If you are pondering which type of pier might be best to repair your concrete slab foundation, a fair question would be “How long is a steel pier going to last?” After all, they are basically steel pipes driven deep enough to encounter either bedrock or a similarly firm and stable strata of soil, then attached to your slab, usually with steel brackets. “Hmmm,” you say. Metal parts in dirt for a long time. Sounds like rust. And you’d be right. Say hello to Mr. Galvanize.
Galvanization is a process whereby carbon steel is dipped in molten Zink, forming a chemical bond to the steel. Galvanized steel products provide good protection against rust and failure when used above or below grade. The next time you are in the car, notice the guard rails, traffic signposts, and bridges. You can tell these items have been galvanized by the unique silver color.
Without the benefit of galvanization, rusting and corrosion of steel piers begin with the first rainfall. For more information on the galvanization process and the benefits of galvanization, you could visit the American Galvanizers Association website. They have reports concerning the corrosion rates of steel in different soil types and other such info to feed your inner geek.
But wait! There’s more!
One of the major players in the steel pier for foundation repair arena uses a different method of rust protection. They roll their own piers and produce “corrosion-resistant polyethylene copolymer thermoplastic powder coated (POLYARMOR G17) steel piers.
The engineer who inspected my foundation apparently thinks those piers are fine because that company is on the list of recommended contractors attached to my foundation inspection report.