What are Micropiles exactly?

When it comes to foundation repair, the major foundation repair eccentric companies and businesses have formulated multiple different and new methods to fix the foundation of homes and other structures with the passing of time. From Helical and Push Piers to basic anchoring, the most elite foundation repair companies offer many techniques to repair the foundation your home was laid upon, including Micropiling.

 

In simpler terms, Micropiles fit into the foundation repair services category, but they are unquestionably high tier in performance. They are versatile options in that they can vary in diameter depending on the need anywhere from around 5 to 12 inches. Micropiles can typically support large amounts of weight, hitting ranges upwards of even 1,000 tons! This once heavily underused strategy is also well suited for almost any scenario, as they can be easily and efficiently implemented even in areas with low overhead space or other places with limited accessibility, making them an ideal repair choice for basement and crawlspace situations.

Micropiles

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Use of Micropiles

Micropiles provide reinforcement in a unique way. Most foundation structures like basic piers are not constructed without concern of shifting or failing soil, and often, the piers will then need to be repaired or touched up on. A lot of the time, soil discrepancies like this are unexpected, some unprecedented, but foundation repair companies make due with what they can and try to fix the pier, even if it will only temporarily solve the problem. However, Micropiles are able to avoid this problem many times given their versatility. A Micropile is installed in the soil of a foundation at whatever the most beneficial angle may be, and once a solidifying agent is injected, the Micropile will be able to easily support even the most immense weights. How can what is essentially a compex metal bar do all this? Well, Micropiles really act as what is essentially a bridge or a path. The weight of the load from a structure will be placed on the Micropile, but that Micropile will simply pass that weight on to a more competent soil that is actually capable of maintaining the weight unlike the more flimsy soil that rests closer to the surface. The loads on a foundation pass through the steel and grout of the Micropile and disperse among buried rock and soil enough that movement or shifting will be almost impossible. Micropiling is very low risk, and very high reward as a technique for foundation building and enhancement.

Types of Micropiles

Micropiles may come in different styles (like steel casing style already mentioned). Currently, the most popular application in Micropiling consists of solid rebar threads for reinforcement. Rebar is often called Reinforcing Steel or Reinforcement Steel, and it is often coupled with concrete as a tension device. Rebar is often used in the piers when constructing a foundation, often protruding from the concrete pier itself, serving as the connection from the pier to the structure it resides beneath. In Micropiling, just the rebar is in use, which can often prove to be more useful alone in this field than it is when coupled with concrete in pier techniques. One reason why this is as such is because Micropiles can be implemented diagonally. 

Another style of Micropile is the Hollow Bar Micropile, which is designed as the name implies, with the center of the bar being void of material, its internals completely hollowed out during production. This style often uses the recycled steel method discussed earlier. Hollow Bar use has seen an exponential increase in use and implementation as of recent, most likely due to the rapid installation process and the adaptable capabilities they have that are most important in situations where the soil is collapsing or on the verge of failing the foundation.

Benefits of Micropiles

On top of the previously mentioned positives that entail Micropile foundation repair services, there are many other advantages. Many will be explained in more depth, but until then, here is a list of many more advantages:

 

  • Capable of implementation in confined spaces
  • Bypasses layers of stone and bedrock fairly easily
  • Has a variety of installation methods
  • Works generally regardless of the ground it is to be used on, including inclined surfaces
  • Highly stable and vibration resistant option
  • Works equally effective for pre existing and new structures
  • Can be tested on site before final implementation
  • Low noise
  • Lightweight in comparison to alternatives

 

One of the most important advantages Micropiles have that wasn’t listed is their material composition. While some may come without it, most Micropiles are encased in a high quality and high durability steel material. Rebar and grout can also be used in the creation of Micropiles, but for the most part, the basis for their design is high performance steel. The best part about this is that the steel can come from absolutely anywhere. As long as it goes through some refining, the steel can be used to make Micropiles. Say some steel fencing is no longer being used for anything, for example. Foundation repair businesses can melt that steel wire fence down, and then repurpose it for foundation repair usage in the form of Micropiles. Steel can quite literally be recycled in this instance! This aspect of Micropiling is what makes this method of repairs so important, because companies in this industry are able to use the high performance and efficiency of a strategy with what is moreover an inexpensive cost of another strategy, and roll those advantages into one package.

The Installation Process

  1. The area for the Micropile is drilled into in a rotary fashion prior to anything else.
  2. The cleared space for implementation must be flushed to minimize any negative effects on the process.
  3. Rebar and/or grouting are inserted. Grout needs to solidify and the steel is adjusted to fit as precisely as possible.
  4. The Micropile is completed and adjusted in whatever final ways need be.
  5. Final tests are run to test strength and functionality of the Micropile.

 

If you have any questions regarding Micropiles, or would like more information about other foundation repair services, contact Rhino Foundation Systems!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Micropile?

A Micropile is one form of providing strength for the foundation of a home and other buildings. Micropiles consist of steel and grout, and they are implemented into a foundation by drilling beneath the surface for installation. They transfer the weight of a structure from weak soil near the surface to deeper soil and rocks where that weight is dispersed among that same soil to avoid damage and prevent foundation problems.

How are Micropiles better than Helical Piles

Micropiles can be used for many different situations. They can be drilled directly into the ground like standard piers, or they can be installed diagonally to provide integrity from those slanted angles unlike most other strategies. Micropiles can also be installed with very little overhead room to work, making them ideal for problems that take place far beneath the structure like a crawlspace. Their weight capacity is proportional to their diameter, but Micropiles are almost always capable of withstanding weights upwards of 500 tons.

What is the difference between Micropiles and Mini piles?

There are very few differences, and because of this, the terms are used interchangeably. Mini piles are typically a bit larger and take more time to install, as well as requiring larger machinery. Micropiling will give a structure all the benefits of Mini piles, but using less time and space.

Is it noisy or disruptive to install Micropiles?

Far from it. The process is quick and doesn’t require any loud or oversized machinery, and any fumes generated from the process are minimal and virtually unnoticeable. The process is quick and easy, as most installations are done in a single day.

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