Helical Piles VS Concrete Piers

by | Dec 7, 2019 | Micropiles

In response to an increasing global demand for new construction, engineers and contractors are always looking for newer, faster ways of laying down a foundation. In addition to speed, they also need a foundation system that is stable, durable, and long-lasting. In the past, engineers often turned to bored concrete piers, but thanks to recent innovations, many are now turning to helical pile systems instead. 

Understanding The Differences

For contractors and engineers looking to weigh the merits of both systems, we’ve assembled a brief overview of the two foundation systems.

Bored Concrete Piers

Bored concrete piles are a type of reinforced foundation system. Generally, these foundations are used to support large buildings or heavy loads. These concrete piles have to be cast on site and require the use of specialty equipment to first remove the soil from the site of the pile, and then to pour concrete into the freshly drilled shaft. The removed soil has to be removed from the work site, and in many cases, there is leftover concrete once the pile has been poured.  The process by which bored concrete piles are made requires the use of a variety of machines, specialized equipment, and is time and resource-intensive. While these systems often result in a very sturdy foundation, this is only true if the soil it is located in is already of high-quality and not near a water table. In these cases, if the soil is too loose, or the water table too high, the shaft has to be dug deeper, and the hole may have to be reinforced with steel cages or stabilizing materials. This adds cost, time, and labor to an already expensive process.

Helical Pile Systems

Using a prefabricated screw pier, installing a helical pile makes creating a foundation quick and precise. Helical piles have been proven to support larger, heavier loads than other foundation systems, and use fewer materials to do so. These helical piles are brought in to a job site, pre-assembled. Utilizing common construction equipment, or in some cases, even hand tools, a helical pile can be drilled and stabilized into the soil. There is no leftover soil from this process, as the helical pile embeds itself in the earth.  Advancements in helical pile technologies ensure that these foundation systems are effective in a variety of soils, even soil that is loose or of poor quality. If the helical pile needs to be forced deeper into the soil, the installation team can add extensions until the desired carrying capacity is achieved. 

The STELCOR® System

Both systems have their merits and provide a practical way to put down a foundation for a building. With these elements in mind, IDEAL Foundation Systems produced the STELCOR® system that utilizes the best of both systems. Recognizing a need or stable foundations in areas with shallow or poor quality soil, the STELCOR system makes use of a helical pile system, and then further affixes the pile in place by pouring grout into the helical pile. The load-bearing soil is displaced, and the grout ensures that greater loads can be put on the foundation at lesser depths. The system is vibration-free, which keeps the surrounding environment from being impacted. Rather than relying on harmful concrete and related products, the STELCOR system has a very mild environmental impact and can be removed easily if need be.

Contact IDEAL Today

If you’re undertaking a large construction project and need a stable and strong foundation system, reach out to IDEAL Foundation System to inquire into our STELCOR system. Our specialists can provide you a quote for your project and give you the insight you need into your project. Contact us today.