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Groundworks Company Installs Helical Piles to Stabilize, Protect Settling Home Near Winston-Salem, NC

by Holly Richards-Purpura

No matter how long a building has been standing – from nine months to nine years to 90 years – all structures have the potential to sustain damage. Vigilance is key, as is using proper methods to repair and protect the building. That’s why when a homeowner started to notice potential structural problems, she reached out for professional assistance right away to address the issues before they got out of hand.

Seeking Expert Advice for Foundation Problems

A homeowner in Mebane, NC, approximately 60 miles east of Winston-Salem, has lived in her house only for a few years, moving in not long after it was built in 2017. During that short time, some issues have appeared around the property, namely the back of the house. These included wall cracks and uneven concrete slab floors.

The owner said this is the last home she plans to buy, and she wanted to protect it and ensure its safety and stability for her family. After seeing an ad on TV for Tar Heel Basement Systems, a local Groundworks company serving the area, she wanted to contact the company to see how it may be able to help her and her home. Groundworks is the nation’s largest privately held foundation services company.

An inspector from the local company visited the property to provide a free assessment and repair estimate. Along with the problems the homeowner reported, the inspector also measured approximately 1” of differential settlement along the back of the home.

What’s Behind Some Foundation Issues

Foundation settlement can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most common cause is unstable soil underneath a structure. Soil can become unstable due to excessive saturation, dryness and shrinking, or poor compaction.

The home was built on top of silty clay and clay loam soil, which is often problematic for buildings, especially when combined with the area’s frequent soaking rains. The property also had a gentle slope to it, and the localized settlement could be the result of improper foundation drainage affecting the soil and foundation, as well as undersized footings.

Determining the Best Foundation Repair Solutions

Every structure and its foundation is different and requires its own unique set of repairs. The inspector with the local Groundworks company understood this and was well-versed in the challenges homes in the area face.

There is a variety of options for addressing foundation settlement, including an array of foundation piles. The inspector recommended the installation of several helical piles underneath the settling portion of the home. Helical piles are ideal to use to stabilize lighter structures built on top of problematic, expansive clay soils.

The inspector also suggested stabilizing the concrete slab floors near the back of the house with polyurethane injections. This repair method is much more effective and reliable than its predecessor of mudjacking for the purpose of concrete lifting and stabilization.

The homeowner agreed to proceed with this plan, and two installation crews with the local Groundworks company – one for the pile installation and one for the polyurethane injection project – completed the project in four working days

Installation Project Overview

The foundation repair team began by first excavating areas outside the home where the helical piles would be installed, digging down to access the bottom of the 6” thick footer. A total of 7 helical piles with a 2 7/8 inch diameter pipe and a 10” and 12” diameter helix configuration was hydraulically installed in the ground using a Pro-Dig X9K5 drivehead. Each pile was driven down 15’ with a minimum installation pressure of 1000 psi. No lift was attempted once all the piles were installed, but they will permanently reinforce the foundation where they were installed to protect against any further settlement.

A second crew then worked to further reinforce the concrete slab floor inside the home near the settling section with polyurethane injections. They also used the material to stabilize the garage, sidewalk, driveway, and front entryway to further enhance the property’s safety and stability.

About Groundworks

Groundworks®, headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, is the nation’s leading and fastest-growing foundation and water management solutions company. Groundworks Companies provide residential foundation and water management solutions including foundation repair, basement waterproofing, crawl space repair and encapsulation, plumbing, gutter installation, and concrete lifting services. Since 1975, the combined companies have helped nearly 1.5 million homeowners protect and repair their most valuable asset, their home. Groundworks operates more than 40 offices and has been named numerous times to the Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Companies, BBB integrity award, and Best Places to Work.

For more information about Groundworks, please visit:

The Local Groundworks Company Serving Mebane/Winston-Salem, NC is:

Tar Heel Basement Systems
2910 Griffith Road
Winston-Salem, NC 27103