Varieties of Concrete Piles
Piles come in a variety of different materials. Timber, steel, and concrete are the most common materials to use in piling and each has its own advantages and disadvantages and methods best suited to the material’s properties. Concrete, being the only material that is convenient enough to use in liquid form, is more versatile and thus has a wide array of methods available. Let’s take a closer look:
Precast concrete piles are made in advance and then inserted into the ground, as you would with a wooden or steel pile. They can be installed two ways:
Driving a concrete pile done with a large machine called a pile driver. This machine will use a weight to hammer the pile deep into the earth.
Boring a concrete pile involved drilling a hole first and removing the excess earth before inserting the pile into the pre-carved hole.
Cast in-situ piles are exclusive to concrete and are done by drilling a hole in the earth to the desired depth, then filling the hole with liquid concrete, allowing it to set in place. Cast in-site concrete piles have a variety of options depending on the needs of then project:
Sometimes when casting concrete piles in-situ, a cylindrical casing is first inserted into the ground to provide a convenient space to fill with concrete. The casing itself can be either driven or bored into the ground and can be left in place permanently or removed once the concrete is set!
Concrete piles can be case in-situ without a casing! If the ground conditions are right and the hole isn’t at risk of collapse or filling with water or mud, then you can cast your in-situ piles by pouring your concrete straight in! One downside of this is that you cannot inspect the pile after it has set.
Cast in-situ piles are installed with a reinforcement cage made of steel to provide core strength for the pile. These cages are inserted into the casing or hole before the concrete is added, allowing it to set around the bars. Cages can be premade and transported to the site, or made as required during the piling process.