Sheet Pile Installation
The Many Methods of Installing Sheet Piling
There are many ways to install steel sheet piling walls. The most common, for example, include vibrating (and hammering), impact driving (using a heavy sheet pile driving machine), hydraulic pushing (pushing piles out of the ground with high pressure fluid power flow through pipes in the whole length of each pile), and trenching piles. A contract specification may also state that methods and equipment cannot be used until they are approved by officials beforehand - this is what governs the type installation that professionals use when deciding how to install your sheet piling project.
There are many types of sheet pile driving hammers for installing frp composite, or vinyl sheet piles. They can be divided by their power source:
- Vibratory Sheet Pile Installation
- Diesel Sheet Pile Installation Machines
- Air-steam sheet pile hammers(though it is not often used)
- Hydraulic impact pile hammer (the most common type)
- Hydraulic pusher rigs
Vibratory hammers are widely used because they usually drive the piles faster and don't damage them at the top. If you have soils that are granular, then a vibrating hammer will do fast work with steel sheets much more quickly than an impact one. But if penetration rates go over 1ft per minute there's every chance it would be better to use an impact hammer instead as vibration could cause interlocks to emit flames!
Sheet Pile Installation is Easier Than Ever, Thanks to Innovations in the Market
These days the installation of sheet piling is less cumbersome thanks to Hydraulic Excavator Mounted Vibratory Pile Driver/Extractors. They have a side grip clamp assembly that can grab sheeting from both sides, not just at the top, and has more options for vibros because there are smaller compact ones available. This means contractors have plenty of choices when it comes to any type of sheet pile installation; whether its steel, composite, vinyl or timber, etcetera!
We choose the type or size of a hammer based on how stiff the ground is and whether there will be obstructions. For lighter weight aluminum, vinyl sheet piling, or composite sheet pile hammers do not apply. These types of hammers have become increasing popular for residential bulkheads and retaining walls as well as some municipal projects. We use small air hammers and excavator-mounted vibratory drivers/extractors to install these materials.
Things You Must Do In Any Sheet Pile Installation Project
- Thread the sheet pile and allow it to slide until it stops by its own weight. A hairpin can be used at this point to help push the side of the sheet pile into place more easily.
- Some contractors recommend not driving a sheet more than 1/3 its length before driving the adjacent pile
- When possible, drive sheets in pairs by placing the hammer squarely between them.
- If the “female” interlock must lead, place a bolt or other object at the bottom to avoid debris filling the female end
- Align and plumb the first two sheets and drive carefully and accurately
- Remember, you're working with serious heavy equipment. Never rush or interrupt the team in the middle of their work.
To learn more about sheet pile installation tips, tricks, and processes, download our free resources and installation guides from this page.