Builder Piers Versus Repair Piles/Piers

You have heard or will hear these two terms at some time during your career.  

What’s the difference between a pier and a pile?

In short, a pile is driven into the ground whereas a pier in placed (or poured) into a hole in the ground. Piles mainly transfer support through skin friction. Piers typically transfer the load by compression. Little or none is transferred via skin friction. Piers usually what are called bell-bottom piers. Piles never have bell-bottoms.  

Congratulations! You now know more than some foundation repair contractors     

You know the difference between a pier and a piling. It is not unusual for a repair plan to refer to what are clearly piles as piers. One would think that the repair contractors would understand the difference, but apparently, that’s asking too much.

What’s The Difference Between Builder Piers & Repair Piers / Piles?

Builder piers are built by the builder as part of the foundation. Repair piers and repair piles are installed years, usually decades after the house was constructed. Repair piers are almost always bell-bottom piers and are essentially the same as is normally used by builders. Piles are not used in new home construction in Texas.


If repair pilings are so much better than piers, why aren’t they used in new home construction?  I have never heard of a new residential slab being supported by pilings. 

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