Helical Piles – Questions Answered

June 21, 2019 4:32 pm

Unless you are in the industry or have had reason to research, it’s possible that you have many questions about helical piles and what they are. Here are some in-depth questions and answers to cover the most important facts.

What is a helical pile?

In short, it’s a device for building foundations on any type of ground. The device…” helical pile” or screw pile, is a metal shaft with special plates attached to it’s length at certain points.

How do they work?

A screw pile is very similar to an ordinary screw. Compare a screw to a nail and think about how a nail must be hit to install it whereas a screw is smoothly inserted. That’s what screw piles do…they are installed into the ground quickly and easily and remain tightly in place to support whatever structure they’re bearing.

Are they suitable for all situations?

Yes. They can go into sloped sites, sites with poor drainage or which are flood prone, rock, sand and just about any soil type out there. They are also suitable for installation on snowy ground and in fact, poor weather is no deterrent.

What structures can they support?

Helical piles are suitable for a vast array of applications. They can be used in ordinary houses, to support and repair historical buildings, for mobile homes, tower blocks and cabins. They are quite often used in the construction of street light bases which being tall, need to be stable to avoid the costs of repair in bad weather and in wind turbines for similar reasons. Many local authorities use screw piles in the construction of highway signage and as part of flood defence systems; in boardwalks, lighthouses and bridges and even in conveyer belts. In short, they are an excellent solution for many structures and especially those in remote areas which are prone to extreme weather conditions.

Why are they better than traditional foundations?

There are many advantages to helical piles when compared with concrete. One of the most important is that of time; piles can be installed in minutes and can also be removed easily. Concrete tends to react badly to certain soil types whilst a pile system can be installed in any ground and will perform in the same way each time.

Helical piles have been around for many years now but it is only in the last twenty or so years that their true value has been fully grasped; this has led to an increase in the amount of structures making use of their excellent properties.

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