A home’s stability is measured by its foundation. Therefore, if you are planning a residential project, you need to make sure your foundation is one that is approved by structural engineers. Whether you are building a new home or adding on an extension, the foundation piling must be applied correctly, done in compliance with building regulations.
Why a Pile Foundation Is Used
Needless to say, if you are building an extension or home from the ground up, you will become well-acquainted with the work of piling contractors. A pile is a long cylinder that is made of a durable and strong material, such as concrete. The cylinder is inserted into the ground to support the home or extension that is built on top of it. Therefore, a pile foundation is normally used for the following reasons:
- The surface soil is weak. Therefore, a building’s weight must bypass this layer and be supported by a stronger soil farther below the surface.
- If a structure features concentrated and heavy loads such as water tank, bridge, or high-rise, piles need to be used to support the design.
Structurally, two basic piles are used – either end-bearing piles or friction piles. An end-bearing pile is designed to rest on rock or strong soil. Therefore, the pile serves as a type of column. The principle behind the design is to rest the bottom end of the pile where the weak and strong soils intersect. In turn, the load of a structure bypasses the weaker layer and is securely transferred to the stronger layer.
Friction piles, on the other hand, transfer a structure’s load to the soil over the entire height of a pile. This is done through friction. Therefore, the cylindrical pile is designed to transfer the load force to the soil.
Piles may be made of one of various materials. However, they normally are constructed with wood, steel, or concrete. Traditional wood piles are normally used to support structures at sites where the surface soil is weak.
Concrete piles, on the other hand, are precast or constructed at ground level before being driven or hammered into the ground.
Steel-H piles are also driven into the ground. Steel-H piles are made to handle heavy loads as well as save on the time spent on construction. Because steel-H piles are not designed with a protective finish, concrete piles are used at sites where the soil is more corrosive.
Indeed, piles are designed to carry demanding loads. That is why engineers must study the soil where a pile is placed so it can adequately and safely bear a certain weight. Therefore, care is exercised to make sure that the loads for a structure are evenly distributed over the soil and not are concentrated in certain areas.