How To Work With South Shore Soil Conditions On Long Island
Timber Piles, Helical Piles, & Grade Beams
Our soil conditions on the south shore of Long Island are normally difficult to work with in rebuilding or building new. Much of the land directly on the water is back filled marshland or worse. The soil base often consists of silt which will not support your home. Prior to building and/or as part of the design process a “soil test” is highly recommended. A soil test consist of a company coming to your home and driving a pipe into the ground to a depth that the soil is strong enough to support your home. They then take the “boring” back to the lab and qualify exactly what types of soil are at what depth.
In reality a normal concrete footing could be used if you excavated to the necessary depth to support a house. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be cost efficient in most cases. So in order to transfer the loads to those depths piles are used.
There are basically 2 types of piles used. Timber piles which consist of 10” to 12” pressure treated timber poles 20’ long or longer. These poles are normally driven using a heavy hammer and a crane and driving them into the ground. The depth they are driven on each blow is how the strength of each pile is determined.
The other type of pile is a helical pile or screw pile. These are screwed into the ground with a hydraulic motor and the torque it reaches determines the strength. Extensions can be added to achieve almost any depth. The hammer action of wood piles can be very disruptive in comparison to helical piles. Timber piles can be left long to stilt frame a home.
With either case a grade beam is usually used over the piles. A grade beam is very similar to a concrete foundation except a foundation caries the load uniformly down to the footing and a grade beam is spanning pile to pile. Usually a grade beam has more steel reinforcement so that even if it cracks it will still support what it is designed to.
Contact Ben’s General Contracting today at (516) 623-2945 to speak to our team about how to successfully rebuild or build a new home on your property given its soil conditions. If you are receiving a grant from NY Rising, we are uniquely qualified to assist you with all projects related to your home.