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Posted by Mike in Westminster, CO on 8/8/2010

As stated in earlier posts, the engineering company that designed the house foundation recommended a pier-and-beam foundation because of the expansive soils deep in my land. I did have the option of doing an overdig to remove some of the expansive soils and replace with non-expansive soils. This would allow me to construct a more traditional foundation with footers, and eliminate the need for drilling all those caissons. I did a careful study of the costs associated with both approaches, and decided to go with the stronger, and more solid, pier and beam foundation.

The reasoning is that with the overdig, I would have had the additional excavation expenses of digging down deeper into the soil to remove all that dirt. Once all that dirt was dug out, I would then had to have paid to have it all hauled out and away from the property. I would then had to bring in a bunch of new dirt, which would had to have been dumped into the foundation hole and compacted tight for the footings to be placed on it. After all was said and done, I really would not have saved any money going this route. The engineer also told me that the overdig, while minimizing any movement of the foundation, would not have eliminated it. He said that with the pier-and-beam foundation there would be no chance of any movement.

On the day when the drilling of the caissons started, two large drilling rigs were brought in to drill the holes for the concrete piers. Two drilling rigs were required because all the holes had to be drilled and poured in one day to eliminate the chance of the holes caving in or filling up with water overnight. Steel rebar reinforcements, which were tied together the day before, were placed into each caisson hole after being drilled. Each pier hole was drilled down 28 feet on average - 26' to get to the solid bedrock, and another 2' into the rock. Once the rebar was in place, the pier holes were filled with concrete from cement trucks that were standing by. All in all, it took almost 12 hours to drill, reinforce, and pour all 48 holes. This included the use of two drilling rigs and 20 men to get the job done. It was a very long day, but in the end I will have a very strong and solid foundation for my house.


Long shot of the pad area
Rebar in the pier holes

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