Wood and Concrete Piles

Wood and Concrete Piles Overview

Wood piles have been used to support structures for thousands of years, and the science behind extending the lifetime of a timber pile has advanced to the point where treated wood piles can potentially be used indefinitely. Wood piles continue to be a common tool utilized by bridges, stadiums, airports, and other modern structures.

Concrete piles, while more modern, also have a long history of use in construction. Concrete piles were created out of a need for longer and stronger piles to support deep foundations.

installing Wood and concrete piles

Installing wood pile

Installing a wood pile

Wood and concrete piles are installed by hammering the top of the pile with a heavy weight, driving the pile into the ground. A crane is used to hold the pile in place, using a set of leads to stabilize the pile and hammer. For a faster installation of lighter-weight piles, a swinging leads setup can be used. Swinging leads are only connected to the crane via the boom, which can be rotated to install multiple piles without moving the crane. For heavier piles or ones requiring more precise installation, fixed leads can be used. Fixed leads are connected to both the boom and the crane body for added stability.

Benefits and Considerations

Wood piles are commonly used because they are low-cost, easy to drive, and can be tapered to suit a variety of soil types. However, due to length restrictions and difficulty in splicing two wood piles end-to-end, it is best to use concrete piles for very deep foundation piles (typically over 75 ft). It is important to ensure that the species of wood used for the pile is considered when analyzing load capacity and stress, as different species can vary greatly in strength. Wood piles are also susceptible to decay from fungi and other biological attackers, so treatment is necessary to ensure durability. Concrete piles stand up well to corrosive soil conditions, but can break more easily in transit and handling, and are more expensive than wood piles.

Contact us to learn more about how Pearson Drilling can use wood and concrete piles to suit your construction needs!