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Caissons

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Caissons2021-06-01T15:59:22-07:00
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DO I NEED CAISSONS?

  • Is your home or commercial property built on a hillside or in an area prone to mudslides or landslides?
  • Is your home or commercial property’s retaining wall up to par?
  • Can you see loose dirt and/or rocks around your property?
  • Does your home or commercial property have lots of pressure and weight that needs support?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, then your property may benefit from caissons!

WHAT ARE CAISSONS?

Have you ever seen the iconic Brooklyn Bridge in New York City? The massive stone towers of this incredibly heavy (15,000 tons!) suspension bridge were built on top of caissons filled up with concrete. Here in Los Angeles (also known as “Earthquake Country”) caissons can similarly offer the perfect means to protect a building from the largest of loads. As such, caissons are used by everyone, from the basic home or commercial building owner, all the way to a city contractor that builds heavy freeways and bridges.

HOW ARE CAISSONS MADE?

Caisson steel cages are built above ground level, then lifted up into the air and placed, along with added support, into shafts that are drilled through soil and rock down to a pre-determined depth, and in a predetermined diameter. Once the caisson steel cages are placed inside their shafts, concrete is poured in to stabilize the structure. Caissons help ensure that if the soil around the structure moves, for example due to seismic activity, the structure will not move with it. When a home or commercial building is supported with caissons made of steel and concrete that are anchored into solid ground, one can be confident that one’s investment is secure!

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    HOW DEEP ARE CAISSONS?

    The depth one drills into bedrock to anchor a caisson varies depending on the soil type and location. In some locations, bedrock is found at only a foot below the ground, while in other areas it can be up to 15 feet deep, and sometimes even deeper. Wherever bedrock is found, caissons go even deeper because they are drilled 2-5 feet into the bedrock. On a funny note, caissons are also sometimes referred to as a “pile foundation” because of the pile of dirt that forms after one dig it out of the ground – caisson piles can get pretty big!

    WHAT DO I DO IF MY HOME IS BUILT ON A HILLSIDE?

    If your home is built on a hillside, then you should most definitely consider caissons! Drilled piers and caissons are incredibly important to support homes and commercial buildings that are built on hillsides. Not only do steel caissons keep hillside structures safe, but in so doing they help keep everyone living and working inside of them safe as well.
    Homeowners and commercial property owners must ask themselves a simple question: if your home or commercial building is built on a hillside in an area prone to mudslides or landslides (which are very likely to happen when one lives on, or close to, a hillside), or if your home or commercial property is located in “Earthquake Country,” would you rather have your property protected by caissons drilled into solid rock, or do you just want to chance it?

    LAND EROSION AND RETAINING WALLS

    Erosion is a problem that many hillside homeowners contend with on a regular basis. When water, dirt, and other debris come down the hillside, this causes erosion which, over time, typically does get worse until it puts a property in great jeopardy, potentially causing it some very serious damage.

    Weinstein Construction professionals can use retaining walls to block erosion from mudslides and landslides from damaging your home. Interestingly, in some cases, slide and erosion pressure can become so powerful that even retaining walls need support! In such cases, caissons are used to give extra support to retaining walls, helping to keep homes safe from sliding downhill, and caisson pumps create a dry work area by pumping out the water around the structure and retaining it, until it had been pumped out.

    In short: piles and caissons are so strong that they are used to support the weight from all the cars and trucks that drive on the freeway. If caissons are used to hold up bridges and freeways, think about how much support your home or commercial building will have when it is protected by caissons!

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    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    What are Caissons?2021-04-06T09:25:51-07:00

    Caissons (or piers) are a type of a deep foundation, whereby a hole is excavated in the ground, and a reinforced steel structure is built above ground level, and is then sunk into the hole.  Cement concrete is then poured into the caisson to add strength, durability, and weight.  Caissons can be a good way to secure a foundation to bedrock for hillside homes or homes built on an “active” soil such that they can sink or slide (e.g., during an earthquake, mudslide, or landslide).

    Are Caissons expensive?2021-04-06T09:26:23-07:00

    Interestingly, the price for caissons can vary depending on the expertise of the contractor who is building it as well as the availability of the contractor’s equipment and materials used on the job (i.e., having the right equipment and materials on-hand).  Contractors who are experienced in building caissons often provide customers with a better price.  Weinstein Construction professionals are expert caisson builders, and can design caissons to fit most budgets – give Weinstein Construction a call for all your caisson needs!

    What is the difference between a Caisson and a Pile Foundation, or a Pier Foundation?2021-04-06T09:27:02-07:00

    There are many types of caissons construction (e.g., excavated, box, open, floating, etc.) and they are generally structures built above ground, then sunk below ground and filled with reinforcing steel and cement concrete.  There are also many types of piles (e.g., end-bearing piles, friction piles, anchor piles, compaction piles, etc.), and they are generally columns of material which are driven into the ground by a piledriver.  Piles, like caissons, don’t have a footing.  A Pier Foundation, is a type of a deep foundation that consists of a large diameter cylindrical column, which is intended to support a large load, and is built in the ground.  There are a few types of pier foundations as well and they do have a footing.

    Do I need Engineering and Permits to build Caissons?2021-04-06T09:27:25-07:00

    Yes, building caissons is definitely not a “Do It Yourself” activity, and you will need to get a qualified, experienced contractor to do this work.  You will also need a competent engineer to design the caisson system, and inspect the work after its completed.  The City’s building inspector will also inspect the work.  In short, you will need experts such as the professionals at Weinstein Construction to do this work for you!

    TESTIMONIALS

    Weinstein Construction redid my foundation and retaining wall and I’m very happy with the work!

    Mr. Allen
    Donald Borg Weinstein Construction Review

    We had our basement retrofitted. Very courteous to us, very attentive. I was very impressed with the people who came to do the job. They were polite, well dressed, and really seemed to know what they were doing. We feel a lot safer now than we would have otherwise.

    Donald Borg

    We had used Weinstein to earthquake retrofit our house. First, my intention was to do it myself, but we got a very nice sales rep over and he went through the whole procedure and by putting a thought into I concluded that it was not worth it for me to spend 14 days under the house. They came out, a top professional crew, they did it in a day, and we really loved what they did.

    Yorkin Schwar

    We are pleased with the results. The people were on time, they were neat, clean, and even the “big boss” was very nice and accommodating, so we’re happy with the services.

    Tom and Judy Fogle

    I was very happy. Very clean job. Very satisfied, and I recommend it to everybody.

    Eddie Levin

    We had our house retrofitted. Immediately we noticed the stability of it, even when we walked the house. Now it’s so much better and it’s stabilized, we’re very confident. It went very well and we’re very pleased.

    The Reverend Jess Palmer

    They did a great job, they were on time, clean, and the price was right. I recommend you do the same.

    Rabbi Lipskier

    House was built in 1933. They did the right job, they did a very good job and we’re very happy with the results. I recommend them.

    Michael Ingbar
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