Helical piers are an effective solution for structurally stabilizing and supporting different structures. The helical pier system consists of a series of steel shafts with helix-shaped blades welded to the lower end, which are driven into the ground to provide a secure foundation.
Because they can be installed quickly and easily, helical piers have become increasingly popular in residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal applications. They are commonly used as part of foundation repair projects or when installing new foundations on difficult sites such as slopes or poor soil conditions.
In addition to providing strong support, one of the main advantages of helical piers is their longevity; if installed correctly and properly maintained, these systems can last for decades without any major issues. In this article, we discuss how long helical piers last and the factors that affect their lifespan.
1) Environment: The environment in which helical piers are installed plays a key role in determining their life expectancy. Cold climates tend to be more challenging for foundations due to frost heaving. The presence of constant moisture or extremely dry weather conditions can also impact the longevity of helical piers.
2) Material: The material used to manufacture the helical pier is another factor influencing its life expectancy. Steel or steel-alloy helical piers are more durable and last longer than other materials such as rebar, aluminum, or concrete.
3) Installation: Poor installation practices can lead to premature failure of helical piers due to improper load transfer or inadequate support. As such, it is important to ensure that they are properly installed according to specifications to last a long time.
4) Load Capacity and Weight Distribution: Helical piers must be able to bear their intended load capacity without failure or excessive deflection. The additional weight can cause them to bend and twist if they are overloaded, leading to early failure. In addition, it is important to ensure that the load is evenly distributed on all of the helical pier’s points for maximum stability.
5) Corrosion: Another factor that affects the life expectancy of helical piers is corrosion. Proper maintenance protocols should be followed to reduce any potential issues with rusting. This includes regular inspections, painting, and proper drainage around the footings to prevent water from pooling around them and causing damage over time.
6) Foundation Type: The type of foundation on which helical piers are installed will have an impact on their life expectancy. Shallow foundations tend to be more susceptible to failure than deeper foundations due to the increased risk of frost heaving and other environmental factors.
7) Soil Conditions: The soil conditions surrounding helical piers will also affect their life expectancy. Compacted and dense soils can offer more stability for the pier, while soft or sandy soils are more prone to shifting with changes in temperature or moisture levels.
8) Age: The age of a helical pier is another factor that affects its life expectancy. As they age, they become less effective at doing their job, leading to an earlier failure rate if not properly maintained over time.
9) Maintenance: Regular maintenance plays an important role in the life expectancy of helical piers. This includes regular inspections and monitoring for signs of wear or rusting and repair work when necessary.
10) Service Life: The service life of a helical pier is the amount of time it can be expected to last without needing major repairs or replacement. High-quality materials and proper installation can extend the service life to 10 years. However, this will ultimately depend on environmental and soil conditions, as mentioned above.
11) Settlement: Unchecked settlements can lead to serious structural problems. As such, it is important to ensure that the helical pier installation has enough capacity to handle any potential settling without leading to the failure of the pier itself.
12) Exposure to Elements: Exposure to the elements can cause premature wear and tear on helical piers due to corrosion or other forms of damage. As such, it is important to install them in areas with minimal exposure for them to last longer.
13) Leveling: Helical piers should always be level when installed to work properly and provide proper support over time. Uneven installation can lead to uneven weight distribution, eventually leading to failure as the pier cannot handle the added load.
In conclusion, helical piers are a reliable and durable foundation solution that can last many years with proper installation and maintenance. However, several factors can affect their life expectancy, including material quality, installation practices, soil conditions, exposure to elements, and more. Considering all of these when installing helical piers, you can help ensure that they will provide a long-lasting support system for your structure.
Leave a Reply