Screw Piles: A Solid Deck Foundation

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For any construction project, anywhere in the world, at any point in history, one thing will always be true: its ultimate durability rests (literally) on its foundations. Without a strong foundation, the other parts of the structure will eventually sag, collapse, or sink, and even the biggest icons can become rubble in a heartbeat. Luckily, you (probably) don’t have to worry about building a deck that’ll last for a few thousand years…but one that’ll last a few decades is nice! That’s why screw piles are so important to good deck foundation.

What are screw piles?

Screw piles – also called screw anchors, helical piles, and helical anchors – are basically just what they sound like. They are oversized “screws” that are driven into the ground beneath a structure. They have a central shaft, usually made of steel, which is incredibly strong and can bear a huge amount of weight. Around the shaft are the helical plates – i.e., the screw part – that holds the pile in place and helps distribute the weight out to the ground.

What do screw piles do?

Just like cross-beams, concrete pillars, or wooden braces, screw piles support the weight above them in a way that is minimally disruptive to the environment. They are used in many buildings and structures worldwide, from lighthouses and cell phone towers to rail lines and yes, even decks!

Why use screw piles for a deck?

 You may be thinking that you don’t need the huge load-bearing capacity of a screw pile for a simple deck. But these devices are made in all sizes, and the smaller ones are perfect for homeowners looking to create some prime backyard real estate. As long as you have trusted professionals installing them correctly (which is where we come in), they’re the clear choice for foundation strength.

First off, as we mentioned before, they make a minimal impact on the ground around your house – they require no earthmoving, and there is far less soil displacement. This in turn makes the project go quicker, and cost less in almost every way. They are suitable for any soil condition, except for extremely rocky ground.

Second, we use Postech screw piles in all of our deck foundations. These have been specially designed, using a hot-dip galvanizing process to standard ASTM 123A, to be rust-proof and corrosion-free – so you can enjoy your deck for years without worrying about its integrity, even during wet seasons. This also means no leaching into the soil, so any flowers or nearby gardens are completely safe from heavy metals.

Third, think about the extremes of Canadian weather. Regular, above-ground foundations can experience significant pressure from thawing and expansion over the year, resulting in cracks, breaks, and failure. But since screw piles are relatively thin and deep, only a small part of the central shaft is exposed to the elements. The rest stays safely in place, as it’s supposed to.

Keeping Decks Safe for Decades

 When you’re ready to build a deck that will stand the test of time – and last through all the barbecues you can possibly host – ask us about screw pile foundations and deck designs. When you see how great the end result is, you’ll be very glad you did!

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