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The Challenge

General contractor Cox & Company approached AquaGuard’s Structural Department seeking expertise on foundations and flooring for a building they were retrofitting in the historical city of Woodstock, GA. Senior Project Manager Chris Graeff said that he was concerned about the age of the building as it dated back to the turn of the century, and as a result, he felt the foundation and floor joists would most probably need assistance with stabilization.

Foundation and flooring concerns are very common problems that AquaGuard Foundation Solutions apprises within the state of Georgia especially with older buildings. The soft, expansive Georgian red clay soil is another condition that further promotes foundation settlement and sinking. The downtown Woodstock building had all signs pointing to the foundation being under stress. Symptoms included soft, bouncy floorboards and jammed, sticking windows throughout the structures main floor.

The two-story building was in the process of being revamped and transitioned from housing a gym to housing a beer hall with billiard tables – soon to be named The Daily Draft. Hence the importance emerged of permanently stabilizing the structure’s load-bearing columns from which three supporting pillars ran directly throughout the workspace.

Not all pier systems are created equal, and AquaGuard’s piering solutions are the strongest on the market. AquaGuard’s helical piering system features an engineer designed and tested, patented external sleeve that strengthens the pier directly below the bracket (which is the most critical location). The external sleeve reduces friction as the pier is driven to load-bearing soil or bedrock, often 20 feet or more below ground. Once installed these piers essentially provide permanent stability for the structure supports, effectively preventing the building against further settlement.

When AquaGuard’s Foreman, Daniel Campagna arrived on site for the installation process, he commented as the work began that “an immediate challenge once the wooden floorboards were lifted, was cutting up the subfloor or floor joists surrounding the supporting pillars. In this case, the wood of the floor joists was a lot thicker than usual and the joists had also not been properly sistered-in by the previous contractor.”

Campagna talked us through further challenges the crew faced on site, especially when a good dollop of human strength was needed, “hydraulically-driving the helical pier into the ground while holding the weight of the torque-head can be extremely difficult as the piers occasionally get caught on unseen items like big rocks or buried cement blocks. The helical must then be reversed upwards and removed so we can dig out the item causing obstruction and try again.

It is interesting to note is that round-shaft helical piers, in comparison to square shafts, usually have a higher installation torque rating, meaning more force can be applied while the product is being installed. Higher-installation torque generally correlates to higher soil capacities.

Once the first section of the helical pier is in the ground, additional steel sections are then added to extend the pier to the appropriate depths of bedrock below. The weight of the building is then transferred through the helical piers onto competent load-bearing soils deep down below the surface.

Back up top on the surface and inside the office space, Daniel’s install team has now removed the required floor joists exposing suitable spaces for IntelliJack placement. The IntelliJack System is a series of steel supports that are installed atop engineered footings that transfer the load beyond the troubled soils, providing the best opportunity to stabilize and level the girders and floor joists above.

The Solution

AquaGuard’s structural artisans are in the field every day diagnosing and repairing structural foundation problems, of both the residential and the commercial variety, like this downtown Woodstock project. Their extensive training, installation experience, and technical knowledge has encouraged thousands of customers to trust them with even the most challenging foundation problems.

Senior Project Manager Chris Graeff from Cox & Company Construction made the comment that he had requested three quotes from three different contractors. After visiting the site, one of the companies stated the project was beyond their scope of work, and the second company did not even arrive to quote. Chris said his mind was put at ease when engaging with the systems design expert from AquaGuard.

“The level of professionalism stood out, his understanding of the job at hand, and his diagnosis were meticulous and thorough. I felt confident in the work they would undertake to do,” claimed Graeff, “and they did a great job!”

Helical Pier Extensions
Hydraulic Torque Head

Products Used:

For this floor joist stabilization project, AquaGuard Foundation Solutions installed commercial-grade – helical piers, IntelliJacks, and adjoining nine-inch I-Beams.

If you are dealing with a similarly compromised residential or commercial structure, give AquaGuard a call and let Atlanta’s structural experts restore your peace of mind!

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