What are helical piles?
Helical piles are a deep foundation solution that has been in use for almost 200 years. England was the first to use them for the foundations and moorings of lighthouses. Today helical piers are commonly used in both new construction and foundation repair.
Helical piles – also known as helical piers, screw piles, helix piers, or helical anchors – are steel foundation systems that rely on geometry to provide stable, loadbearing support. They are constructed of a central shaft and helixshaped plates that limit stress to create strong foundational reinforcement for residential and commercial structures.
Why use helical piles?
Because of their shape, helical piles screw into the ground rather than being augered or forcefully driven into the soil. Instead, torque is applied to screw helical piers into the ground. This method is less disruptive to the soil and doesn’t generate the surplus of waste and spoils that is often brought to the surface when using drilled shafts or augercast piles. With little to no augered soil to worry about, helical piles virtually eliminate unexpected hauling and disposal costs.
Helical pile foundation systems are easy to customize, allowing crews to quickly install additional helices as needed to meet the required loadbearing capacity. This takes the guesswork out of foundation work and shaves both time and money off of foundation projects. Helical piles are also more effective in unstable earth that is prone to shifting, making them an ideal choice for Utah construction, where you often run into weak surface soils and high water tables.
Advantages of helical piles.
In many instances helical piles are preferred over other deep foundation systems like drilled shafts, driven piles, and grouted tendons. In addition to limited soil disturbance, there are a number of reasons to use helical piles for foundation needs.
● They can be installed in any kind of weather. There’s very little Mother Nature can do to get in the way of helical piles. Whether it’s rain or shine – or even in the dead of winter – helical piles can be installed without delay.
● There’s no waiting period to start pouring concrete. Unlike other foundation solutions, helical piles let you begin pouring the foundation right away. Because they don’t require a curing period, the contractor can pour concrete immediately after installation, which guarantees projects will be completed on time.
● They fit in tight spaces. Because helical piles are so customizable, they can easily be installed in areas with limited access. Both the equipment and drive heads can be sized to fit the project design and site access. Helical piles can be installed with anything from a backhoe to handheld equipment.
● There are no earthshaking vibrations. Traditional driven piles that ram into the soil produce disturbing ground vibrations. Because helical piers use rotary installation that relies on torque, the earth won’t shake during installation.