What are Precast Concrete Piers, and Do I Need Them?

precast concrete installation process

When designing and planning the installation of a precast concrete wall, there are a lot of decisions that need to be made. One of them is what support to use for the fence – piers or footings. Here’s more info about piers and when you should use them.

Piers Provide Stability

When installing a precast concrete fence, you need to include something to keep the wall from falling over. This typically comes as some kind of support anchoring the wall to the ground.

The two main options are piers and footings. Footings are t-shaped sections buried under the ground. Piers are posts driven into the ground and are more common than footings.

Footings require you to dig a large section of the soil up, so you can place the footing where it needs to be. Piers are sometimes driven into the ground or buried into a hole. Installing a pier is typically more manageable because the hole is much smaller. 

Piers can be square, round, or octagonal shaped. Our engineers make sure that any pier is designed to hold the fence weight up. Depending on the soil conditions, we could make the piers longer or more substantial.

Piers are used for all sorts of structures, not just fencing. Bridges and buildings both use piers extensively. Some of the piers developed for high-rise buildings can be several feet wide and hundreds of feet deep!

Do You Need Piers?

Sometimes soil conditions aren’t good for footings – this can be in sandy or loose soil. A footing needs heavy enough soil that the weight of the soil would hold down the footing.

If you have light or sandy soil, you will want to use precast concrete piers. 

A pier is buried much deeper into the ground than a footing. This allows us to either get into a deeper layer of the soil that is much heavier. Sometimes we find a layer of clay deep in the ground. In extreme cases, having a very long pier is necessary when the soil is just a big layer of sand.

Another case where you would want to use a pier is when you have an issue with water in your soil. This could be due to a really high water table. In this case, the water in the soil can make the soil unsteady. 

If you have settlement issues with other buildings, you will need to use a pier foundation.

Also, if you are in an area where the water table rises a significant amount, you will need to use piers. Piers are needed to resist the upward force of the rising water.

Lastly, if your land commonly has erosion issues, you will need to use piers. Footers could become exposed thanks to erosion – making them useless.

American Precast Fencing

At American Precast, we will help you design the best and strongest fence. If you have any questions about our fencing or permits, please feel free to contact us today.

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