Here’s How Helical Piers Conquer ‘Unsuitable’ Soil

Helical piers are recommended by structural engineers to overcome challenging soil conditions.

These piers can be used to secure foundations on new construction, older buildings, and additions to existing structures.

Keep reading below to learn how helical piers are effective in any type of ground soil.

Understanding How Soil Affects Your New Construction

Whether you’re building a new commercial facility or home, the first step is testing the soil. This needs to be done so engineers and installers know how to construct a strong foundation.

A geotechnical soil engineer is an expert in soil-structure interaction. They will study a proposed building site and provide recommendations on how to design the foundation and facilitate proper drainage. They’ll also diagnose if the soil is compressive or expansive.

Expansive soils are responsible for most foundation damage. They swell when wet and shrink when dry, which causes foundations to become uneven and bow or lean.

Homeowners with expansive soil need to ensure they have proper drainage around their home to avoid having hydrostatic pressure damage their foundation. This could include sump pumps, drain tile systems, or specific landscaping features.

Engineers Incorporate Helical Piers in Foundation Blueprints

It’s possible that a geotechnical soil engineer may describe the soil under your building site as “unsuitable.” This means the soil properties and characteristics are not strong or dense enough to support the weight of a structure.

Years ago, this news would’ve been devastating to someone building a factory or home, but helical pier foundation installation has made it possible to build on most types of soil.

Soil engineers create soil boring logs and give them to your structural engineer. These logs determine how deep into the ground your installer will have to go to find buildable and stable soil.

A structural engineering firm will use the soil boring logs and load calculations to complete a set of drawings with a helical pier layout or grid pattern.

Every layout is different. In some cases, helical piers are only required on the perimeter foundation footprint and center column locations, and other times, they’re needed for the foundation footprint and floor slab.

Installers like us will use the helical pier layout to secure your foundation.

How Helical Piers Permanently Secure Your Structure

Are you wondering how helical piers work? Helical pier installation is quick and relatively easy compared to other foundation repairs.

They work similar to a screw and are advanced into the ground from a hydraulic drive head attached to a skid steer or excavator. It looks like they’re augured into the ground.

As the steel helical piers are driven into the ground, foundation repair experts will monitor for soil torque on gauges attached to the drive head. Soil torque is more important than depth when installing helical piers.

Installers know the helical pier is ready to support the weight of a structure once it reaches proper soil torque and embedment.

Call USS for Helical Pier Installation  

Thanks to helical piers, what was once considered “unbuildable” is now “buildable.” USS has been helping Illinois businesses and homeowners conquer “unsuitable” soil since 1995.

We are experts in installing helical piers at all stages of construction. Call us today at 847-382-2882 if you have any questions about how to install helical piers or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation.