Concrete is one of the most used materials to make bored pile constructions. Sometimes problems occur during the mixing process, and the resulting structures end up with deficiencies. Piles are supposed to transmit top structure loads to the substrate. The structural deficiencies could lead to partial settling or collapsing of the top structures. It is, therefore, important to understand the common causes of cracking problems with concrete piles so that you can avoid them during construction.
Cracks are the most common weakness with concrete piles. Pile contractors deal with three common types of cracks:
- Crack breaks
Precast piles may develop these problems if there are issues with the casting process. The remedy to this problem is calling in experts to carry out acoustic tests and determine whether the waves will be reflected off the piles. Avoid using any piles that show signs of damage in construction.
Bulging happens when certain parts of the cross-section of the pile swell more than the others. Most structural engineers don't worry a lot about bulging because it increases the capacity of a pile to bear load applied to it. However, it is still considered a defect because it reduces the shear resistance of the pile. When the strength of the pile reduces, the foundation can settle at any time and compromise the structural integrity of the entire building.
Necking happens mostly in piles made of casting clay. When necking happens, the load-bearing capacity of the piles reduces. Necking is caused by excessive water loss or stress that doesn't diffuse in the layers of soil. The solution to necking is using the right construction materials and maintaining the recommended distance between the pile constructions.
Cracks happen when the pile is not strong enough to bear the load transferred by the structure. When cracking happens, one part of the pile collapses onto the other, which leads to settling of the foundation. Cracks can be repaired using methods such as epoxy injection, routing and sealing, among others. You can keep your concrete piles from cracking by avoiding adding excess water to the mix. Excess water evaporates and causes shrinkage. As a result, piles crack.
The important thing when dealing with weaknesses in concrete piles is to consult a competent structural engineer. They test the strength of the piles and come up with sufficient repair mechanisms as needed. With a competent engineer by your side, resolving piling problems is quite easy. For more information, contact your local piling contractors.