Settlement Due to Improper Footer – Helical Pier Repair


Richard I., a school teacher, was selling his home in West Ashley when an inspection report noted some separation in the bricks near the chimney. Richard called CNT Foundations for a consultation and a free estimate. Our office staff had him an appointment scheduled within five days of his phone call to us.


We met Richard at his residence after his work day. Richard proceeded to show us the areas of concern from the inspection report. We documented these with photos and a diagram of the entire home. After the initial inspection of the concerns, we proceeded to observe and document any other cracks and/or separations in the homes exterior. This is done to ensure that any areas that are observed in one area are not affecting the foundation in others. This also is done to ensure that while we are there any other foundation issues can be noted and possibly addressed. Richard was very happy with our thoroughness as he did not want to transfer any additional issues over to the new owners. Once the secondary assessment was complete we then again moved our focus to the chimney area. During the course of the foundation inspection, Richard stated that the family room with fireplace and attached chimney had once been a carport. Once all the cracks and separations were analyzed and documented we started probing the ground looking for sufficient footings under the structure. It was determined at this point that the chimney had been built on the concrete apron that was once part of the carport. The excessive weight of the chimney bricks and fire box was too much for a small four-inch slab to handle. This movement was also causing the brick piers in the front of the converted carport to lean.


It was determined that the foundation in the converted carport was not strong enough to support the weight of the chimney and fireplace. This situation called for our industry leading helical piles with under pinning brackets attached. Our crew of foundation technicians went out to Richards home on a Saturday to complete the work. We had scheduled Richard for completion on a Saturday shortly after signing a contract with him do get the repairs done within the time frame needed so as not to interrupt his closing date. The crew installed four helical piers one on each corner of the converted carport structure and two helical piles were installed at the corners of the chimney. A heavy duty steel lintel was installed under the length of the chimney. This acted as footer along the four-inch slab that the chimney was sitting on as well as a stronger bearing point for our underpinning bracket. The soil and landscaping were put back to their original condition and looked as if nothing every happened. The chimney and corner posts were raised up back to a level position. The cracks and separation closed up almost to their original positions.