4 Types of Construction Piles and Pile Cutting Guide

March 25, 2024

In the construction industry, the foundation of a structure is key to its longevity and safety. Piles, which are deep foundation elements, are used to transfer the load of a structure to the more competent strata below. Understanding the various types of piles and how to properly cut them is essential for, project managers, construction workers, and civil engineers. Aggregate Technologies, with over 25 years of experience and innovative solutions, is your expert in concrete cutting, including pile cutting. Our patented technology allows us to complete projects efficiently and safely, making us the trusted leader nationwide. Below, we explore the different types of piles and provide a step-by-step guide on pile cutting.

Types of Construction Piles

Sheet Piles

Sheet Piles

Sheet Piles are long vertical walls made of sheet materials, such as steel or timber, and are driven into the ground to provide lateral support. They are commonly used in scenarios where water or loose soil poses a threat, often in the form of cofferdams or for the protection of shores.

Load Bearing Piles

Load Bearing Piles are designed to transfer the load from a structure through poor surface soils, reaching down to layers that have a higher bearing capacity. Their primary purpose is to provide vertical support. These are often constructed of concrete. 

End Bearing Piles

End Bearing Piles employs a mechanism that rests the piles on a strong layer of soil or rock, often found deep beneath the ground. They are reminiscent of columns, anchoring the structure firmly and diverting the load to the depths.

Friction Piles

Friction Piles work through a different principle, by creating friction against the sides of the pile, transferring the weight of the structure to the surrounding earth.

Remove up to 200 piles per day

Pile Cutting Guide

When it comes to cutting piles, whether they’re made out of concrete, wood, or another material, precision and safety are paramount. Pile cutting is a critical step in the construction and demolition of deep foundation substructure. At Aggregate Technologies, we have developed and patented our own specialized pile-cutting machine. Our proprietary tool makes it possible to cut and remove up to 200 piles in one day with only one machine and requires ONLY a single operator. Our technology ensures your job is completed quickly and safely.

Before the introduction of our patented technology, the work that would require multiple crews and numerous pieces of equipment to accomplish can now be accomplished by one worker and one machine – thanks to the innovation and creative engineering of ATI experts.

Below are our guide to ensure efficacious and secure pile cutting:

Pile Cutting Guide, Step 1: Safety First

Ensure you are fully equipped with the necessary safety gear, including sturdy gloves, proper footwear, protective eyewear, and of course, a hard hat. Maintain a secured perimeter to safeguard bystanders, and make sure that everyone is in their appropriate place. When getting ready to complete a pile-cutting job, it’s important that OSHA guidelines are followed, and that all appropriate checks and balances are run through, including the proper paperwork and site inspection before and after the job has been completed. 

Pile Cutting Guide, Step 2: Preparing the Pile

Inspect the pile thoroughly for any signs of damage or irregularity before cutting. Accurately mark the cut line, keeping in mind the desired final height of the pile. When preparing, it is important to be aware of the pile cut-off level. l. The pile cut-off level is the level at which the concrete piles are placed underneath the structure so that they can retain the same level. The pile cut-off level is provided in the specifications drawings and is usually somewhere around 75mm. The concrete is cut off at a certain height below, which allows the steel bars to go up to the structure to ensure the bond is strong between them.

Another aspect to consider is foundation piles for building, one should always cut them at a precise, and repetitive level, normally around 10mm to the foundation ground. Be sure to properly inspect the site, the structure, and the equipment before beginning. 

Patented pile-cutting machine

Pile Cutting Guide, Step 3: Choosing the Right Tools

Selecting the correct tool for the job is crucial. Diamond-blade saws are typically the go-to for concrete pile cutting due to their ability to cut through tough materials. However, Aggregate Technologies uses our own patented pile-cutting machinery and system.  Our patented pile-cutting machine holds concrete piles in place at any angle. Detached pieces are then removed. This approach works with the same amazing effectiveness for steel piles.

We deployed our custom equipment to cut and remove 10,000 14” x 14” and 18” x 18” precast concrete piles at Motiva in Port Arthur, Texas. Our company was subsequently awarded* an ABC Excellence in Construction Award in 2009. Other jobs with our pile-cutting technology had us cutting and removing 3,500 precast concrete piles at Shintech in Louisiana.

Pile driving and cutting can prove to be one of the more difficult parts of construction due to the uncertainty often associated with subsurface environments. When you go to cut piles, go to the leader, go with Aggregate Technologies.

Aggregate Technologies is a leader in pile-cutting nationwide. Whether a job requires the removal of 50 or 50,000 piles, we can get the job done safely and efficiently with maximum cost savings.

We regularly complete pile-cutting and removal projects across the United States, including Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and the entire Gulf Coast!

Pile Cutting Guide, Step 4: Cutting the Pile

When cutting the pile, it’s important to follow the marked line before you begin cutting the pile, and during. Ensure you apply consistent and firm pressure.  With Aggregate Technologies, the guesswork is eliminated thanks to our patented cutting technology. 

Pile Cutting Guide, Step 5: Inspecting the Pile

After the cutting process, inspect the pile for an even cut and check for damage such as cracks that could affect the structural integrity. The pile must be properly inspected and documented. There should be inspections at multiple stops up until the job is complete. 

Pile Cutting Guide, Step 6: Finishing

Some piles might require finishing work, like sanding or applying protective coatings. It’s important to follow any manufacturer guidelines and client concerns during this stage.

Pile Cutting Guide, Step 7: Disposal

Once the job is complete, it’s important to dispose of the offcut material responsibly, adhering to local disposal regulations. Always consider recycling options if available.

Cutting process

What are the common mistakes people make in pile cutting?

Several common mistakes people make in pile cutting are:

  • Mistaken Pile Types: Mistakenly using the wrong cutting approach for a particular pile type can lead to inefficiencies or damage. Make sure you know the pile you are dealing with.
  • Overlooking Safety Measures: Pile cutting carries inherent dangers, and overlooking safety measures can lead to serious accidents. It is imperative always to prioritize safety.
  • Incorrect Tool Choice: Selecting the appropriate tool is crucial for efficient and safe pile cutting. For concrete piles, diamond-blade saws are usually the best choice.
  • Blade Overheating: Excessive pressure during cutting can overheat the blade. Maintain steady pressure to avoid this issue.
  • Improper Disposal: Improper disposal of the cut material can be harmful to the environment. Ensure proper disposal and recycling practices are followed.

Understanding the varied types of piles and mastering the cutting process is crucial for anyone involved in construction foundation work. By following the provided pile-cutting guide and being mindful of common errors, professionals will be able to work efficiently and safely, contributing to the overall success of their projects

Why Choose Aggregate Technologies?

Avoid costly mistakes by consulting us prior to starting your project. Aggregate Technologies is a leader in pile-cutting nationwide. With over 25 years of experience, we provide efficient and safe pile-cutting solutions. Our patented pile-cutting technology allows us to complete projects quickly and cost-effectively. We have successfully completed numerous high-profile projects across the United States. Our commitment to innovation and safety makes us the preferred choice for pile-cutting services.

Need expert pile-cutting solutions for your project? Contact us today.

*Proper safety is important to Aggregate Technologies, so important that we’re a multi-year winner of the STEP award. 

Contact us when you need a contractor with a record of safety and success for your concrete cutting and hydrodemolition needs.

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