Helical piers, also known as anchors, piles or screwpiles, are deep foundation solutions used to secure new or repair existing foundations. Due to their design and ease to install, they are most commonly used whenever soil conditions prevent standard foundation solutions. Instead of requiring large excavation work, they thread into the ground. This minimizes installation time, requires little soil disturbance, and most importantly transfers the weight of the structure to load bearing soil.
HOW HELICAL PIERS WORK
Helical piers can be installed with hand-held equipment, mini-excavators, skid steers, backhoes, or trackhoes, so the installation equipment can be sized for the project. Helical piers can also permanently stabilize sinking or settling foundations.
The piers are mechanically advanced ("screwed") into the ground to appropriate depths and capacities and heavy-duty, L-shaped steel foundation brackets are connected to the tops of the helical piers and installed against the footing.
The weight of the existing structure is then carefully transferred from the unstable soils, through the piers, to competent soil or bedrock.
ADVANTAGES TO USING HELICAL PIERS
- Helix blade configuration selected to achieve design depth and capacity
- Can be installed in areas of limited or tight access
- Installs quickly
- Installation does not generate spoils
- Vibration-free installation (unlike driven piles)
- Concrete can be poured immediately following pile installation
- Available with optional hot-dip galvanizing for added corrosion protection
- Cost-competitive compared to other deep foundation alternatives.
WHEN SHOULD THEY BE USED?
They have numerous residential and commercial applications. They can be used whenever the job specifies caissons, driven piles or mini piles. When foundations are exposed to moisture over a long period of time or construction is cited on unstable soil, structural and foundation damage rears its head. To repair the foundations of your property and ensure the building doesn’t lose value, they are used to stabilize the foundation. They can also be used to repair foundations when foundation failure becomes apparent:
- Windows and doors are sticking, hard to open
- There are large gaps in window and door frames
- Interior plaster walls are cracking
- Multiple nail pops are appearing in ceilings and walls
- Walls are beginning to lean noticeably
- Floors are starting to settle and become uneven
- Chimneys are tilting or leaning
- Cracks can be seen in foundations or basement walls