Recently, our company was hired to remodel a 1950s beach cottage just south of San Francisco. The job included repairing the house's seriously damaged foundation.

Our original plan was to shore up the building, replace the support beams, and reuse the existing wood piles. But once we got the house supported by cribbing and temporary steel beams and started excavating around the piles, we found that they extended only 4 or 5 feet below grade rather than the 15 to 20 feet we'd been expecting.

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