Helical pile installation is one of the most cost-effective foundation solutions in residential and commercial construction. When looking for reliable and sturdy foundational support, architects and contractors often recommend helical piles. They are not only durable but also easy to install with minimum tools, equipment, and labour. Usage of this type of foundation contributes to efficiency and the environment. It is versatile and applicable to various construction projects from large to small.

This article discusses the important basics related to helical piles and other aspects that will help you decide whether or not it is the right solution for your upcoming project.

What is a Helical Pile?

A helical pile is also commonly known as a helical pier or screw pile. It is a type of deep foundation technology introduced in the early 1900s in waterfront foundations. It works by penetrating weaker soil layers and transferring loads of a structure to competent load-bearing soils. Even if the soil conditions are poor, it provides a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution by increasing the capacity of existing structures without substantial excavation. If your construction project faces noise, vibration, soil disturbance or site access in a specific location, helical pile installation can be an ideal solution for such circumstances. It shows great potential, especially when it comes to foundation challenges.

What is a Helical Pile Made Of?

A helical pile is a helix-shaped column comprising a round steel shaft and resembles a screw to some extent. One or multiple helical bearing blades are welded to the post. The length, thickness, and diameter of a helical pile and its shaft vary depending on the structure being built or repaired, along with other factors. Regardless of dimensions, the pier should be developed with a consistent pitch to ensure a reliable design and installation methods which are accepted by engineering policies.

Round helical piles are effective for construction projects that face compression forces and need strong lateral stability. The round piers are great at supporting such structures and also show resistance against twisting and deflection due to compression. It comprises circular blades that range from 3” to 6” and are welded to the centre.

How Do Helical Piles Work?

A helical pile installation more or less resembles the way a screw is twisted into a wall. Each shaft is directly driven into the soil, and as it disappears beneath the surface, additional extension segments are connected with bolted couplers and tightened into the soil. This results in a single pier extending hundreds of feet below ground and supporting structures even in weak soil conditions.

For many construction projects, the steel pier alone satisfies the load demands. But if you are looking for a more robust and deep foundation system, the pile can be incorporated with concrete poured down the sides to envelop the shaft. This method produces a reinforced pillar resistant to extreme compressive, lateral, and uplift forces.

Popular Names for Helical Piles

  • Helical Anchors
  • Helical Foundations
  • Helical Piers
  • Screw Anchors
  • Screw Cylinder Anchors
  • Screw Piles

What are the Different Uses of Helical Pile?

You can use helical piers to reinforce existing foundations or to support new foundations for a variety of industrial, municipal, commercial and residential structures, including:

  • Buildings
  • Bridges
  • Docks
  • Decks
  • Billboards and flagpoles
  • Mobile homes
  • Garages
  • Solar panels
  • Boathouses
  • Cell towers and ramps
  • Factories
  • Storage containers
  • Retaining walls
  • Power transformers
  • Oil pump jack
  • Oil pipeline

4 Steps for Helical Pile Installation

1. Getting Started

Before starting any foundation project, it is essential to have a drawing of the project and location. This is needed to give to an engineer to get a helical drawing which ensures how you can use the piles for effective results.

2. Prepare the Site

You may need a minor excavation before installing helical piles. It is vital to understand and review the engineer’s specifications to ensure the successful completion of your project. Original Posthole Diggers has an experienced engineering team ready to help at any stage of the process.

3. Install Helical Pile

As mentioned, the piles are screwed directly into the load-bearing soil. A high-speed torque or a low-speed hydraulic drive motor attached to a machine helps installation, while a torque monitor reviews the work. Light capacity piers are installed with machines such as mini-skid steers, skid steers, mini excavators, or utility sector-style auger trucks. High-capacity piles are drilled into the ground using 15-tonne or larger excavators. Sometimes, modified custom equipment may be used. Depending on your project specifications, you may need extensions until the competent load-bearing soil is reached.

4. Review the Result

After the helical pile installation is complete, it is essential to review the work and ensure every column is placed and configured as directed by the engineer. You also need to check the depth and the torque requirements. An observation record is provided to identify the depth, torque, helices and extensions completed for the project.  A letter of conformance should also be included at the end of the job.

We Offer Reliable Helical Pile Installation Services

Everything You Need to Know About Helical Pile Installation

Original Posthole Diggers is a leading name in the posthole digging industry. We focus on providing outstanding customer service and the highest standards of professionalism at every stage of a project.

We are extending our services in collaboration with Mascore to offer helical pile installation for all your foundation needs, regardless of the size and scope of your construction or restoration project.

Screw piles are not just a robust foundation solution but also an economical alternative. In general, they come with a lifespan of around 150 years. However, the lifespan may be slightly shorter or longer depending on the surrounding soil conditions.

If you are looking for proficient helical pile contractors in Whitby, look no further. We offer customized helical piles service catered to the needs of your project. Contact us or fill out our form to get a free quote within 24 hours.


Commercial buildings often look for added safety, strength, and reliability, especially when securing an existing foundation or laying the groundwork for a new construction project. Whether you are a businessman, architect, or construction manager, a helical piles foundation may be the ideal solution.

Modern helical piles are a forward-thinking technology that makes the most of the benefits of the traditional form while offering new advantages for sound construction. They are the preferred choice for many industries. Although they were initially developed for the marine industry, they are now a popular choice in civil engineering, road, rail, and telecommunications industries. They can bear large tensile and compression loads and are often used for retaining structures such as walls, dams, and barriers.

Here are some of the helical piles advantages that can help you make an informed decision for your project.

Helical Piles Advantages You Should Know

Fast Installation

Helical piles are small and don’t require equipment like cranes for transportation. You can install them fast in any weather condition or season. They have a unique anchor system and do not need a wait time like concrete or other materials to set and harden. You can start construction immediately after installing them.

Environmentally Friendly

A low carbon footprint and minimal to zero site damage are one of the top advantages of helical piles. They have a screw-pile system that does not require soil cutting. This helps in keeping the project site clean and intact. As installation does not require heavy equipment, there is least to no production of construction vibration, which is a crucial factor to consider for environmentally sensitive areas. In addition, you can install screw piles, leave them in a place for years, and remove and reuse them in a different location with little to no impact on the initial site.

High Load Bearing Capacity  

When it comes to repairing an existing foundation, increased stability is critical. Helical piles show the capability of providing extended stability during foundation repair regardless of the size and scope of the structure.

Improved Versatility

Traditionally, helical piles are installed vertically. However, present-day systems are highly versatile. They can be arranged in several orientations to fit the needs of a foundation. You can install them horizontally to support earth-retaining projects and use them for lateral loading. Their cutting-edge technology enables them to support increased load capacity by adding them into the mix.

Cost-Effective

One of the essential helical piles advantages you should know is that they are highly economical. As they do not require transport or heavy equipment for installation, they save builders, structural engineers, and architects a significant amount of money. The piers can be driven into the ground at about five minutes for every 10 feet of pile required. As the process is simple, you only need an operator and one labourer to accomplish the task. The helical piles installation process also reduces site clutter and the costs related to site cleanup. There is no upkeep or technical maintenance required. And as they are recyclable, reusable, and transferable, it contributes to the environment and your investment.

Great Accuracy

Foundation repair of a structure requires as much accuracy as possible. Helical piles offer everything needed to ensure the repair is as accurate as possible. Handheld equipment enables you to see the resistance and torque used during installation. It also provides a signal on when to stop digging. With helical piers, you can achieve remarkable accuracy and final results every time.

Reduced Impact on the Site

In general, construction needs a lot of space and labour. It also causes gridlocks in and around the work site leading to inconvenience in the area. However, helical piles installation does not cause these problems. It also doesn’t require digging up soil and then a place to deposit the extracted soil like a traditional concrete foundation work. It keeps the site clean and requires minimal clean-up afterward. As the piles are driven into the ground using specialized equipment, it doesn’t cause noise pollution. Installation happens below 80dB.

Delivers Stability to Foundations on Any Soil

Soil quality is one of the crucial factors to consider for any construction project. Poor quality or loose soil can cause a foundation to shift, which results in wall cracks, sagging flooring, and drainage problems. Helical piles can be used on any ground as they can compress the existing soil and apply tension to it, ensuring that the foundation does not shift. During installation, load-bearing dirt is displaced instead of removed, and grout is added to the piers, allowing them to fix in place while preventing the surrounding soil from shifting.

Other Less Known Helical Piles Foundation Advantages

Applicable to High Groundwater Conditions

As helical piers do not require excavation, they are easily usable at construction sites with shallow groundwater conditions as it speeds up their installation process. This expedites construction and eliminates the need for pumps or other methods to control groundwater, leading to reduced costs.

Supports Alterations in Load Capacity

Another unique advantage of helical piles is that you can increase the load capacity anytime by making small changes. You can also easily alter the configuration to improve load capacity. It is easy to create a solution by adding extension sections with additional piers of a larger diameter without the need to build a new foundation.

Easy to Install at Remote Sites

One of the rarely known helical piles advantages includes their capability to suit any project in remote areas. As they don’t require ample space or heavy equipment, you can easily transport them to a site that is congested and lacks access to advanced heavy-duty equipment.

11 Helical Piles Advantages You Should Know

Contact Us to Build a Robust Helical Piles Foundation

At Original Post Hole Diggers, we have accomplished more than a hundred helical piles installations. Our trained and certified operators understand the unique demand of each project and know what it takes to complete the job successfully.

We believe in comprehensive planning, teamwork, and close attention to detail, allowing us to provide our clients with the best value possible. This makes us a one-stop destination for your foundational needs. Whether you need to repair a foundation in a tight access location or extremely steep sites, we are here to help.

Contact us for a free consultation or fill out our form to get an estimate within 24 hours.