Frequently Asked Questions

How long has helical pier technology been around?

The Helical Pier was invented by Irish engineer Alexander Mitchell. It was first used as a foundation system for river moorings for ships and lighthouses in the 1830’s. 1838 was the first use in the U.S. with the construction of Brandywine Shoal lighthouse in Delaware Bay.

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What is the difference between Helical Piers, Screw Piles and Helical Piles?

Nothing. They are all one in the same.

Why should I use a Helical Pier vs a more traditional foundation such as a sonotube and concrete?

Helical Piers have numerous advantages over sontotubes. They don’t require digging a big, messy hole in the yard; they are weather resistant, easy to install, have greater load bearing capacities and can be built on immediatly after installation, speeding up the building process.

What kind of equipment is used for installation?

Lakes Area Helical Piers offers installation equipment that attaches to a mini-excavator with a hydraulic installation head unit.


Do they need to stay in the ground forever?

Absolutely not! Because helical piles can be easily uninstalled and moved using small machinery, they can be relocated to another site, minimizing the impact on the current location. This means zero or minimal footprint. The ability to replace or remove helical piers without significant disruption to the site is advantageous, especially when project plans change. It reduces the need for extensive excavation or construction work, minimizing the environmental disturbance and saving time and resources.

What is their life expectancy?

Many factors determine the life expectancy of a Helical Pier. Lakes Area Helical Piers installs galvanized piers to help prevent rusting but the varying soil conditions can affect the life expectancy. 75-150 years is a general estimation in normal soil conditions.

How much weight can a Helical Pier support?

Each pier that Lakes Area Helical Piers installs for decking can hold around 10 tons. However, each particular job and soil type will determine which helical pier needs to be installed to properly meet or exceed building standards.

What if you hit a rock?

What’s below the surface is the great unknown. Most smaller rocks we can work the helix around it. When the rock is too big, we attached the bucket to the excavator and dig it out.

How deep do Helical Piers go?

The key function of helical piers is to transfer the weight of the structure to deeper, more stable soils that can bear the load. The helices on the piers provide additional anchorage and resistance to vertical and horizontal forces, making them an effective solution for foundation support. Required load bearing depths greatly depend on both the design load as well as the soil profile at the building site.

What do Helical Piers cost?

The cost is similar to the overall cost of traditional foundation systems. Ultimately it is dependent on many variables (load capacity, soil conditions, depth, quantity, etc.) to adequately answer here. With a phone call and some simple measurements, we can usually give you an estimate for your project within a day or two.

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