Helical piers, also known as helical piles or screw piles, are a type of foundation system that is used to provide support for buildings and other structures. They consist of a steel shaft with helical flights or plates that are twisted into the soil, creating a secure and stable foundation. Helical piers are often used in situations where traditional concrete foundations are impractical or too expensive, such as in areas with weak or unstable soils. They are also commonly used in retrofitting existing structures, as they can be installed quickly and with minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment. Helical piers are a reliable and cost-effective foundation solution that has become increasingly popular in the construction industry.
When Helical Piers Are Needed
Here are some common scenarios in which helical piers may be needed:
- Foundation Settling or Sinking: If you’re experiencing foundation settling or sinking, helical piers can be used to stabilize and lift the foundation. Helical piers are driven deep into the ground, below the unstable soil, and are attached to the foundation to provide support and prevent further settling.
- New Construction: Helical piers can be used to support new construction projects, such as decks, porches, or additions. They can also be used in areas with poor soil conditions or where traditional foundation systems are not feasible.
- Retaining Walls: Helical piers can be used to support retaining walls, especially in areas with unstable or steep slopes. They can provide the necessary support to prevent the wall from collapsing or sliding.
- Seismic Retrofitting: In areas prone to earthquakes, helical piers can be used as a seismic retrofitting solution to provide additional support and stability to the foundation.
- Soil Stabilization: Helical piers can be used to stabilize soil in areas with poor soil conditions, such as expansive soils or loose fill.
It’s important to note that the specific application of helical piers will depend on the unique characteristics of your property and the conditions of your foundation.
How We Install Them
Overall, the installation process for helical piers can vary depending on the specific needs of the property and the soil conditions. However, the process typically involves driving the pier into the ground using specialized equipment, verifying the bearing capacity, and installing a bracket to support the foundation. Here’s how the process typically shakes out:
- Site Preparation: Before installation, the site will need to be prepared by excavating the area around the foundation where the piers will be installed. This may involve removing landscaping or other obstructions.
- Pier Installation: The first step in installing the helical pier is to drive the anchor into the soil. This is done using a hydraulic torque motor that rotates the pier into the ground. The pier consists of a central shaft with helical plates or “flights” that provide the necessary support.
- Verification of Bearing Capacity: Once the helical pier is installed to the desired depth, we will perform a load test to verify that the pier is providing sufficient support. This involves applying a load to the pier and measuring the amount of settlement to ensure that it meets the required bearing capacity.
- Bracket Installation: Once the helical pier is in place and has been tested, a bracket is attached to the pier and secured to the foundation. This bracket provides the necessary support to stabilize the foundation and prevent further settling.
- Backfilling and Site Restoration: After the helical piers are installed and the foundation is stabilized, the site is backfilled and any landscaping or other features are restored.
If you’re in need of Foundation Repair, or new construction work or think you may be in need of Helical Piers, reach out to RhinoLift so we can perform a free inspection.