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:
- Billboards and flagpoles
- Mobile homes
- Solar panels
- Cell towers and ramps
- 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
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.