More and more people are now using screw piles for construction projects. They are easy, versatile, and can be extremely cost-effective. But if you are using them for the first time, you’ll probably have some questions. And among the most common questions we’re asked is what are screw piles made of and how do screw piles work. So, that’s what we’re going to be talking about in this post.

What Are Screw Piles Made of? And Other Common Questions

What are screw piles made of?

Screw piles are made from hollow sections of steel tubing. With at least one helical flight attached to the exterior. This allows them to cut into the soil at a desired pitch. And hold firm without the need for concrete or other support mechanisms.  

The helical flights and shafts of screw piles vary according to the ground conditions they will be deployed in. So, the screw piles designed for heavy clay soil could look very different to those needed for use in sandy conditions.  

Though all screw piles tend to be made from steel, we would point out that the quality of the steel is of utmost importance. Not all steel is the same. Steel comes in different grades and screw piles require construction grade steel. Steel from different locations can differ in quality too. Finally, in recent years there has been an unfortunate trend by some to recycle or re-purpose previously used steel piping as screw piles. We strongly suggest avoiding repurposed steel tubing and ensuring your screw piles come from quality steel sources. In sum, check the origins of your steel. 

How do screw piles work?

Screw piles work by providing an anchor for structures to be built upon. Each pile helps with the even distribution of the load of the structure above. With piles secured in place through the tension of the earth around them. Once the piles have been installed, the protruding part can be attached to brackets or plates, upon which the structure can be attached or set in a concrete ring beam or raft.

How do you install screw piles?

Depending on the type of project and the space you have to work in, screw piles can be installed by hand, or using groundworks vehicles. With a screw pile installation tool, and two people, you should be able to complete small projects via hand installation quickly and efficiently. For larger projects, the use of an excavator can save you time and increase load capacities. 

How much does it cost to install screw piles?

With most small garden projects, there is no reason why you can’t take the DIY approach. In which case, screw pile installation only costs your time and possible machine rental. For bigger projects, like an extension you may consider working with a contractor and you will need to discuss installation fees with them.

When are screw piles needed?

Screw piles can be used as foundations for a wide range of structures and in a wide variety of conditions. So, unless you’re working on solid bedrock, ground riddles with obstructions screw piles could probably work for you. It’s just a case of making sure that you have the right helical piles for the conditions and the projected load of your structure. If you are unsure, your screw pile provider should be able to provide guidance.

How many screw piles do I need?

As a rough guide for a DIY project, screw piles should be placed every eight to ten feet (2.4 – 3 meters). You should be able to use this to calculate how many piles you will need to complete your project.

Working with screw piles for the first time can seem daunting. Anything new has the capacity to go wrong! But if you take care to understand your soil conditions, find out the load of your project, and work with a reputable screw pile supplier, you’ll soon discover how simple screw pile installation can be.

Get in touch with UK Helix to discuss your next construction project.  

Disclaimer –Information in this blog does not in any way constitute building advice or guidance for private or commercial building projects.

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