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Helical Piles (Piers) vs Concrete Footings... Does it Really Make a Difference?

Bridge Média - 13 June 2023

As the foundation is one of the most critical aspects of any construction project, it is essential to choose the right foundation system that can provide optimal support and stability to the structure. 

Two of the most popular options for foundation systems are helical piers and concrete footings. Both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages, and choosing the right one can make a significant difference in the outcome of the project. 

We'll explore the definition, advantages, applications, and cost of both foundation systems, and answer the question: does it really make a difference which one you choose?

Definition and Overview of Helical Piers (also known as Helical Piles or Screw Piles)

Helical piers (piles), are basically large screws that are installed in the ground below the frost line to provide support to a structure. By anchoring them into the ground, they provide a substantial grip and create a secure foundation.

Advantages of Using Helical Piles

The advantages of using helical piles / piers include the following:

  • Can be installed in any weather conditions
  • Provide immediate load-bearing capacity
  • Minimal disruption to the surrounding environment
  • Can be installed in limited access areas
  • Require little to no excavation
  • Can be easily removed and reused in another location

Applications of Helical Piers / Piles

Helical piles are used in a wide range of construction projects, including:

Definition and Overview of Concrete Footing

Concrete footings are a traditional foundation system that involves digging a hole into the ground and pouring concrete into the hole to provide support to the structure. Concrete footings can vary in size and shape depending on the size and weight of the structure.

Characteristics of Concrete Footings

  • While building a concrete basement for a house, an extra room is added to the residence. However, soil conditions need to be taken into consideration to avoid the foundation to sink in the future. This a good example of where helical piles and concrete could be used in conjunction to solidify the foundation
  • Concrete is typically more well-known in the industry 
  • Concrete is easy to build on

Applications of Concrete Footings

Concrete footings are commonly used in residential construction, such as:

  • Decks
  • Sheds
  • Small garages
  • Small additions

Comparison Between Helical Piers and Concrete Footings

How to Choose Between the Two?

Helical piles (piers) and concrete footings have their advantages and disadvantages. The right foundation system for your project will depend on a range of factors, including the size and weight of the structure, soil type, environmental conditions, accessibility, and budget. It is important to note that concrete is more well known in the industry, making it the main go-to for construction projects. However, once people become familiar with helical piles, work with them, and have them installed, they typically never go back to concrete.

Cost Comparison of Concrete Footings vs Helical Piers

Concrete footings are typically less expensive than helical pile foundations. However, the cost savings come at the expense of stability and durability. Concrete footings may be more susceptible to shifting, cracking, and settling over time.

Although helical piers (piles) may come with a higher initial price tag than conventional concrete footings when comparing only raw material, the savings in terms of reduced labor costs and installation time will more than compensate for the additional material expenses.

Taking this into account is crucial for contractors that aim to enhance their team's productivity. By doing so, they can accommodate more projects, minimise time wastage, and deliver superior quality foundations to their clients. Also, customers get to be able to finish their projects sooner!

Choosing the right foundation system for a project is crucial to ensure the stability, safety, and longevity of the structure. A poorly designed or executed foundation can lead to structural issues, which can be costly to repair. Therefore, it's essential to consult with experts and consider all the factors when selecting a foundation system.

Final Verdict on Which is the Better Option - Does It Really Make a Difference?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to which foundation system is better. It ultimately depends on the specific project requirements and conditions. 

However, in general, helical piers (piles) offer several advantages over concrete footings, such as increased productivity for you and your team and foundation stability, load-bearing capacity, and durability. 

In conclusion, helical piles / piers and concrete footings are two popular foundation systems used in construction projects. While both have their characteristics, helical piers offer several benefits over concrete footings. 

If you're interested in using helical piles for your project, contact a certified GoliathTech installer. GoliathTech provides high-quality helical pier solutions for a wide range of applications, and our certified installers can help you choose the right foundation system for your project.

About GoliathTech

Since 2004, GoliathTech has been the most important manufacturer and installer in the helical (screw) pile industry worldwide. Our patented helical pile foundation system surpasses industry standards and has earned us multiple awards and prizes.

Carried out by certified installers, our quick installation process avoids excavation, which protects your landscape and allows you to begin building as soon as the piles are in the ground. Moreover, you can anchor GoliathTech’s helical pile foundations into any soil or space year-round. Installed deep into the ground, beneath the frost line, they solidly support the structure in even the most extreme conditions. Our technology guarantees that a helical (screw) pile foundation won't move or crack over time.

Integrating both strength and know-how, GoliathTech offers the best anchoring solution to support your residential, industrial, commercial, and municipal projects. Trust the experience and expertise of GoliathTech for your foundation projects. Find a certified GoliathTech installer in your region or become a franchisee.