Helical piles are typically used in stabilizing structures such as large buildings like corporate offices and hospitals. However, they can be used for other structures as well. Helical piles are usually screwed into a buildings foundation, keeping the structure from being compromised from natural disasters and other destructive forces, such as erosion.

In this blog we will discuss the four different types of helical piles: solid square shaft, round shaft pipe, square and round shaft combo pile, and grouted square shaft. We also will share how and where they are typically used, in order to provide the best support.

Solid Square Shaft

This type of helical pile is typically solid and capable of large axial compressive loads, such as supporting large multi-story buildings. What makes it a reliable pile is that it is designed with an extension and carries the load down through to the end of the pile. Because of this, square shafts are primarily used in a variety of tension applications. They are typically perfect for handling exposure to rough terrain such as rocky, hard soil.

Round Shaft Pipe

The round-shaped helical pile provides a wide-diameter to work with. Because the round shaft pipe provides so much wider of a diameter than most square shaft piles, it is typically utilized in land that is soft. This ensures that if the soil were to grow softer, the building would have a support system. The wider cross section of the pile provides users better structural capacity for handling lateral loading and buckling.

Square and Round Shaft Combo Pile

If you are looking for a pile that can help with compression jobs, the square and round shaft combo pile is perfect! The combination of the square shaft head and the round shaft extensions both work effectively for either hard or soft soils. The square-shaped portion of the design assists with harder, tougher soil. Meanwhile, the rounded design works well with softer, surface soils. This sort of pile is perfect for land that has crusted, top coats of soils, mixed with softer, underlying soils. This situation is common in areas with land of higher water tables. This combo pile is also beneficial in areas that are grout restricted. Because of their versatility, they are useful for a wide-range of jobs which make them economically efficient.

Grouted Square Shaft

Grouted square shafts are just square shafts that are fitted with accessories to allow grout casing. When grout is applied during the piles insertion, “skin friction” occurs. This is when the grout comes into contact with that soil and helps with the compression and tension of the pile. Again, the pile is inserted into the ground, in a screw-like fashion; that is why when application occurs, friction can occur between the pile and the soil. A grouted square shaft is an advantageous type of pile because it improves lateral capacities, bending and buckling movement, and can provide a larger active diameter. Grouted square shafts are typically used for soft ground applications, not hard, rocky soils.

If you are interested in building a foundation that is strong and well supported, the best way to do so is to employ geotechnical engineers. They will be able to tell you the behavior of the soil under your foundation and what is needed to support it for the long-term. Companies, such as CMI Structural Solutions provide materials and advise you in order to ensure the building is structurally sound. For this reason, they will have a say in what you should use to support your foundation; from piles to retaining walls to anchors. Contact CMI Structural Solutions and see what your building needs in order to be stable and well prepared for years to come.