What do you do when your cabin, the place where you and your family go to escape a busy world, develops a foundation problem?
It’s not a good feeling.
Sinking floors and shifted doors are a sure sign of trouble. Left un-checked, a foundation problem could ultimately spell disaster for your cabin – leaving summer (and winter) plans in ruins.
That was the problem one of our customers was facing, when they realized their cabin was shifting because of frost heave. If it wasn’t dealt with, they’d be looking at tens of thousands of dollars in repairs, or worse, major damage to their cabin.
They needed a fast solution that wouldn’t break the bank. So, they called the team here at Postech to see if we could help.
Here’s how we used screw piles to save a cabin in Bird Lake, while saving the owner a bundle of money!
Why Do Cabins Sink?
Before we get to the customer’s story, it’s important that we explain why structures like cabins can sink or heave.
In the vast majority of cases, it’s because of one thing:
Yes, the season that chills to the bone can also do major damage to cabin foundations.
Most cabins are built in Manitoba’s breathtaking cottage country. Sweeping forests, countless lakes, and rocky shorelines are only a few reasons why Manitoba has some of the best cottage country in Canada.
Problem is, the very things that make cottage country beautiful, also make it deadly for building foundations.
Soil quality in cottage country is often quite poor. Rocky, full of clay, and prone to extreme expansion. When you combine this with our long, frigid winters, you end up with all the ingredients for soil that can destroy foundations that aren’t equipped to handle it.
This two-punch combo of poor soil and frost places extreme stresses on foundations. And, because most foundations in cottage country are not right for those areas, it causes the cottage to sink, heave, and be pulled apart by a moving foundation.
That was exactly the situation our customer was facing with their cabin.
So, how did we manage to not only save their cabin, but put it on a foundation that will give them decades of immovable support?
First step: lift the cabin up so we could access underneath it.
Our team coordinated with a building mover, who gave the cabin a nice lift so our crew could work their magic.
Because we use equipment like mini skid-steers and mini excavators, we’re able to squeeze into some very tight spaces to install screw piles (so long as we remember to duck!). Our crews made sure to bring our standard 10-1/2 foot screw piles, plus extensions. This guaranteed that they would be able to anchor the pile well below the frost line, which is critical for defending against frost heave in the future.
Navigating under the lifted cabin, the crew was able to quickly install the screw piles. The number of screw piles to be installed was determined at the beginning of the project, based on our assessment of the cabin and what the foundation requirements would be.
Each screw pile was tested with special equipment on install, to ensure that it would meet the weight requirements needed for the cabin.
Screw pile pro-tip: Unlike other foundations, a screw pile’s weight capacity can be measured and verified by special install equipment. So, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing each screw pile is guaranteed to hold the right amount of weight!
Once the screw piles were installed, the crews used laser-levels to ensure each pile was perfectly level with all the others. Once that was done, the beams were put in place and the building movers gently placed the cabin onto the brand-new screw pile foundation. It was ready to go!
Previously, the cabin had a pad and post foundation. This type of foundation is a poor choice for Manitoba, and especially cottage country. A pad and post foundation doesn’t anchor below the frost line, which means it is subject to every force that winter can place on it. That’s why their cabin had shifted and heaved over time, because even the weight of their cabin was no match for the powers of frost.
Now, with a Postech screw pile foundation supporting it, the cabin is no longer shifting or heaving. Because Postech screw piles anchor beneath the frost line, and because of their unique design and thermal insulation, they’re better-equipped to resist the significant forces of frost.
This customer was able to go back to enjoying weekends and holidays in their cabin, on a firm foundation that will support them for decades to come.
The best part was, Postech was able to do it in a way that was more affordable than other foundation options.
If you have a cabin with a shifted or frost-heaved foundation, it doesn’t have to be the end!
Just like this customer, you might be able to rescue your cabin with a screw pile solution. Or, if you’re building a new cabin, consider putting it on screw piles! That way, you’ll never have to worry about a shifted or heaved foundation.
Our crews can install screw piles in even the most challenging and remote locations.
Have a cabin that needs to be put back on a firm foundation? Or, are you curious about building or moving a new cabin onto a reliable screw pile foundation?
Click here to contact us, and tell us about your cabin. Our friendly foundation experts will help you find the best foundation solution!