What are pile foundations? (29 characters)

Print anything with Printful

Pile foundations use long members of wood, steel or concrete to support structures on poor soils or heavy loads. They are driven into the ground with a pile driver or drilled and poured in place. A pile cap is placed on top to transfer weight to the subsoil. Quality beams can also be connected directly to the top of the posts.

Pile foundations use piles – long members of wood, steel or concrete that can be driven into the ground – as substructures to support the structures built on top of them. These foundations are often used in marine construction for bridges, piers, docks, oil rigs and wind farms. They are also commonly used where poor soils do not support other foundation designs and to support loads that would be too heavy for other types of traditional construction.

Historically, the members used in pile foundations prior to the 1800s were wood. Wood piles have been used throughout recorded history. After 1800 steel piles were developed and in 1900 concrete became available. Each of these materials has advantages and disadvantages, and all are still used in this type of construction.

Often, pile foundations are driven into place by a pile driver, a heavy piece of equipment that lifts a weight to a certain height and forcefully drops it onto the top of the pile. The weight pushes the post into the ground. This is repeated until the desired depth is reached. Steel is particularly easy to drive into the ground this way. Reinforced concrete posts must be specially reinforced to resist pounding with weight.

Piles can also be drilled and poured in place to create this type of foundation. This is often done in areas where post driving may not be practical, such as where there is low elevation. Drilling also allows the use of pile foundations in areas where the ground is very dense or hard. Often bored piles are formed using permanent casings, which can then be filled with concrete.

Once all the members have been placed in position for a pile foundation, a pile cap is usually placed on top of them. This usually takes the form of a large block of concrete, into which the tops of the posts are embedded. The cap has the function of transferring the weight of the overlying construction to the underlying members, which generally support the structure by absorbing its load, and transfers it to the deep subsoil on which they rest, as well as to the ground surrounding the pile.

Sometimes, quality beams are connected directly to the top of the posts. In these pile foundations, the load of the structure is transferred to the piles through the slope beam. This type of foundation is often seen in pier construction.

Protect your devices with Threat Protection by NordVPN

Skip to content