House foundation using screw piles

Deciding to build a new home comes with a lot of important decisions and foundation selections is number 1. Being in the helical pile business, we have repaired our fair share of sinking homes. Repairing a sinking foundation is not a cheap endeavour and that’s why it is important to get it right the first time. Using helical piles is one way to avoid getting yourself into one of these situations.

Why Use Helical Piles for Your House Foundation?

Helical piles are adaptable and beneficial to most foundation situations. A helical pile foundation may be beneficial to you if;

  1. You have extremely bad soil conditions on your property.
  2. Your property has a high water table.
  3. You are behind schedule and need a fast solution
  4. You want to ensure that your house never settles
  5. Your building location has uneven ground
  6. Your structure is temporary and you may move the location in the future.
  7. You have adjacent structures limiting your excavation depth for footing.

There are a few situations where helical piles will not help you.

  1. Bedrock is at a shallow depth below grade on your property
  2. Your site is full of obstructions (extremely rocky material, garbage backfill, ect).
  3. The soil where you plan to place your footing is strong and competent.

Basement Foundation

Basement foundations are what most people align with when discussing foundations. In Canada, most houses are built with a basement and utilize strip footings and foundations walls for their construction. A basement can provide a lot of added space to a home and cheap space at that verses building an additional floor level onto you house.

Helical Piles are often incorporated into basements foundation when the soil conditions on your property are very weak at the depth you plan to have your footings. Digging deeper to better ground conditions may not be possible or economic depending on the severity and depth of the bad conditions. Excavating an addition 5-10’ deeper to find strong ground conditions can be very expensive and a logistical nightmare depending on your project location. 

You also must consider adjacent structures that could be undermined when having to excavate deeper for better ground. When digging an excavation deeper than 4’, the proper slopping must be in effect to provide safety to workers when performing tasks in the excavation. Depending on the distance between you and you neighbor(s) structures, having to go deeper for your footings could result in an expensive shoring system having to be installed in order to provide a safe excavation that doesn’t undermine adjacent structures. You can use helical piles to transfer the load of the house to deeper better soil while keeping your footing at your desired depth below grade minimizing or eliminating the extra excavation entirely.

Helical Piles can also be used as an insurance policy against your house sinking. If you are unsure about the ground conditions on your site, helical piles are a great hedge to your house not sinking. The capacity of every helical pile is know immediately after installation. Torque measurement equipment is used during the installation giving us an exact strength of your soil. This is why helical piles are the most trusted pile in the foundation industry.

Basement foundation screw piles

Above Ground Foundation

Above ground foundations are desirable for several reasons. The main reason is that they are cheaper than a basement foundation. When using an above ground foundation, your house will typically sit 2-3’ above grade, allowing for a crawl space. Having your entire house above grade drastically reduces the amount of excavation that is required. In some cases, excavation may not be required at all along with all of the involved concrete/block work. This works out to be a significant savings even when factoring the costs involved to install a helical pile foundation. A helical pile foundation is cheaper than basement foundation every time!

Above ground foundations are used anywhere that it is too wet to have a basement foundation. If your property is at risk of flooding, an above ground foundation is the best choice.

Helical piles are a great option for anyone looking to build using an above ground foundation. Helical piles;

  1. Are easy to install. Most installs can be done in 1-3 days depending on the size of your house.
  2. Can be built on immediately after installation. No waiting for concrete to cure. This can be crucial to a project schedule.
  3. Can be cut off at any level leaving you with as much crawl space as desired.
  4. Produce no mess and minimally impact existing landscaping.
  5. Can be installed all year around including winter
  6. Can be uninstalled and reused for temporary structures.

Above ground foundation using helical piles

Sloped Land

Helical Piles are also beneficial when building a structure on an slope/hill. 

If your property is extremely saturated and the water table is high, a traditional basement foundation may not be possible. Drilling and setting concrete piers may not be an option either as concrete cannot be poured directly into water. Helical piles are not affected by wet conditions or a high water table and that makes them the most efficient and economical solution in this scenario.

If you are planning to add an extension to your house, you should consider helical piles for your foundation. When putting on an addition, you may have limited access due to adjacent houses (neighbors). We have equipment that is 33” wide that can fit into virtually any backyard.

Helical Piles Are Strong

A common misconception about helical piles is that they only have the capacity to support decks and other small structures. We have the capabilities to install helical piles with a design capacity of 100 000 Pounds. Our foundations are typically designed to last 100 years plus! Helical pile stand up to the test of time. The first recorded use of helical piles dates back to the 19th century. They were mainly used for lighthouse foundations. Some of those light houses still stand today on their helical pile foundations.

Helical pile foundation diagram

Cost

There will be numerous factors that that will determine the cost of the helical Piles foundation such as;

  1. Size of structure that is being supported. Supporting a 1 story house will be cheaper than supporting a 2 story house with the same footprint.
  2. Location of project – Is your project close to the helical pile installers area. Will there be significant travel involved.
  3. Severity and extent of poor soil conditions – Will the installer have to install 10’ or 20’ of helical pile before acceptable soil is encountered. 
  4. Project access – This will dictate the size of equipment that will be used. The more space you have, the bigger the equipment that can be used which means the job can get done quicker.

3 Reasons Why Helical Piles Are Economic

  1. Low Cost Mobilization – The equipment required to install helical piles is small and compact compared to other deep foundation methods.
  2. Quick Installation – A typical house foundation installation takes 1-3 days. Saving time is a huge cost savings to the overall project.
  3. No Mess or Spoils – Removal and disposal of drill spoil can be time consuming and in some cases very costly, especially in environmentally sensitive areas. Removing existing landscaping can also be very costly especially when it needs to be replace after

Helical piles are typically cost less than installing a concrete foundation. We have found that the helical pile foundation will cost the same as the concrete scope (labor and material) for a basement foundation, meaning you will save the cost to do the excavation and backfilling.

Winter is no match for screw pile foundations

Process

  1. Contact us – Give us a call. Describe your project and we’ll be able to let you know if we can help.
  2. If helical piles are a good fit for your project, we will provide you with a quote.
  3. Once quote is accepted, we will do engineered shop drawings to be submitted to your local building department.
  4. Schedule and install date.
  5. Start building structure. Construction can begin immediately after installation. 

If you are still wondering if a helical pile foundation is the right foundation for you, give us a call today and we can help you figure that out. Our team of helical pile specialist have seen it all and will be able to let you know what you’ll need to ensure your new home is built on a solid foundation!