What are Micropiles and Why are They Used?

Oct 6, 2016

Categories: Foundations

For many reasons, it is often necessary to install a deep foundation rather than a shallow one.  Although there are quite a few options for deep foundation installation or repair, one of the better options is a micropile. Sometimes called “mini-piles,” micropiles are used for foundation underpinning, reducing foundation settlement, or deep foundation installation in difficult soil makeup.

The Installation Process

The first step in micropile installation is to dig a deep hole with a fairly small diameter.  Diameters of the piles vary, but the largest are around 300mm, or 12”. Once space has been cleared for the micropile, it is lowered into the hole and torque is applied until the pile is in place. The hole is then filled with a concrete grout mixture to secure the entire structure. Once the new structured is settled, a support is applied to the top of the pile to distribute the weight evenly and ensure good contact with the supported foundation or structure.

What are the Benefits of a Micropile System?

Usually, the pile bears its load through the contact friction between the pile and the surrounding grout. In areas with rocky soil or shallow, hard layers of rock beneath a building’s foundation, micropiles can also be secured within the rock, drawing load bearing capabilities from the rock itself.  Micropiles are seeing increased use not only in locations with poor soil conditions, but also in congested areas and those requiring a less obtrusive presence than other installation methods may provide. Because the pile is installed completely vertically, they can be used in tight spaces inaccessible for some machinery. The installation process is also relatively quiet as a drilling technique, rather than a hammering one, is used.

If you have noticed foundation damage to your home, micropiles may be the best option for proper foundation repair. In residential homes, especially those close to their neighbors, the accessibility of minipiles make the entire process much easier.  Anyone who has walked around downtown South Carolina knows how close old ians loved to build their houses next to one another.  Even with limited space, installation is easy and your neighbors won’t curse you for waking them up to the unfortunate sound of metal on metal hammering.

We saved the best for last. Micropiles are a durable, cost efficient option with a shorter installation time than other methods.  As you can see, there are multiple benefits to using micropiles for foundation repair or installation.  Additionally, there are actually different kinds of individual piles that are suited for specific foundation needs.

Due to the many methods offered for foundation repair, it may be difficult to decide which one is right for you. If you are still unsure what method might be right for your home or business or are unsure if any foundation damage has occurred at all, CNT Foundations can help. We specialize in foundation repair in South Carolina and the surrounding areas and are happy to meet with you to assess whether foundation repair to your building is necessary and what installation methods and materials would be best for your individual situation.