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A Closer Look at Helical Piers: Essential Elements of Modern Foundation Support

A Closer Look at Helical Piers: Essential Elements of Modern Foundation Support

November 29, 2023

Building a sturdy foundation is a critical aspect of any construction project. A reliable method often used incorporates a distinctive component known as a Helical Pier. These innovative and beneficial additions to your foundation not only ensure stability but can also provide the necessary lift to your structure. Let's delve into understanding the role of helical piers and how their screw-like structure offers indispensable support.

In its simplest form, a helical pier is a steel shaft with helices, similar to screws, at the end. These are driven into the ground and then connected to the foundation structure above ground. Also known as helical piles or screw piles, they are increasingly popular in both residential and commercial construction due to their efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and ease of installation.

The intriguing design of helical piers makes them a fascinating element in the construction industry. The structure somewhat resembles a giant screw. The "helix," or multiple helixes, at the end provide a significant increase in anchoring power. The concept is straightforward – the pier is screwed into the ground until it reaches a depth that offers stable soil or rock layer. Simply put, the helical pier functions much like a regular screw would when securing a picture frame onto a wall, only on a much grander scale.

Helical piers provide crucial support to your structure. Once a helical pier is driven into the ground, brackets are then attached to the foundation. These brackets assist in transferring the weight of the structure onto the pier and further on to the stable soil or bedrock. This method ensures that your structure is not sitting on loose or weakened soil layers that may shift, thus effectively combatting potential foundation failure.

Interestingly, helical piers also offer an additional feature – they can provide lift to a structure. Some buildings may begin to settle or sink over time due to various reasons, such as soil movement, erosion, or poor initial foundation construction. Professionals install helical piers beneath these structures, screw them down to solid ground, and then using hydraulic jacks attached to the pier brackets, they slowly lift the foundation to the desired or necessary level. Thus, helical piers not only prevent further sinking but can also correct existing structural issues.

There are multiple advantages of using helical piers. They are quick to install, with minimal equipment and workforce required, and can be used even in confined spaces. They do not create vibrations that could potentially damage surrounding structures. Furthermore, they are reusable, making them an excellent choice for temporary structures. They are also highly durable, being made of galvanized or corrosion-protected steel, and can remain effective for many decades.

Environmental sustainability is another critical factor where helical piers shine. Traditional foundation methods can disturb and displace a lot of soil, whereas the installation of helical piers causes minimal disturbance to the surrounding environment. This feature makes them an appealing choice for projects seeking to reduce their environmental footprint.

To sum it up, helical piers with their screw-like structure have revolutionized the construction industry. They provide tremendous support and, when required, an efficient lifting mechanism to structures. Easy to install, durable, and eco-friendly, helical piers play a significant role in crafting robust, long-lasting constructions. They assure homeowners, architects, and builders alike a reliable means to ensure the stability and longevity of their structures.