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deep foundation soils

Foundations Explained:

Deep Foundation Soils

When the soil your home is built on can no longer support the weight of your home, the structure will start to settle. An expert may recommend installing a deep foundation system to stabilize your home.

Starting From The Ground….Down

Deep Foundation Soils

Deep foundation soils and deep foundation systems are best understood by starting with the ground. Soil is made up of obvious layers which have different qualities and are a good indicator of how deep you need to extend your foundation. 

The top layers of soil compress and easily compact – this is where settlement occurs and where you’ll find problem soils like expansive clay. The deeper soil layers, like parent rock, are stable and less likely to move. This is why a deep foundation pier system is installed into competent load bearing soils or bedrock.

Deep Foundation Soils

Organic Matter

The top layer of soil consists of decomposed organic matter. This isn’t to be confused with the layer of leaves and decomposing materials on top of the ground. Over time these things will break down and become the layer of organic matter.

Surface Soil

This is also called topsoil or humus. It consists of dark, decomposed organic materials (i.e. leaves, grass, branches, etc…) The surface soil is were you’ll find earthworms, potworms and forms of fungus and bacteria that are dependent upon plant roots.


This is the layer of soil where you’ll commonly find clay, expansive or consolidating soils. When your home experiences settlement problems, it’s typically due to this layer of soil. Settlement could be caused by the problem soils mentioned above or poor site preparation and construction.

Parent Rock

This section of soil is also known as bedrock. It can contain large rocks and other larger, solid materials. It’s much deeper than the other layers and isn’t typically affected by weather or moisture changes. Bedrock is much deeper than the other soil levels, beyond the depth that roots can grow, and as a result doesn’t have the shrinkage and settlement problems that can occur in other soil layers. Most deep foundation solutions are installed to the stable parent rock.

Deep Foundation Soils: How Deep Foundations Work

Deep Foundation Soils Helical Installation

As you know by now, a deep foundation is installed deep into the ground until it reaches stable soil or bedrock. At JES we install round, steel push piers or helical piers.

The pier is installed under your home and provides the additional support needed to prevent further settlement. And in the case of push piers, after installation your home may be lifted back to its original position.

We use round steel tubes in our deep foundation systems because they are proven solutions in the regions we serve. Our piers are among the strongest in the industry and have a 25 year warranty. Plus we have Professional Engineers on staff to approve and design deep foundation solutions.

Worried that your home may need a deep foundation solution? Request your free foundation inspection with one of our experts, and learn if your home needs foundation repair. If your home doesn’t need to be fixed, we’ll tell you.

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