The Pros and Cons of Driven Piles

Piles for a foundation can be driven into the ground using various tools, such as hydraulic presses. Piles can also be installed by drilling a hole using a digging tool, such as an auger. Concrete or other materials can then be poured into that hole to form a pile. Each of these options has its own benefits and drawbacks. This article discusses some of the benefits and the shortcomings of driven piles. Use this information to decide whether this method of installation is suitable for your project.

The Pros of Driven Piles

Greater control of Pile Quality. Drive piles can be prefabricated at a factory. Such a method allows engineers to determine the exact dimensions that will make the pile to serve its purpose once it is installed. This is unlike drilled piles whose dimensions can be affected by the characteristics of the hole that is dug for them.

Improved Bearing Capacity. The act of using a tool to drive a pile into the ground forces the pile to push soil into the spaces around that pile. This displaced soil makes the surroundings of the pile to become compact since all voids will be filled by that shifting soil. Consequently, the pile will have a greater load-bearing capacity due to the strength of the soil around it.

Ideal for Managing Unforeseen Conditions. Driven piles handle unforeseen conditions better than drilled piles. For example, a driven pile is unlikely to release pressurised water in underground aquifers. Drilled piles can cause such pressurised water to shoot out of the ground as the hole is dug. Such an onrush of water can endanger nearby structures since their foundations may settle due to being inundated by water.

The Cons

Adjacent Properties Can Be Affected. The process of using heavy equipment to drive the piles into the ground can generate massive vibrations that can cause nearby buildings to crack or settle. Such an eventuality can cause project costs to spiral when the damage caused has to be fixed.

Special Handling Is Required. You need to use special equipment and vehicles to handle and transport the piles from the factory to the installation site. This specialised equipment is often costly to hire.

Weigh the pros and cons above when you are deciding which type of piles to use during your project. It is also advisable to get information about the other types of piles from a piling contractor before you make a final decision. That expert will enable you to select the most cost-effective option for your needs.