If you’re building a new structure or renovating an existing one, you may have heard about helical piers. These innovative foundation solutions offer many advantages over traditional concrete footings.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about helical piers, including their cost, installation, DIY options, and applications for decks and new construction.
- What are Helical Piers?
- How Much do Helical Piers Cost?
- Helical Piers vs. Concrete Footings
- DIY Helical Pier Installation
- Helical Piers for Decks
- Helical Piers for New Construction
- Advantages of Helical Piers
- Disadvantages of Helical Piers
- When to Consider Helical Piers
- Helical Pier Installation Process
- How Deep are Helical Piers Installed?
- Helical Pier Load Capacity
- How Long do Helical Piers Last?
- Choosing a Helical Pier Contractor
What are Helical Piers?
Helical piers, also known as helical piles or screw piles, are deep foundation systems used to support structures. They consist of steel shafts with helical plates welded to them. The helical plates act as anchors, holding the piers in place and providing support for the structure above.
How Much do Helical Piers Cost?
The cost of helical piers depends on various factors, including the size and weight of the structure, soil conditions, and the number of piers needed. On average, helical piers cost between $150 and $250 per foot of depth. A typical residential project may require piers ranging from 10 to 30 feet in depth, with costs ranging from $1,500 to $7,500 per pier.
Helical Piers vs. Concrete Footings
Helical piers offer many advantages over traditional concrete footings. They can be installed in a fraction of the time, with less excavation and disruption to the site. They’re also more resistant to shifting and settling, providing a more stable foundation for the structure above. Additionally, helical piers can be installed in areas with poor soil conditions or high water tables, where traditional footings may not be feasible.
DIY Helical Pier Installation
While it’s possible to install helical piers yourself, it’s generally not recommended. Helical pier installation requires specialized equipment and expertise. Without proper training and equipment, you risk damaging the piers, the structure, or even yourself.
Helical Piers for Decks
Helical piers are an excellent choice for deck construction. They provide a stable, long-lasting foundation that can withstand the weight of the deck and its occupants. They also require less excavation and can be installed in areas with poor soil conditions or high water tables.
Helical Piers for New Construction
Helical piers are becoming increasingly popular for new construction projects. They offer many advantages over traditional footings, including faster installation, less disruption to the site, and better resistance to shifting and settling. They’re also more environmentally friendly, as they require less concrete and excavation.
Advantages of Helical Piers
- Faster installation
- Less excavation required
- More environmentally friendly
- Better resistance to shifting and settling
- Can be installed in poor soil conditions
- Can be installed in areas with high water tables
Disadvantages of Helical Piers
- Higher cost than traditional footings
- Requires specialized equipment and expertise
- May not be suitable for all soil conditions
- May require regular maintenance
When to Consider Helical Piers
Helical piers may be a good choice for your project
Helical Pier Installation Process
The installation process for helical piers involves several steps:
- Site evaluation: A soil analysis is conducted to determine soil type, bearing capacity, and other site-specific factors.
- Pier design: The number, size, and depth of the piers are determined based on the weight of the structure and the soil conditions.
- Pier installation: The piers are installed using specialized equipment, such as a hydraulic drill motor, which rotates the pier into the ground.
- Pier load testing: The piers are load tested to ensure that they can support the weight of the structure.
- Pier connection: The piers are connected to the foundation using brackets or other connectors.
How Deep are Helical Piers Installed?
The depth of helical piers varies depending on the weight of the structure and the soil conditions. In general, residential helical piers are installed to a depth of 10 to 30 feet.
Helical Pier Load Capacity
The load capacity of helical piers depends on several factors, including the size and weight of the structure, the soil conditions, and the depth of the piers. Load capacity can be determined through load testing, which involves applying a specific weight or force to the piers and measuring their deflection.
How Long do Helical Piers Last?
Helical piers are designed to last for many years, with a lifespan of up to 100 years or more. However, their lifespan may be affected by factors such as soil conditions, exposure to moisture or chemicals, and regular maintenance.
Choosing a Helical Pier Contractor
When choosing a helical pier contractor, it’s important to consider factors such as experience, reputation, and certifications. Look for a contractor who has experience with helical piers and a good track record of successful installations. Additionally, make sure the contractor is licensed and insured, and ask for references from past clients.
Helical piers offer many advantages over traditional footings, including faster installation, better resistance to shifting and settling, and suitability for poor soil conditions or high water tables. However, they do require specialized equipment and expertise, and may be more expensive than traditional footings. If you’re considering helical piers for your project, be sure to choose a reputable contractor with experience in helical pier installation.