HELICAL PIERS FAQ

 

How long have piers existed?
They can trace their roots all the way back to 1720 in England, where they were invented. In the nineteenth century lighthouses were supported by Helical Piers.

Why is the term helical used?
Helical anchors are essentially small shaft pipe piles with one or more helical bearing plates attached. Instead of being hydraulically vibrated into the ground, like a pipe pile, they are gently rotated into the ground using high torque hydraulic drive head. They can support most structures, including: Industrial, Commercial, or Residential.

What are screwpiles?
Screwpiles, helical piers and helical piles are synonyms for the same type of foundation solution.  They were coined screwpile because of the way they turn and bore into the earth.

What is the difference between a square shaft and a round shaft?
We recommend using square shafts in tension situations because it has a greater yield, tensile strength and higher torque capacity. Round shaft should be used in compression situations because it has a far superior lateral stability (the strength to resist twisting and deflection), as well as it has greater load capacities.

What are the most popular applications for helical piles?
They can be used on most structures in New Construction or Repair, and in 80-90% of soil conditions that exist. However, they are typically used in complex soil conditions, or limited access situations that have prohibited the use of other traditional foundation systems.

What are some of the advantages of using piers over other foundation types?
They are superior to other methods in many ways. Hand-dug and drilled concrete piers can do an adequate job. However, they are extremely time consuming, very messy, expensive, and labor intensive. Driven Piles can be effective, but limited access and sensitivity of existing buildings make their use difficult for an installer. Helical piering is cost effective, requires little to no concrete, can be performed in limited access situations, and is virtually vibration free.

What is their life expectancy?
Many factors determine the life expectancy. Though Helical Piers can be galvanized to prevent rusting, the varying soil conditions can affect the life expectancy. It is the general estimation that piers last over 150 years in normal soil conditions.

How much weight can a Helical pile support?
Depending on the job our Hercules Pile can hold in excess of 500 tons, or 1,000,000 pounds. You would see similar loads on a 10 story building application.

Will the interior of my house be damaged after installation?
Most of the time the house will not be damaged from the installation. In fact, you may find doors starting to work correctly and some cracks may close.

Why do you put helical piers under an existing foundation?
They are used to underpin homes that are sinking. When used in combination with our Tru-lift system homes can be secured to prevent further settling or raised up to the proper height, saving the home from additional structural damage.

Can helical piles be installed in tight spaces?
Yes, our products can be installed using portable equipment that allows us to install when there are clearance issues that prevent heavier equipment from being used.

How deep can helical piers be installed?
Most are installed between 10 to 25 feet below the soil, but may be required to extend deeper if the required torque is not met. We have had some Piles installed as deep as 100 feet.

What is the minimum spacing?
A general rule is that they should be spaced 3 to 4 diameters on center. Typical Helical Pile spacing is 5 ft – 10 ft.

How do I know when I have a foundation issue?
You may notice cracks in drywall on the ceiling or walls, doors may be sticking, there may be gaps between walls and ceiling, nails coming out of the drywall, your windows may stick, floors may be cracked, or there may be gaps between walls and floors. All of these are indications of foundation issues.

What are the chances of having more foundation issues after an anchor is installed?
The chances of this are slim to none as long as you are using a quality company that will provide the proper services to get them installed correctly.

What kind of equipment is used for installation?
We offer installation equipment that attaches to skid steers, mini and full size excavators, and backhoes. We even offers handheld installation equipment for limited access areas