One of the primary benefits of creating foundations with screw piles is that they are suitable for application on a range of surfaces. From very soft and loose, to very dry and hard. But what about sand? Notoriously difficult to build on, sand presents many construction problems. So, are screw piles up to the challenge?
What Do You Need to Know About Installing Screw Piles in Sand?
So, let’s start with the most important question:
Can you install screw piles in sand?
The short answer here is, ‘yes’. Screw piles can be safely used on sand. But it’s important to remember that not all sand is the same. Some has thicker grains and sits more loosely, kind of like gravel. Other sand can be much finer, and therefore sit more densely. Then there’s the locations where you’re dealing with a mix of the two. So, before you do anything, you need to really understand the conditions that you’re working with.
Hacks for installing screw piles in sand
1. Get a soil report
A soil report will tell you everything you need to know to build safely. Not just the type and makeup of the sand you’re working with, but its depth, and what’s beneath it. Basically, all the information you need to calculate its weightbearing capacity, suitability for building, and the depth you’ll need to set your helical piles.
2. The deeper you go the better
Your soil report may well tell you that the sand is simply a surface covering. But when you’re dealing with sand, it plays safe to sink your piles deeper. Your aim should be to properly anchor your screw piles in whatever soil lies beneath the sand. This will give you maximum loadbearing potential.
3. Work out your weightbearing
And following on from the above, it’s really important that you understand what your screw piles are going to have to support before you begin. That way, you’re going to produce the safest and most durable foundations for your project.
4. Be aware of water levels
Not all sand is found by water. But if you’re working in area subject to tides or floods, then you need to keep this in mind when planning. Because regardless of your foundation type, this has the potential to seriously impact your structural integrity.
How do you install screw piles in sand?
The basic process for installing screw piles remains the same, regardless of the medium you’re working in.
If you’re working on a larger project, or need your helical piles to go particularly deep, groundworks vehicles can help. Screw piles can be installed by any machine that can produce rotation. So, a skid steer or excavator could complete the job well.
For more modest projects, such as creating the foundations for a garden shed or small deck, you can install your screw piles by hand. Having access to the right tools will make the process easier. But you simply need to make a hole and manually rotate each pile until it sits at the desired height. Ideally, this should be a two-person job to ensure that the pile remains straight.
Installing screw piles on sand can seem like a daunting prospect. But helical piles actually present the easiest and safest way to create foundations on a range of surfaces, including sand. There’s no need for excavation, making it a faster, cheaper, and cleaner process. There’s no waste. And because you can anchor your piles into the firmer soil below, it creates a far more secure base for any structure.
If you need support finding the right screw piles for you next project, get in touch with UK Helix.
Disclaimer –Information in this blog does not in any way constitute building advice or guidance for private or commercial building projects.