed in order to divert gutter water away from the foundation.  The project was completed in (3) working days.

The maintenance supervisor and other trustees were satisfied with the outcome of the project and are pleased to have a safe and stable church building for parishioners and their families.

Foundation Recovery Systems Installs Several Helical Piles to Stabilize a Cracking, Settling Church Foundation in St. Joseph, MO

by Holly Richards-Purpura

Foundation Recovery Systems

1401 US-24

Moberly, MO 65270


About Foundation Settlement

Safety and structural integrity are important in maintaining any kind of building. No matter what kind of structure you have – a residential home, a commercial business, a place of worship, etc. – any building constructed on top of soil has the potential to settle.

Foundation settlement is normal, but this common occurrence is something you must pay attention to. Typical signs you’ll notice in a settling building include a variety of wall cracks, diagonal drywall cracks, cracks from corners of windows and doors, sticking windows and doors, uneven or sloping floors, and even a chimney that is cracking and pulling away from the rest of the structure.

Why do these problems happen? There could be various reasons for settlement and its signs and symptoms, but the common denominator is the soil on which a structure was built. Settlement happens when the soil under and around a structure consolidates, expands, heaves, and can no longer support the weight of the building.

There are numerous kinds of soil throughout the country and the globe, but three basic ingredients – sand, silt, and clay, or a combination of any or all of these – contribute to soil types and their textures.

There are numerous kinds of soil throughout the country and the globe, but three basic ingredients – sand, silt, and clay, or a combination of any or all of these – contribute to soil types and their textures. Sand typically drains water quickly, silt soils have intermediate drainage properties, and clay tends to hold onto water. Different soils are considered desirable for building, but they are not immune from problems like settlement.

Seeking Assistance with Foundation Problems

The maintenance supervisor and trustee of a church in St. Joseph, MO, noticed an interior concrete block wall had stair stepping cracks and he did not want the issue to worsen. He contacted Foundation Recovery Systems after seeing an ad in a local newspaper, and he met with one of the company’s certified field inspectors for a free foundation inspection and estimate.

The inspector conducted a thorough assessment of the church building. The original structure was built in 1905, but a few additions have been made since then. Along with the interior cracking, the inspector also noticed a variety of other cracks on both interior and exterior walls, as well as slightly sloping floors. Using a laser level, the inspector measured 2-3" of settlement along the north side of the building in areas where additional sections were attached to the existing structure.

During the inspection, the maintenance supervisor alerted the inspector that he believed the drain line that runs under the building and exits under the settled corner was leaking and caused the building to settle. A plumber previously scoped the line and found that it was blocked and had broken. The inspector also took this into consideration.

To prevent the historic building and its additional sections from settling any further or sustaining more damage, the inspector proposed the installation of several Helical Piles underneath the problematic north wall and northeast corner. Helical Piles are installed deep into the ground to more stable soil in order to permanently stabilize the settling structure.