Sheet pile wall construction is a method of retaining soil and water. Sheet piles are made from steel, which is driven into the ground by hydraulically-driven hammers or vibrating machines. When installed correctly, sheet pile walls can provide an effective barrier against groundwater seepage and erosion for up to 20 years with proper maintenance.
If you’re looking for guidance on how to construct a sheet pile wall yourself or if you want to learn more about what goes into building one, check out this blog post. Here are some things we’ll cover:
What is Sheet Pile Wall Construction?
Sheet pile walls are another method of retaining walls. They’re typically used to provide temporary and permanent retaining walls. The main difference between sheet pile walls and other types of retaining walls is that instead of using individual units to construct them, the soil conditions may require that the piles be vibrated into the ground instead of being hammer driven. This can be done with a pneumatic hammer or an electric impact hammer depending on the soil type and depth required by law (ASTM D2980-06). If you do need to use a pneumatic hammer due to your soil conditions, make sure there’s no damage done to your equipment before moving on with construction.
Reasons for Sheet Pile Wall Construction
There are several reasons why you might choose to build a sheet pile wall rather than the more traditional earth or rock-fill retaining walls.
- Sheet piles are more cost-effective than other types of retaining walls. While they do require some specialized equipment, the cost of labor and materials is significantly lower when compared to other types of retaining walls. This could be due in part to the fact that they can be installed in many different soil conditions and climates, whereas earth or rock fill can only be built where there’s suitable soil (like clay) and adequate drainage. Also, when compared with poured concrete walls, sheet pile projects can be completed much quicker in as little as two weeks allowing for less downtime for employees and increased productivity at your site.
What is a sheet pile wall used for?
Sheet piles are used to provide temporary and permanent retaining walls, water retention and drainage, erosion protection, flood control, and protection from the elements.
What is a sheet pile structure?
For those of you who aren’t familiar with sheet pile structure, it is a method of construction that utilizes steel sheet piles driven into the ground to form a wall. Unlike more traditional structural support systems, sheet pile walls are not continuous. Instead, they are driven into the ground at set intervals (usually 5 to 20 feet apart) to form a grid. In this way, the system consists of individual support pieces that can be reused multiple times throughout its lifespan.
When used in conjunction with other types of construction materials such as wood or concrete blocks, this type of support system provides added stability while also breaking up mass amounts of material into smaller pieces distributed evenly across their surface area.
How deep should sheet piles go?
In order to determine the appropriate depth of your sheet pile wall, use a pile hammer to drive a test pile into the ground and then measure how deep it went. Most engineers will accept a minimum of 12 inches for soil types that are not extremely dense or hard.
For example, if you have sandy soil, you could use only 6 inches without compromising stability; however, if you have clay soil, you should go deeper than 12 inches. If you’re unsure about what kind of soils are present at your site and don’t want to spend the money on testing them all individually (which can be expensive), it’s best just to err on the side of caution you’ll save money in the long run if something goes wrong later down the road.
How thick are sheet piles?
What kind of soil do you have? Is it clay, sand, or gravel?
What type of sheet pile are you using (e.g., steel, timber)?
Does the design of your wall require a specific thickness for each course of sheet piles (e.g., if there is a bottom layer that needs to be thicker than an upper layer)?
How deep is the groundwater table in this area (i.e., how far below ground level does groundwater extend)?
You can answer these questions yourself if you know what type of soils are present at your site and what their average thicknesses are. If not, then get an expert geotechnical engineer on board to help out with this task.
What are the advantages of sheet piles?
Sheet piles are an excellent option for constructing water-resistant walls, especially when compared to other types of walls. As a result, they’re becoming increasingly popular within the construction industry.
Here are some reasons why sheet piles might be right for your next project:
- Installation Speed – Sheet pile walls can be assembled in a fraction of the time it would take to construct other types of retaining walls. They can be erected in just three months or less, often without any need for heavy machinery or equipment beyond shovels and wheelbarrows.
- Reusability – Sheet pile walls are also easy to disassemble once they’ve served their purpose; this makes them great options for temporary or emergency projects where you need something that will last only temporarily before being removed once again (such as during road construction).
- Groundwater Control – Finally, sheet pile walls provide excellent protection against groundwater seepage thanks to their dense internal structure this makes them perfect choices when building sustainable buildings like greenhouses where drainage is essential.
What are the disadvantages of sheet piles?
Sheet piles are not suitable for all types of soil. They can be difficult to install in some soils, and the installation process may contaminate groundwater. The sheet piles themselves can also be difficult to remove and reuse if they are installed improperly or need to be replaced later due to shifting soil conditions. Sheet pile walls are also expensive, which raises their initial cost. Finally, sheet piles can harm the environment when it comes time for excavation and disposal (or recycling) of the materials used in the construction of a sheet piling wall structure.
How long does sheet pile wall construction last?
You might be wondering how long sheet pile walls are expected to last. A typical steel sheet pile wall is built with the intention of lasting decades, not centuries. Sheet piles can be reused by simply removing them from one site and reusing them at another, but this isn’t always practical because of the costs associated with transporting them (not to mention the fact that it might not be possible for them to fit on your truck).
Steel sheet piles are strong and durable, but they aren’t indestructible: if a storm is so severe that it breaks several sheets of steel in one section of a wall before they’re installed correctly into their holes in the ground, there’s nothing you can do about it except replace those broken pieces with new ones which means having to remove all other pieces from that section first before putting new ones back in place. This process may take days or even weeks depending on how many pieces need replacing; during those times when work isn’t being done on-site due to bad weather conditions like rainstorms or snowstorms which would make installation impossible anyway and then add extra time for transportation delays due to inclement weather conditions. It’s important for contractors who build these types of structures to know what kind of equipment needs used and plan ahead accordingly when making decisions about logistics like scheduling deliveries/pickups etcetera otherwise things could get messy real fast.
What are the different types of sheet piles?
Sheet piles are steel sheets used to support the soil. There are various types of steel sheet piles, including:
- Drive-in: These sheet piles have a sharpened tip that is driven into the ground by hand or with a pile driver. They can be used for retaining walls, bridge supports, and other applications.
- H-beam: These are larger than drive-in sheet piles but smaller than T-beam type sheet piles. They can be driven into the ground by hand or with a pile driver. They’re often used as abutment supports for bridges or ramps on highways and interstates because they’re easy to install in tight spaces with minimal equipment needed for installation compared to other methods such as drilling shafts through bedrock using moleskins (a drill bit).
Sheet pile walls are used to provide temporary and permanent retaining walls.
Sheet pile walls are used to provide temporary and permanent retaining walls. They are also used to support the excavation of a site, as well as a retaining wall.
They are often used in conjunction with other methods, such as soil nailing or shotcrete construction.
Sheet pile walls can be built in many different ways, but they all share the same basic concept: steel sheet piles are driven into the ground at regular intervals along an excavation line (or “cut”). These steel sheets act like vertical ribs that form a scaffolding that supports soil above them, preventing it from collapsing inward towards the excavated space below the cut edge of your excavation site.
Sheet piles, depending on soil conditions might be vibrated into the ground instead of being hammer driven.
For sheet pile walls, the sheets are generally driven into the ground by either vibratory or hammer driving. Vibratory driving is preferable for most soils, but hammer driving is used when a high degree of penetration or soil conditions require it.
The following sections describe two methods of installation: Hammer driving and vibratory driving.
During installation, steel sheet piles are driven into the ground using various methods, for example, impact driving.
When installing sheet pile walls, a variety of methods can be used to drive steel piles into the ground. Hammer driving is the most common method and is done using an air hammer. Impact driving uses a jackhammer device that impacts the pile into the ground. Vibratory driving uses a vibratory hammer to drive steel sheet piles into the ground at high speed. Jetting involves using water or compressed air as a jet propulsion system to drive steel sheet piles through soil or rock into place.
Steel sheet piles can be reused multiple times.
Steel sheet piles can be reused multiple times in different types of projects and environments. In fact, steel sheet piles have been reused for a number of different purposes, including:
- Temporary foundations
- Slurry walls
- Sheet pile retaining walls
When driven in sandy soils, sheet piling provides an effective barrier to groundwater seepage.
Sheet piling is used to prevent groundwater seepage in sandy soils. It can also be used to prevent groundwater seepage in clay soils, but it is less effective.
In general, sheet piling will help you keep water out of your basement or foundation if the ground around your house has poor drainage and is pretty much always damp.
The advantages of a sheet pile wall over a contiguous pile wall are that it is much faster to construct and requires less equipment.
This makes the sheet pile wall more economical and more flexible than the more expensive, time-consuming contiguous pile walls.
The piles can be installed at any angle instead of being limited by the direction of the foundation footings or other vertical support members. The ability to install piles at any angle allows for greater design flexibility when designing foundations in areas with poor soil conditions or where there may be potential problems with freezing and thawing cycles.
Steps involved in Sheet Pile Wall Construction
The steps involved in Sheet Pile Wall Construction are as follows:
- Drilling the holes for the sheet pile: The first step of sheet pile wall construction is to drill holes into the ground and then hammer a steel sheet pile into each hole.
- Hammer driving the sheet pile into the ground: Once you have drilled all of your holes, you can begin hammer driving a steel sheet pile into each hole so that your wall will be supported by them when it is built up on top of them.
- Installing and finalizing your Sheet Pile Wall: After all of your steel sheets have been hammered into place and secured with concrete, you can begin building your walls from one side to another until they connect together at either end creating an enclosure around whatever area it was built for.
Benefits of using Sheet Pile Wall Construction
Sheet Pile Walls are cost-effective, durable, and require little maintenance. They are easy to construct, allowing you to build the wall quickly and efficiently. Sheet pile walls can be built in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them ideal for many different applications. Because sheet pile walls are made from steel rebar (which is inexpensive), they’re more cost-effective than other types of retaining walls. Not only do these walls provide stability for slopes but they also serve as a barrier against water erosion or flooding by holding back water from entering into low-lying areas such as wetlands or any type of terrain where there isn’t much topsoil that would normally hold onto moisture from heavy rains due to lack of vegetation coverage.
Materials needed for Sheet Pile Wall Construction
- Sheet Pile
- Steel sheet pile hammer (or driver)
- Pile driver
Tools needed for Sheet Pile Wall Construction
To build a sheet pile wall you will need:
- A hammer, to pound in the nails.
- A drill (and bit), to make holes for your nails.
- A screwdriver is to screw in the studs that support the concrete.
- Level and a tape measure, so you can make sure everything stays in a straight line and level with each other.
- Safety glasses or goggles, so you don’t get hit by flying debris when pounding on nails or drilling holes into the ground.
Cost of Sheet Pile Wall Construction
- Material cost: Sheet pile walls are built from steel and concrete, with the steel serving as a support for the concrete. The cost of materials will depend on whether you opt for pre-stressed or post-tensioned piles, what type of reinforcement is used (rebar or wire mesh), and the specifications provided by your engineer.
- Labor cost: Unlike a traditional concrete wall, where all workers need to do is simply pour the cement into place and smooth it out, sheet pile walls require some advanced installation skills. This means you’ll have to pay higher wages for experienced workers who know how to install them properly.
- Maintenance tips: After installation is complete, there are several maintenance tips that can keep your sheet pile wall in good shape over time:
- Keep weeds from growing around the base of your structure; this will prevent their roots from damaging over time.
- Drill holes through any cracks in order to allow moisture out as well as prevent dirt from getting into those cracks during rainstorms/snowmelt runoff events (since sheet piling does not require drainage pipes).
The material cost of Sheet Pile Wall Construction
The cost of sheet pile wall construction can vary depending on the factors indicated below:
- The type of soil and bedrock conditions.
- The feasibility analysis is required to determine the exact location of underground utilities, existing structures, and other obstacles before excavation begins.
- The number of rows needed for a given length of the wall and how deep each row will be driven into the ground (this depends largely on soil composition). In addition, the total length and width need to be considered when determining cost considerations for sheet pile walls.
The labor cost of Sheet Pile Wall Construction
A typical labor cost for a sheet pile wall is $1,000 per lineal foot of the wall. The higher the wall, the more labor will be required to install it. This can be reduced by using a crane to install the sheet piles.
In addition to these costs, there are other costs associated with installing a sheet pile wall such as:
- Equipment rental (cranes)
- Materials (sheet piles)
Maintenance tips for Sheet Pile Wall Construction
- Keep the area around the sheet pile wall clear of debris.
- Keep the sheet pile wall free of vegetation.
- Maintain a minimum distance from the sheet pile wall to any structures or utilities that could be damaged by water seepage through cracks in your walls, such as foundations, basement walls, and retaining walls next to your house or driveway.
- Keep the sheet pile wall free of debris this is especially important during construction when you don’t want rocks falling on workers’ heads.
- Rainwater should not be allowed to get behind any Sheet Pile Walls because it can cause damage over time if it freezes in winter months or rots wood if left too long after heavy rains fall during summer months.
There are many reasons to use a sheet pile wall, but they are most effective in certain environments.
Sheet pile walls are used to provide temporary and permanent retaining walls. They are typically installed in soil conditions that can be penetrated by the piles and can range in length from a few inches to over 100 feet depending on the project needs. The most common soil types that these walls are constructed in include:
- clay – hard-packed dirt with high water content
- silty clay – soft soil containing sandy particles mixed with organic matter such as silt or clay
- sand – loose soil consisting of mostly loose sand particles
The construction of a sheet pile wall can be accomplished by hand or using machinery. In either case, there are several steps involved in this process and each one plays an important role in the success of the project. It is important for anyone considering constructing such a structure on their property to understand how it works so that they know what type of material will work best.