When it comes to retaining earth during the piling and deep foundation process, sheet piling is the standard. It is commonly used for excavating or to provide protection from bodies of water. Sheet piling is also the most reliable and cost-effective method to prevent shifts of soil or breaches of water from damaging the foundation or facility.

Sheet piles are designed to interlock with each other. They are installed in sequence along the planned excavation perimeter. When arranged together, they form a wall for permanent or temporary earth support, along with anchors to provide extra lateral support.

When construction is taking place in a confined space, then temporary walls are used to prevent cave-ins; offering protection to the workers working in the vicinity of the area.

What is Sheet Pile Used For?

  • To prevent floods to structures close to shorelines.
  • To protect foundations from water damage.
  • To support excavations for parking structures, basements, foundations, pump houses, and to construct cofferdams, seawalls and bulkheads.

Sheet piling is used as permanent walls as they provide stability and durability to the interior walls (especially basement walls).

Sheet pile walls have been used to support excavations for below-grade parking structures, basements, pump houses, and foundations, to construct cofferdams, and to construct seawalls and bulkheads. Permanent steel sheet piles are designed to provide a long service life.

What are the Types of Sheet Pile?

Types of Sheet Pile Walls
  • Timber sheet piles – These are generally used for temporary structures and braced sheeting in excavation works. Timber sheet piles called “Wakefield” piles were fabricated of three flat wooden pieces. The centre section was offset from the outer sections thus forming a groove and a tongue for joining adjacent piles. A variation of this system was a single timber section in which the groove and tongue were cut to shape. Wakefield-type sheet piling is still being used today.
  • Concrete sheet piles – These are pre-cast concrete members usually joined by tongue and groove joints. Concrete is capable of providing a long service life under normal circumstances but has relatively high initial costs when compared to steel sheet piling. They are more difficult to install than steel piling.
  • Steel sheet piles – Steel sheet piles are the most common types. Steel sheet piles are long structural sections with a vertical interlocking system that create a continuous wall. The walls are often used to retain either soil or water. The ability of a sheet pile section to perform is dependent upon its geometry and the soils it is driven into.

How Long Does Sheet Piling last?

Steel sheet piling is considered a permanent solution since it can last for over 75 years without breaking down. For this reason, it is traditionally used around bridge piers and along embankments. It has a deep foundation that creates a lasting barrier that keeps dirt back during construction processes.

Watertightness of Sheet Piles

Steel sheet piles are per se impervious, the exception being the interlocks. A sealing system provides a cost-effective solution to control water seepage through the wall, for instance, to minimize the risk of settlement of adjacent property, or keeping excavations dry.

Each construction project is unique because ground conditions, water tightness requirements, installation methods, and so on, vary from site to site. Therefore, the choice of a sealing system must be made carefully considering all the specific constraints and requirements.

The integrity of a sealant will depend upon its suitability regarding the installation and the driving method, as well as the soil and water conditions.

Although welding of the interlocks is the most expensive solution, it yields a 100% watertight wall, which may be considered the ideal solution for underground car parks for instance.

Note that sealing systems can also prevent soil from clogging the interlocks, which in specific soils can ease the driving.

Sheet Pile Prices

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