All You Need to Know About Helical Piles

Helical piles, also known as helical piers, are a versatile and robust solution for various construction and foundation projects. These steel foundation anchors are designed to provide stability and support in a wide range of applications. Whether you’re building a residential structure, repairing a foundation, or working on a commercial project, helical piles can be a valuable asset.

In this article, we’ll delve into the essential aspects of helical piles, including their uses, cost considerations, and installation process.

What is a Helical Pile?

Helical piles are manufactured steel foundation anchors with helical-shaped plates or flights attached to the shaft. These plates allow the pile to be screwed into the ground, providing exceptional load-bearing capacity. The installation is carried out using hydraulic machinery, with various sizes available to suit the specific needs of the project. Helical piles find applications in a wide array of scenarios, including:

  • Residential foundation repair
  • Decks and patios
  • Oil and gas projects
  • Industrial facilities
  • Amusement parks
  • Government infrastructure
  • Wind and solar energy installations
  • New and existing commercial foundations

Their adaptability makes helical piles suitable for almost any foundation project.

How much does a Helical Pier Cost?

The cost of a helical pile project can vary significantly based on several factors. These factors include the type of project, the diameter of the helical pile, engineer specifications, the number of helices on the pile, soil conditions, and the weight of the structure being supported. Since there’s a vast variety of helical piles and numerous variables to consider, estimating costs precisely can be complex. However, as a rough guideline, a standard 2-7/8″ helical pile can average around $30 per foot. Standard helical piles are typically 5 or 7 feet long, with extensions available to reach the desired depth.

When to Use Helical Piers

Helical piers come in different designs to meet various project requirements. Round shaft helical piles are often used in compression projects, which are determined by the type of soil and the intended use of the foundation. For instance:

  • A new skyscraper’s foundation may require large diameter round shaft helical piers due to the immense load.
  • Residential foundation repairs for settling or sinking may typically involve standard 2-7/8″ round shaft helical piles.
  • Installing a new deck also often requires standard 2-7/8″ round shaft helical piles.
  • Tension applications like tie-backs can still use helical piers, with square shaft helicals being ideal for most of these scenarios.

How to Install a Helical Pile

The installation of helical piles follows a systematic process to ensure stability and load-bearing capacity:

Attachment: Installation starts by attaching the helical pile lead section to the torque motor (drive head) using a drive tool and drive pin.

Ground Entry: Crowd force is applied to drive the pilot point into the ground at the specified location, inclination, and orientation as per the placement plan.

Rotation: The pile is smoothly rotated into the ground in a clockwise, continuous manner while maintaining sufficient crowd force, usually advancing about 3 inches per revolution.

Extension: Additional sections are added as needed to reach the desired depth, following the approved construction documents for bolt and nut specifications.

Alignment: Periodic checks and adjustments are made for inclination and alignment during installation.

Tightening: Bolts between shaft sections are snug-tightened to specifications without exceeding the maximum installation torque rating.

Verification: Helical piles are advanced until the required final installation torque is achieved, and the minimum depth, if specified, is reached.

How Atlas Piling Can Help

For your helical pile needs, Atlas Piling is your trusted partner. They offer the best piling service. Their knowledgeable staff is available 24/7 to answer your questions and assist you in every step of your project. Whether it’s residential, commercial, or industrial, Atlas Piling has the expertise and products to ensure the success of your foundation project.

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