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What is the Difference Between Friction and End Bearing Piles?

By 18/05/2023June 13th, 2023No Comments

Deep foundation piling is absolutely essential for reinforcing the foundations of any large buildings or structures. Piling is the process of installing piles – vertical supports that help bear the weight of a structure – within the foundations of large structures. This helps prevent subsidence: warping, cracking, or sinking of parts of the building due to uneven foundations. Installing piles is vital if you are constructing any kind of large structure that will put a heavy load on the earth beneath it, whether it’s a car park, a bridge, or an office block.

But even once you know you need to install piles on your site, there are still so many more decisions to make! Should your piles be concrete or steel? Pre-cast or cast-in-situ? Driven or screwed into the earth? Here at Rhino Piling, we want our customers to be fully informed before making any decisions about their project, so we put together these guides to help. Today we’ll be looking at the differences between friction piling and end bearing piling, and which may be right for your site!

Friction Piles

Friction piles utilise the forces of friction to help transfer the load of the structure into the surrounding earth. These piles are designed to maximise the coefficient of friction between the pile and the soil, allowing the mud and dirt to grip the sides of the support firmly. This means the entire length of the pile is being used to transfer the load evenly throughout the soil. Friction piles are used when there is no hard rocky layer to use for end bearing piles, or if it is too deep to reach. However, friction piles are only suitable in certain soil conditions, and cannot be cast-in-situ.

End Bearing Piles

End bearing piles are likely the ones you picture in your head when you think about piling. End bearing piles simply transfer the load of the structure onto a hard layer of earth or rock beneath the surface, bypassing the soft soil and earth and allowing the strong layer to take the strain. End bearing piles can be cast-in-situ, pre-cast, driven, or bored, depending on the needs of your project, but can only be used if a hard layer of rocky earth exists within reach beneath the structure.

If you have a piling project and you’d like some expert advice, get in touch! Our team has over a century of collective experience, and our structural engineers have decades in the field. Check out our website for more information.