What is Piling and How Does It Work? A Simple Guide to the Piling Foundation Process

Since the middle ages, deep foundations have been driven into the earth using a technique known as piling. Piling is crucial to the stability and success of many building structures – including has homes, bridges, viaducts, and roads. But what is piling? And how does piling work?

Piles are required where soil and earth are performing poorly and are used to spread the load of a building and firm the ground. They are a cost-effective approach to combating corrosion and are proven to significantly improve the life expectancy of a structure.

At Dart & Co Foundations, we specialise in piling and mini-piling for a range of structures. Today we will answer the questions of ‘what is piling?’ and ‘when is it required?’ as well as giving advice on how to deal with corrosion issues. If cost is what you’re interested in, we have a free foundations cost calculator that will generate a quote in just a few quick steps.

Did you know – the entire city of Venice is built on wooden piles over the sea water?

What are structural piles made of?

Piles can be made from metal, concrete, wood or steel. In construction, they support buildings with weak soil and are driven into the ground by hammering.

There are two main types of pile, these are replacement and displacement. Replacement piles are put into holes or augured out of the earth to replace it. Displacement piles are pre-formed and driven into the ground, displacing the earth they are driven through.

How are piles used?

Piled foundations generally carry heavy loads so they must be designed carefully and professionally. Special care must be taken when spacing the piles so that loads are even and take place over the entire space.

Performing two main functions, piles work together with a foundation in the following ways:

Sinking foundation repair

Foundation repair specialists install piles into the ground using hydraulics. Once installed, the piles will surface, re-level and raise a building structure.

Structural reinforcement

Even if a foundation is damaged, the installation of piles works to defend against potential future issues by ensuring that your foundation remains level.

As construction engineers, we study the soil to ensure that there are no overloads or capacity increases once the piles have been inserted.

How does piling work?

The job of the pile is to distribute the weight of the structure evenly. They are placed into the ground using a pile driver. Holding the piles perfectly vertical, this machine hammers each structure into the ground and also acts as a crane.

Bespoke piling installation

Occasionally, it can be difficult to install piles in sensitive locations due to the large soil vibrations and disruption. Certain locations require minimal disturbance, therefore, we specialise in mini piles/micro piling. Mini piling works by digging into the ground with the appropriate apparatus, lowering the concrete pile into the hole and pouring concrete gaps between the pile and the earth.

piling process

Do you need pile installation?

Driven piles are ideal for residential projects due to quick installation and competitive pricing. There are various signals that may arise if the home requires extra support or is showing signs of foundation damage.

  • Chimney becoming unaligned with the home
  • Doors and windows not opening/sticking out
  • Exterior cracks
  • Drywall interior cracks

Dart & Co Foundations

Dart & Co is an Exeter based piling contractors specialising in piling for a range of terrains with a range of methods include driven piling and mini piling. We are competent in designing foundations and our qualified engineers provide bespoke solutions and work to the highest standards to ensure the firmness and durability of any structure.

Fill out our contact form or give us a call on 0800 206 1563.

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