Woodbury Leaning Chimney

Homeowner had an approximately 33′ tall brick chimney that was leaning out away from the house as much as 5 1/2″ at the top.  It was actively moving and was in danger of falling over onto the house next door which was only 15′ away.  The city notified the homeowner that, if they did not get the issue fixed, they would fine the homeowner $2,000 a week until the issue was resolved.  This motivated the homeowner to look into his options.  He called three different companies . Of the three companies, one said they didn’t want to touch it.  Another said the only way to fix it was to demolish it and rebuild from ground up.  Finally, the third company (Keating Group, Inc.) said the chimney could not only be saved and secured from future settlement, but it could be returned back to level against the house, closing the gap ,and removing the lean.  Keating Group, Inc. explained to the customer that this could be done by using IDEAL helical pier deep foundation and underpinning brackets, followed by hydraulic jacks and temporary supports to lift and hold the chimney back to near original placement.  Keating Group, Inc. installed two IDEAL helical piles on the chimney itself and two IDEAL helical piles on the basement wall on each side of the chimney.  All four were installed and connected via underpinning brackets.  Upon digging down to expose the work area, it was found that the chimney had no footing, and the soil backfill was full of debris.  Keating Group, Inc. used angle iron and concrete grout to create a footing and bridge between the two piles on the chimney.  In much the same way, angle iron and grout were used on the two basement piles to create a wider footing and bearing surface to better support the wall and tie everything together.

Project Summary:

  • Helical Pile Type: SCH 40 Round Shaft 2-7/8″
  • # of Helical Piles: 4
  • Location: Woodbury, NJ
  • Installation Depth: 61′
  • Equipment Used: Case XT 70 Skid Steer / Eskridge 12k Gearbox
  • Challenge/Unique Aspect: The main challenge of this type of project is ensuring the already compromised chimney doesn’t fall over while the underpinning excavation is done and the installation of the helical piles and underpinning bracket systems is installed.  Then, the challenge becomes the lift phase of the project and bringing the entire structure back to near original placement.  Finally, this project had limited access for temporary supports and equipment because it was so close to the house next door.  This made everything more difficult and challenging.
  • Engineer/Architect: Gencorelli Engineering
  • General Contractor: The Keating Group