Piling is an ancient practice that involves driving supports for foundations deep into the ground so that they are resting on bedrock rather than unsupportive silt, sand or dirt, and piling is especially common along river banks. If you are thinking about building a home near a river, you may be wondering whether or not you need to work with a piling contractor in addition to the rest of the team who is working on your home.
Here are several signs you should consult with a piling contractor:
1. You are building a very large home with heavy load designs.
In addition to issues with the ground itself, it's important to think of the structure you want supported. Relatively small structures such as single family homes typically don't require the support that large buildings do. However, if you are building a mansion, a multi-family dwelling or another large structure, you may want to talk with a piling contractor regardless of the condition of your soil.
2. You are building next to a river prone to flooding.
When rivers flood, they tend to grab clumps of driftwood, silt, clay and other items and deposit them near the banks. This material is loose, and every time the river floods, it pushes these materials further downstream and washes in new deposits to your location. These materials are repeatedly moving, and they do not have time to compact. As a result, they are typically not sturdy enough to hold a home, and because of that, you need to consult with a piling contractor about putting in piles that extend past the loose materials and brace your home upon strong rocks deep below the surface.
If you fail to use piling, your home ends up sitting on loose fill that is likely to shift over time. Ultimately, that can cause your home to settle crookedly or create cracks and other issues with the foundation. Even worse, you entire home could wash away because it is not on a sturdy foundation.
3. You are building your home next to a river with lots of random waste visible along the banks.
If you are not sure whether or not the river is prone to flooding, look for random waste along the flood plain next to the river. River banks often contain waste deposits ranging from old cars, to refrigerators, to pieces of concrete. If you see these items, that is a clear indicator that the ground around the river is likely composed of washed in elements that aren't durable enough to put a house on without piling. When rivers flood, they deposit debris on their flood plains, and when the waters recede, the debris is left sitting there as evidence of a previous flood.
4. You are building next to a river with lots of clay deposits.
If the river is clear of debris and not prone to flooding, look at the soil around it. If it is full of clay, that is another risk sign. Clay tends to absorb nearby moisture, and as a result, it shrinks and contracts based on moisture levels. This too can destabilize your home and indicates you need to contact a piling contractor.
For more information, contact a piling contractor in your area.