Reinforcing Your Foundations With Micropiles

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The Structure of a Micropile

Micropiles, or minipiles, are small diameter grouted piles with steel reinforcement that support high-capacity loads even in limited access areas. CNC Foundations leverages micropiles in a variety of different projects for cost-effective and durable solutions.

Each part of a micropile works together to reinforce the strength of a foundation system. They come in both cased and uncased varieties and include the following elements:

  • Standard lead section: The lead section enters the ground first with varying types of drill bits.
  • Steel casing or reinforcement: These features are a crucial strengthening element that make micropiles able to withstand high-capacity loads.

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Uses for Micropiles

  • Deep foundation projects: Micropiles are a convenient option for establishing a deep foundation because they can be installed through obstructions, and do not require pre-drilling. Establishing a stable, reliable deep foundation is necessary on job sites of high-capacity loads, access restrictions , or poor soil.
  • Foundation rehabilitation and repairs: When existing foundations are compromised, the use of micropiles helps to fortify the foundation’s stability. The structural load is transferred to the micropiles, which then transfers the load to more competent soil or rock. Micropiles are a cost-efficient option in comparison to foundation replacement.
  • Foundation stabilization of adjacent structures: Micropiles can be used in projects with nearby structures or for structures sharing adjacent walls that may interfere with the stability of your project.
Micropiles being installed by two CNC engineers

Applications for Micropiles

Micropiles can be used in a variety of foundation projects. They are particularly useful when projects are in areas with limited access or weak soil. Micropiles have become a preferred method of deep-foundation stabilization thanks to their reliability, versatility, and efficiency. Micropiles are excellent for:

  • Stabilizing difficult terrain: Micropiles are typically used in limited-access areas, such as low overhead clearance, and can be accessed through a typical man door. Micropiles are a cost-effective solution in areas with Karst topography and sloping rock. Because of their versatility in terms of foundation type and small or difficult locations, micropiles are an excellent solution for a variety of structural needs.
  • Supporting heavy loads: Loads are typically achieved through skin friction between the grout and surrounding soil or rock. In limited situations, loads can be achieved in end-bearing where the piles are terminated in incompetent rock formations. Unlike a drilled pier, micropiles derive a large percentage of their load from the steel reinforcement. This, along with bearing their load through skin friction, makes micropiles excellent for both tension and compression loads. Steel casing can also be added to address lateral loading requirements. Despite their size, micropiles are a trusted and durable solution for high-capacity needs.
  • Maintaining restrictive budgets: With a typical drilled pier foundation, significant cost overruns can occur due to extra rock coring. This can happen as the drilled piers are extended along the face of sloping rock, or when voids are encountered in the rock formation. When these empty areas are discovered, additional rock coring, labor, and budget are required. Micropiles reduce this risk as they typically extend down into the rock formation, so the load is transferred by way of skin friction and potential voids of the rock are identified early on. This eliminates the risk of voids below the bottom of the drilled pier. Foundations that were once unpredictable or of mixed composition can be easily strengthened with the use of micropiles.

Job Types and Special Considerations

Micropiles can be used in a variety of projects, including fortification or creation of foundations for structures like bridges, towers, and new buildings. Their versatility has led to their increased popularity, especially in difficult construction projects. In areas of low clearance, restricted access, or weak soil or foundation types, micropiles are an ideal and reliable solution.

Compared to other foundational projects, micropiles are both customizable and cost-efficient while eliminating the need for additional installation steps. Because they can be installed without pre-drilling, project completion time and budget are not compromised. In addition to their structural perks, micropiles also offer:

  • Control of corrosion and general wear and tear caused by soil
  • Consistent, reliable results across project and foundation types
  • Quick installation with minimal steps
  • The elimination of pre-drilling as a required preparation process, cutting down on work time, staff hours, and costs
  • Budget-friendly support without compromising quality
  • Lasting strength thanks to the presence of high capacity grout and steel reinforcement.

To learn more about micropiles or our other deep foundation solutions, contact CNC Foundations today.

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