How does piling work?

November 15, 2022

Piling provides support to new buildings in two cases:

  • when the soil near the surface is unlikely to sustain the weight of the structure,
  • when structures are so large that extra fundamental support is needed regardless of local soil conditions.
Piles come in a variety of forms, with each type defined by the method by which the load is transferred to the ground, the installation procedure, and the material they are constructed from. In this post, we’ll take a quick look at some of the most common pile types used in modern building projects and see how they can provide the necessary support for buildings constructed on top of them.
Pile Types by Load Transfer
There are two distinct techniques in which a pile can transfer the weight of a building to the soil beneath it or to the bedrock that may be found at a greater depth. In practice, both techniques are employed to one degree or another:
End Bearing Piles
They are also known as point-bearing piles since they are utilized to transfer weight to a secure stratum several feet below the ground surface. Piles used are called end-bearing piles because the majority of their support comes from soil or rock resistance at the end of each pile, or its “toe”. The friction of the soil against the pile shafts is another source of support, as with the kind of piers mentioned above.
Friction Piles
Friction piles may be used on sites with severely difficult soil conditions or where a viable depth of stratum is not available. The friction, or resistance, of the surrounding earth to the side of the piles is what allows this sort of piling to support a great deal of building weight. In reality, as with end-bearing piling, friction piles utilize a portion of the load-bearing capacity from the toe of each pile.
Pile Types by Installation Technique
The way in which piling is put in place is another method of classifying piles. The most popular methods are the following:
Driven Piles
This type of pile is driven into the earth, as you might expect. Driven piles are installed after they have been prefabricated on location. Steel, concrete, or timber may be used to construct driven piles.
Bored Piles
Piling bored is done by boring holes in the planned locations and filling the bores with reinforced concrete. The term continuous flight augured piles is used to describe a boring and pouring operation that is done simultaneously.
Screw Piles 
This type of pile is made of a hollow steel tube with helices attached to the outer surface of the shaft, near the toe. It is wound into the earth. Both the helices and shafts may be adjusted to accommodate a broad range of soil conditions.
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