What’s a fur cap?

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A pile cap is a reinforced concrete slab that evenly distributes the load of a group of foundation piles. It can also refer to caps placed on wooden posts to protect them from rot and birds. Piles are used as foundations for buildings with poor soil quality or steep slopes. The construction of a pile cap involves cutting the posts to the same length, excavating the area around them, and pouring concrete into a mold. Pile caps can also refer to caps fitted to the exposed ends of wooden piles to prevent rot and nesting.

The term “pile cap” can be used to describe a reinforced concrete slab built on top of a group of foundation piles to evenly displace or distribute the load they must bear. It can also refer to plastic or fiberglass caps placed on top of wooden posts to protect them from rot and to prevent birds from nesting on the posts. More commonly, however, the term refers to the concrete slab that is cast onto concrete or steel piles once they are properly trimmed and prepared. These slabs offer a larger area for building the columns they support and also help distribute the weight of the structure across all the posts in a group allowing them to better support the load.

Piles are used as foundations where the size of the building, poor soil quality at shallow depths and steep site slopes preclude the use of conventional or rafted foundations. Piles are long, solid or hollow sections of steel, wood or concrete driven into the ground by a pile driver, placed in already excavated cavities or cast in situ in specially drilled holes. In the case of driven pile foundations, several piles are usually placed together in a group. A reinforced concrete slab is cast on top of the group to form a single structural element. This allows for even distribution of the weight that the stack group will carry so that no single member is overloaded.

To construct a post cap, the posts are first cut to ensure that the individual columns are all the same length and that their tops are flush. An area around the set of posts is then excavated to accommodate the wooden framework that will form the box or mold for the concrete. The bracing for the slap will typically be constructed in the form of a steel cage which is then inserted into the casting box and secured to the post assembly, typically with a wood frame or cross member.

At this point, the concrete can be poured into the mold and allowed to cure. Once the concrete has cured properly, the wooden framing can be removed, leaving a reinforced concrete slab joining the posts. Now the rest can begin the structural work of the building, using these slabs as foundation points.

The term “pile cap” can also refer to fiberglass or acrylic caps that are fitted to the exposed ends of wooden piles, particularly in marine applications. These protect the raw ends of the posts from the ingress of moisture and subsequent rotting of the wood. These caps often have pointed ends to prevent waterfowl from nesting on top of the piles.

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