Types of Piles


Piles are an important part of construction. There are different kinds of piles that are designed to carry the weight of the structures above them. The choice of piles can be determined by the geography in which the construction takes place or the force under which it will it will be subjected, such as being hit from the side by a ship. Piles can also be designed to displace the earth or material in which they're constructed, or to displace as little material as possible.

Steel Piles: Hollow

  • Pipe piles can be open or plugged at one end. When pipe piles are open, they do not displace a lot of material. When they are plugged at one end with concrete, they displace the material in which they are inserted. Open pipes are generally used in situations where not only a lot of piles are required but the piles are spaced far apart as well. These piles can be 125 feet long or more.

Timber Piles

  • These piles are generally 8 to 12 inches in diameter as well as up to 50 feet in length. The wood is generally pressure treated so as to withstand the elements. The species of wood is often Douglas fir or southern pine.

Pre-stressed Cylinder Piles

  • These piles are generally hollow and made of concrete that's been pre-stressed. Pre-stressed refers to the combination of steel tenons and concrete, which allow the concrete to take up less space yet still be strong. Cylinder piles are often created to order according to the project's requirements. Because the piles are made of pre-stressed concrete, they stand up well in environments that are corrosive. Despite being hollow, these piles displace material because they are filled with concrete after being placed.

Pre-stressed Concrete Piles

  • These pre-stressed concrete piles are usually square. They are often used when the material in which they're inserted is limestone or another particularly hard or tense type of material. They are generally stronger than H steel pipes. These piles can either be plugged at one end or open.

Steel Piles: H

  • H piles are non-displacement piles, like the unplugged pipe piles. They also work well when many piles are needed yet spaced widely apart. These piles can be 125 feet long or more.


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