diy helical piers for decks
Since becoming a dealer, I’ve installed piles to support decks, porches, boardwalks across wetlands, industrial equipment, and business signs; to shore up failing house footings; and to underpin concrete slabs that were settling. The answer is, it depends. Height of Deck … The most common type of footings for decks are concrete piers (another option that’s becoming more common are helical-pile footings) and there’s a lot to know just to get out of the ground. Helical Piers is also known as a helical pile, helical anchor and at times call screw piers and often used interchangeably. Additional lengths of shaft can be welded on, and the pile driven as deep as needed to reach soil with adequate bearing capacity. This is how you build a structurally sound deck without concrete. Additionally, I always wondered how much weight my concrete piers could support. Get a Free Quote! Helical piers, or piles, are used to secure new or existing foundations. For my company, the advantages of helical piles far outweigh the drawbacks, but that might not be the case for yours. Nearly all cities have recognized helical piles as a superior foundation option for decks, 3 season porches and additions. The first project I ever did — a 30-ft. by 80-ft. deck for a winery — exemplifies some advantages of helical piles. The last time I did this, the homeowner ended up with a $6,000 change order for additional excavation, not including the soil engineer's fees. When the helix is below the frostline and the pressure gauge hits a high enough number relative to the loading requirements of the structure, the installation is complete. I learned that a helical pile is a manufactured steel foundation that screws into the soil (Figure 1). Hundreds of articles and videos by top deck-building pros on how to design and build a beautiful, sturdy, and safe deck. The amount that the pile sinks indicates the soil bearing capacity, which an engineer will verify. Figure 1. Instead of massive concrete footings, helical piers—each capable of supporting 5,000 to 8,000 pounds—were installed to support the freestanding deck. My experience is that once they see the finished product along with a stamped field report, they not only believe in helical piles, they recommend them to other contractors. A solid foundation is necessary for the construction of a deck. Check out our deck footing frost map to help you understand how deep your footings will need to be excavated. After almost 20 years in construction, I became a dealer for Techno Metal Post (TMP), a helical-pile manufacturer. Greg has also made TV appearances on the The Today Show, DIY Network, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, House Smarts, and the Food Network. You wouldn't know it by looking, but this pile penetrates about 13 feet into the ground. Figure 5. “Passionate” is the best word that can be used to describe Greg DiBernardo. The 6 1/4-inch Paverdeck panels are screwed to galvanized 10-inch LGS steel beams bolted to … The helical pile's bearing capacity usually relates to the torque required to drive it. When you account for all the costs of conventional footings, helical piles are surprisingly affordable. When you are building a deck, the first step is to install the footings. Get complete site access to expert advice, how-to videos, Code Check, and more, plus the print magazine. Helical piers are basically a steel pipe or square shaft that has one to four steel plate “helices” welded onto it. To start with, installing a helical pile requires hiring a subcontractor to perform the work, unless you invest in training and equipment, as I did. Next, a cap is inserted into the pile to protect its top. Deck Footings. Home owners and contractors can build or repair decks and porches effortlessly and be guaranteed a strong, stable, and durable structure. Their job is to take the weight of the structure and transfer it stable, load-bearing soil deep within the earth. Once the ground is warmed, the pile is driven normally (right).Photo credit: Dave Northup. Although pricing for piles can vary widely based on availability, contractor, and location, my company can install four piles for a typical residential deck for $600 to $900. Helical piles can be driven almost anywhere, install in minutes, don’t make a mess, and come in sizes that can support an enormous variety of structures. Two big ones are that they eliminate the tasks of digging footing holes and dealing with concrete. As the driver turns the pile, it simply screws into the ground until the installer is confident it's below the frostline and in soil with sufficient bearing capacity. Load testing, as opposed to taking a torque reading, is done in several instances. Generally, a helical pile installer will select a smaller helix for rocky soils and a larger one for marshy and clay soils. Many store-bought DIY versions of the screw pile, such as the Pylex helical screw piles, offer u-shaped heads that can hold a 4×4 or 6×6 wood post. Because helical piles don't disturb the ground much, they can be installed alongside existing landscape features. Synopsis: Helical piles are steel footings that screw into the ground. (Some departments don't require a stamp. And we'd often still have to wheelbarrow yards of concrete from the street to the backyard. Sometimes, the installer can actually steer the helix around a rock, then use the machine's boom to pull the pile back into plumb (Figure 8). No matter how hard you try, the use of heavy equipment needed to build concrete footings is going to destroy a finished yard and cause frustration. The machines used to drive the modern versions come in many sizes, from the walk-behind machine I use to versions that are mounted on excavators. Many of the advantages I discuss here are common among manufacturers. Contact our expert team for help on any marine construction project Helical Deck Support Piers > Back to Foundation Repair Products Helical piers make a strong, fast foundation for decks, sunrooms and other small structures. This revolutionary engineering technology was discovered and developed by Alexander Mitchell and became utilized as a successful foundation for lighthouses, bridges and piers. Read More. The 50″ helical screw pile from Pylex. Now that I am in the helical pile business, I frequently see situations where seemingly good soil turns to mush inches below where I would normally have installed a concrete footing. That said, you may have a local contractor who does residential work using other manufacturer’s products. A thick coating of zinc protects the steel piles from corrosion. The installer records the pressure readings, pile depth, and load-test results for each pile in a field report (Figure 9). His answer - helical piles - changed my business. For helical piles, frozen ground isn't an obstacle (Figure 10), so in colder climates they make building decks all year round easier to manage. If the concrete will come from a truck, how will it be moved to the hole? Their helical piers are accessible, both in cost and logistics. He’s also a Contributing Editor for Tools of the Trade magazine and a frequent author for The Journal of Light Construction and Fine Home Building.He has been a presenter and speaker for the National Association of Remodelers (NARI) and large building supply companies on advanced deck building and business topics.A deck and construction industry insider, Greg’s notoriety affords him close personal connections with major industry manufacturers assisting them with product development, design and testing of new and existing building materials. Assuming it passes the load test - it usually does - the pile will never move. Driving a helical pile in frozen ground begins with inserting a proprietary heating rod in a hole drilled with a rotary hammer (above). A field report filled out by the installer notes the piles' location and depth and either their torque readings or the amount they sank in a sledge-hammer test. Fully meets the Ontario Building Code. Load testing a helical pile is far simpler than it sounds. This would be followed by hours of joyless mixing in a wheelbarrow. It is possible to have multiple piles installed in a matter of … While there are other helical-pile installers, most don’t focus on residential work like TMP does. is a question I hear frequently from contractors considering helical piles for the first time. Finally, there's the value of an engineered product. Like any shallow foundation in the Northern regions of the US frost is the main concern. A Brief Overview. That's less than it costs me to install a concrete footing when I factor in all my labor costs in addition to the cost of the materials. It can be readjusted after installation by multiple inches. Many contractors assume that helical piles are too expensive. It is not uncommon for my helper and me to pull up to a job site first thing in the morning, install 10 or 12 piles for a large deck, and leave by midafternoon with no evidence of our having been there besides the piles themselves. Most other helical piers require a skid-steer or an excavator to provide the power for their drivers, but Techno Metal Post uses proprietary equipment that's small enough to fit through a gate, climb steps, and even drive onto an existing deck to retrofit footings, say to support a new hot tub. Photo credit: Greg DiBernardo, Figure 13. The frostline in the area of New Jersey where I build is at 36 inches, and we're blessed with every rocky soil type known to man. In most commercial and industrial applications, however, the piles aren't even galvanized. For more photos and details, click the View PDF button below: Sign up for eletters today and get the latest how-to from Fine Homebuilding, plus special offers. When a large rock is encountered above the frostline, it can be drilled and the pile's shaft pinned to the rock sans helix. There's no spoil dirt to lose on the site or haul away. For helical piles, frozen ground isn't an obstacle (Figure 10), so in colder climates they make building decks all year round easier to manage. Our Helical Pier system allows you to install a deck foundation in hours instead of days and build on it immediately. The smallest pile I install can support a 6,800-pound load, whereas a concrete pier would need to be bigger than 16 inches in diameter in verified 4,000-psi soil to achieve the same capacity. In frozen or wet ground, traditional footings can be difficult or impossible to install. Occasionally, however, there is so much rock on the job that helical piles just won't work. Total height of low level ground level deck. I had never heard of helical piles and had to Google them to find out what they were. Figure 8. Whether your project is new to your home (i.e. About two years ago, I stumbled upon a photo of a deck project that wasn't built on concrete piers, and I emailed the contractor to inquire about what he had used. They can also be installed where a traditional footing hole would fill with water as it was dug, making helical piles a good solution for boardwalks, docks, and lakeside decks (Figure 11) Become a member and get unlimited site access, including the The helical pier is screwed into the ground with a hydraulic torque motor. It's no problem to drive a helical pile to this depth (Figure 7). With helical piles, the torque correlation combined with per-pile load testing also means there is no need to test the soil capacity or rely on guessing. A gauge on the machine measures the hydraulic pressure, which correlates to the torque. However, because the deck was to be built over uncompacted fill, those footings needed to be 14 ft. … The reason buildings and decks don’t always return to their original height is that surrounding dirt sometimes fills in under the footing while it’s lifted. Techno Metal Post’s helical piers are the best foundation available to help you redefine your outdoor living space. This includes the pile, installation, engineering, and a bracket to connect the pile to the structure. A ground-level deck, sometimes referred to as a floating deck or platform deck, is so-called because, unlike conventional decks, a ground-level deck is not attached to a home or building. a deck or addition), or replacing existing footings, helical piers offer a fast, easy and permanent way to put the best footings possible in place. The screw pile can be reused. They can be used to support a foundation frame, deck, patio, second addition, or whatever you need to support! A helical pile in poor soil might extend down 20 feet; think about a traditional excavation that deep - if it were even possible to do - and how much dirt would be brought up. Often, the posts suppor… Helical piers (shown installed below) have been around for over a hundred years, but have only become more widely known within the last 20 years or so. It would have been impossible to dig a traditional footing in this ground without it filling with water. Ask your installer for this documentation to submit with your plans. What if it rains between the time of the excavation and the footing inspection so that the hole has 6 in. One is when the pile bottoms out on a large rock. Some of the machines used to drive the piles are small enough that they can be used inside a house — for example, to add a footing to a basement. The dynamic loading imposed by an impact load is surprisingly large and correlates to the static load a pile can handle. Helical piles also save a lot of time and offer a lot of load capacity in the bargain. Without a soil engineering report, it's impossible to know the exact bearing capacity of the soil, so I'd usually over-build the footing to be safe. Some manufacturers sell piles to anyone with a check that doesn't bounce. Helical piles don't create piles of waste soil the way conventional footings do. You may not have a helical-pile outfit locally available to you, but call around. Before I switched to helical piles, I wore out plenty of post-hole diggers and shovels, and I even bought a compact track loader with an auger to make installing deck foundations a little less offensive. Learn everything you need to know about installing concrete footings to support your deck. We will teach you how to determine the code compliant size of your footings based on the soil type and tributary loads. Maximum capacity of the steel helical pier is 80,000 pounds! Apr 2, 2017 - Explore Dave Keating's board "Helical pier or pile" on Pinterest. If your soil is firm and the climate is suitable, you can place the piers directly on level ground to support your deck. While a floating deck might be next to a building, it may also be a standalone structure in the middle of your yard. Start your subscription today and save up to 52%. The original design called for concrete footings. Innovative Pier Solutions specializes in deck pier solutions for a wide variety of landscapes, obstacles and project types. It has a lead or shaft - usually 7 feet long - welded to a helical bearing plate or helix, and a cap that attaches the shaft to the framing. For instance, footing inspections aren't required. Here, he discusses the parts of a helical pile, how to install one, and how to attach it to a structure. Next I'd have to schedule an inspection with building officials incapable of committing to a specific time or day, but with a knack for showing up after a heavy rain when my formerly pristine holes had become mud bogs. Normally, we just power through loose rock that's basketball-size and smaller. But it turns out that they have been used for more than 100 years in the United States, mainly on heavy commercial projects. However, because the deck was to be built over uncompacted fill, those footings needed to be 14 ft. deep to reach bearing soil. Apr 28, 20 11:17 AM. Figure 7. All of them work pretty much the same way. As the pier is screwed into the ground different sections are added. Helical piles offer a number of advantages over traditional footings. He’s a regular contributor to the industry’s trade publication, Professional Deck Builder magazine, writing feature articles that dictate the deck and outdoor industry’s best practices for design, construction and management. 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A couple of days instead of massive concrete footings, and there ’ s no need for trucks. - installing an Endless Pool, JLC Online: best practices for professional builders and remodelers pile works, call! ’ t the right choice and get instant access to thousands of videos, Code check, and I digging! A Google search on `` helical pile works, but this pile penetrates about 13 feet into the soil and... Deck pier installs in just minutes start out in backfill much rock on the job that piles! Hydraulic torque motor option for decks, 3 season porches and additions I always wondered how much weight my piers! Connect the pile 's bearing capacity, which correlates to the hole spoil dirt to lose on steep. Are a fast and hassle-free alternative to building your next deck around ¼! On level ground to below the frost line and the pile 's height is measured again but turns. Revolutionary engineering technology was discovered and developed by Alexander Mitchell and became utilized as a superior foundation for. Figure 7 ) then run doubled up 2x8 beams setting on the end like... Steel helical pier is screwed into the ground mud from bottom of footings. Hole. Post ( TMP ), a cap is slammed five times with a saying. The vertical part of the advantages I discuss here are Common among manufacturers loading for the helix to rocks!
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