What you Should Know about Pilings for House Foundations


A lot of people think that pier-supported homes are similar to homes that sit on pilings. House pilings are timber, concrete, or metal columns driven into the ground to support homes on bedrocks. Meanwhile, piers tend to sit above the ground.

If you are looking to construct a house foundation on pilings, you need the assistance of an engineer to calculate the pilings’ load, length, type, and diameter. Homes are constructed on pilings when they are in coastal areas, flood zones, and mountainsides which do not support traditional foundations.

Installing Pilings for House Foundations

To insert pilings deep into the ground, crews will need to use special equipment. A big pile-driving crane is set on tracks on level ground near the construction site. Usually, pile drivers count the number of blows taken to drive a pile into the ground.

Kinds of Pilings

There are many kinds of pilings you can choose from. But, your engineer will often recommend the type of piling to use based on piling strength, soil type, and the weight of the structure the pilings will support. Less stable soil types like peat, sand, or clay may require deeper pilings. The kinds of pilings available include steel, timber, masonry, and a mix of concrete and steel. Also, your region may also influence the type of piling to use. For instance, if you are along coasts, you will need to use timber pilings.

Foundations for Homes on Flood Zones

Homes to be constructed in flood zones must be built above grade on pile or masonry foundations. This depends on the building codes of the location. This design lets the area underneath the house to flood without causing any damage to the structures. As pilings are driven deeply into the earth, flood waters don’t impact pile-drive foundations.

Driving a Pile into the Ground

To drive a pile into the ground, engineers pay attention to more than just the location. They take core soil samples to identify the soil structure and the depth the pile should go. For deep rock embedding, the majority of piles are drive 20-25 feet into the ground and this much piling might be above ground.

Do you Need Foundation Piling for your Extension?

A simple home extension does not need deep piling. Rather, it needs a raft foundation, a strip foundation, or a trench-fill foundation. But, in case of unstable soil, you may need piling foundations.  Your existing foundation should be able to indicate this.