Because so much is resting on your piles
When it comes to foundation piles, it’s important to consider driving technique as well as pile type. A poorly driven pile is a foundation repair issue just waiting to happen. Foundation installation specialists can draw from a wide range of techniques to get piles installed safely and effectively.
Perhaps the simplest method used is the drop hammer technique, which is exactly what it sounds like. A hammer with a weight that more or less matches that of the pile is raised in a guide to a suitable height, then dropped directly on the pile to force it into the ground. There are two commonly used types of drop hammers:
A single-acting hammer uses a single weight in cylindrical form. Using steam or compressed air, the hammer raises the weight; at the top of the stroke or as determined by the operator, the weight falls directly on the pile.
Double-acting pile hammers attach to the top of the pile via leg guides. There’s no piling frame required, and timber guides direct the pile into the proper location. Double-acting hammers are most often used for sheet pile driving.
In either case, drop hammers are preferred for light frames and test piling. They’re the simple, economical way to drive a limited number of piles.
Vibratory hammers are electrically or hydraulically powered machines that use intense vibrations to break down the skin friction around the pile. This is a very effective technique to use in sandy or gravelly soil.
Another technique that can help to penetrate sandy soil types is water jetting. This method is great for that specific application, but has limited utility in firm clay and coarse gravel.
Finally, we have the boring methods—that’s “boring” in the sense of digging into the ground. The continuous flight auger (CFA) method uses a mobile base carrier and a hollow-stemmed flight auger. The machine rotates the auger into the ground, then pours highly workable concrete through the hollow tube, detaching the auger’s protective cap in the process. The pile is thus formed from the concrete that fills the hole.
The continuous flight auger method works especially well on soft ground. It’s also a versatile technique that can install piles of many different diameters that suit a variety of soil conditions. However, the operator must take care not to allow the sides of the hole to collapse into the concrete, as that could create soil-filled gaps within the pile.
Auger-bored piling also makes it possible to install an extended base through underreaming. However, the soil needs to be relatively stiff and hard for this technique to work.
At Ram Jack of Indiana, we’re proud to be the Carmel, IN, area’s experts on foundation repair. If your piles were improperly installed, don’t delay. Visit our website for more information about our services, or contact us today for a free estimate.