Builders, contractors, and architects use helical piles to build deep foundations and strengthen existing foundations. It is highly effective in supporting light and heavy structures facing weak soil conditions.
Are you looking for a strong foundation solution? Here are some commonly asked questions answered about helical piles that will help you understand them in detail.

Top 10 Questions About Helical Piles

How Deep Can Helical Pile Installation Be?

Typically, helical piles are installed from 10 and 25 feet below the ground. However, depending on the needs of a particular project, they can go as deep as 100 feet to meet the torque requirements. A deep foundation is usually required for structures built on loose soil.

What are the Different Uses of Helical Piles?

You can use a helical pile to:

  • Fix cracks on the interior plaster walls
  • Repair uneven floor
  • Repair a large gap formed in the door and window frames
  • Eliminate the obstruction produced when closing and opening doors
  • Repair cracks in the basement
  • Provide foundation anchor solutions for soft or oversaturated soil

How Reliable are Helical Piles?

Helical piles are the perfect solution to build a strong foundation or protect and strengthen an existing one. They are 100% reliable because:

  • They don’t require excavation, soil removal, frost protection or a dewatering system.
  • They provide more security and benefits compared to a traditional concrete foundation without the liabilities of driven piers.
  • They are cheaper, faster, and easy to install (even easy to remove) than a traditional concrete foundation.
  • Their load capacity is verified as more reliable than a concrete foundation.
  • They use lightweight construction equipment, providing instant torque-to-capacity feedback for production control.
  • They are made of galvanized steel capable of resisting corrosion, a common problem with concrete posts.
  • They are ready for loading immediately after installation and do not need curing time like concrete foundations.

What Size Helical Piles are Needed for Deck Footings?

The size and number of helical piles are determined based on the size of your deck, the support it requires and other conditions of the structure. You can get accurate information after consulting a professional posthole digger such as Original Posthole Diggers in Ontario.

When Were Helical Piles Introduced?

Alexander Mitchell, a blind civil engineer from Ireland, invented helical piles in 1833. According to records, helical piles were first used for the foundations of lighthouses. Many assume the piers can only be used for small load-bearing applications such as street lamps, canopy structures, and retaining walls. However, with advanced technology, they are also being used in the heavy oil and gas industry and other significant projects where massive load-bearing capacity is needed.

How Are Helical Piles Spaced?

As a general rule, helical piers are spaced at a distance of 5 to 6 feet and 3 to 4 diameters in the center.

Are Helical Piers Costly to Install?

Helical piles are an overall cost-effective solution for any foundation. You need to consider a lot of factors that affect the cost of the piles, including:

  • Quick Installation: They can be installed quickly using small equipment such as mini-excavators or track excavators. This eliminates the need to invest in heavy-duty installation equipment generally needed to set foundations.
  • Increased Productivity: A single operator can install up to 40 helical piles in a day, depending on the size and scope of the project. This increases productivity and eliminates labour costs making the project more efficient and cost-effective.
  • Installable in Any Weather Condition: You can install piers in any weather condition and swampy ground. Many expert contractors, such as Original Posthole Diggers, install them in temperatures below zero degrees without significantly decreasing productivity. The lightweight machines reduce the environmental impact and save the costs of cleanup.

In the long run, the helical piles’ cost-saving benefits make them an affordable solution for all types of projects, including weak soil in areas with unpredictable weather conditions.

Factors that affect the upfront cost of the piers include:

  • Location of your site
  • Type of structure
  • Type of task (installation or repair)
  • Condition of the existing foundation
  • Depth required for installation

When Should You Replace Helical Piles?

As estimated, helical piles come with a lifespan between 20 and 150 years. The biggest factor that determines their longevity is soil condition. If you notice significant cracks or splits in the wall or if your doors and windows feel jammed when opening and closing, it may be time to repair your foundation and replace the piers. It is best to consult a professional before making the decision.

Where to Find the Best Quality Helical Piles?

Original Posthole Diggers has partnered with Mascore to provide excellent quality helical piles for residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal projects. They are customized to meet your project demands. We offer the strongest quality products for soil stabilization and foundation solutions. You can contact us to purchase the best quality helical piles at an affordable price along with our installation service.

How do Helical Piles Affect the Environment?

They are typically made of galvanized steel and coated with zinc at high temperatures. The maximum amount of embodied energy goes into manufacturing and transporting them. The waste from the production process is relatively low and comes mainly from offcuts. The total embodied energy for the piers is relatively small, which makes them an environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional foundation products and methods.

We are a Reliable Helical Piles Installers in Ontario

10 Questions Answered About Helical Piles

Helical pile is a product designed and perfected over the years to provide expert product that solves various foundation challenges. Original Posthole Diggers is a leading deep foundation and helical pile installation expert in Ontario and has extended services to support different types of big and small projects in the best possible way. We have experience in working on every category soil which makes us a premium installer.

If you are looking for helical pile installation near you, look no further. Contact us or fill out our form to know more about our services. We will get in touch with you within 24 hours to discuss your project details.

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.