Helical Piers: What They Are and How They Work





Helical Piers: What They Are and How They Work


Anyone who is interested in home construction, including both homeowners and construction workers alike, needs to learn about the utility a helical pier provides. Helical piers can save a home from a faulty foundation or provide solid ground for construction to begin. Besides home construction, helical piers have many other uses, such as providing a strong foundation for utilities like pipelines and windmills. With their many uses in mind, it’s time to understand helical piers, including what they are and how they work.

What Are Helical Piers?

Helical piers are long steel rods with a helix, or screw, at the end. Their screw-like appearance and installation method has given them the name “screw anchors” or “screw piles” in the past. Iron-cast helical piers were used to build the foundation for iconic American lighthouses since the 19th century, and as technology improved to create even sturdier high-quality steel, their usefulness has skyrocketed.


Unlike traditional concrete excavations, steel helical piers don’t disturb the earth below, which means that they have a low impact on the environment. Installation of helical piers takes less time than concrete excavation techniques, allowing for less fossil fuel usage and less work.


Once the helical pier is buried into solid ground, the top is cut and capped, so a foundation for the building can be layered on top. Helical piers that are used to support sturdy bridges or docks can often still be seen after construction is complete, as the structures can be built on top of the capped piers.

How Helical Piers Work

By installing a helical pier, you are transferring the weight of the construction above ground to the sturdier steel beams that connect directly to the sturdiest earth beneath poor soil. Helical piers twist through the unstable earthly foundation until they are planted in untouched ground far below the surface. Most often, lakeside homes are the victims of poor soil conditions due to the moisture in the earth, which is where a helical pier would come into use. They are useful for any kind of force that wants to displace the structure above, such as shifting earth or flooding.


Our team of in-house engineers will work with your installers to test the soil and ensure the helical piers are installed properly. They can also provide you with more information on what helical piers are and how they work. Once the custom helical pier systems are installed, the foundation of any project, such as a home addition, wind turbine, or solar panel, can be secured for years to come. If you’re interested in a helical pier from Helical Pier Distributions, contact us to discuss your custom helical pier with free shipping.