Sheet piling, most commonly made form steel (vinyl and wood are also options) is best described as a long structural shape installed in a sequence used to design and create depth along a planned excavation perimeter. The interlocks on the flange edges allow the creation of either a temporary or permanent lateral earth support.
Sheet metal available in titanium, aluminium, brass and copper is used in your everyday objects such as the wings on airplanes, breastplates used in horses tack and even armour worn by cavalry.
However sheet piling has a pretty unique and interesting purpose which tends to have a function in larger construction projects and is used as a support technique with the role of retaining and excavating soil.
Whether you’re considering how sheet piling can be used in a project of your own, or whether you just want to find out a little more about how and why sheet piling is used, then take a look at these top three advantages to using sheet piling!
Versatile: temporary v. permanent
There are many functions of sheet piling which you may or may not have come across before, therefore a great benefit of sheet piling is its ability to serve a variety of uses within a number of different industries.
As opposed to sheet metal, sheet piling works a little more behind the scenes in construction work, including underground basements or car park construction and marina installation work, for example jetties or dock wall stabilisation. Take a look at one of Sheet Piling UK’s case studies in which they installed a permanent sheet pile basement in Cambridge.
Sheet piling doesn’t just create a temporarily safe working environment for construction sites. Temporary structures, such as bridge repairs or trenches also mean that sheet piling can be easily removed and transported away once a project has finished.
Commonly used for building and manufacturing projects, using sheet piling is an effective method to strengthen walls and provide solid and deep foundations.
As already discussed, sheet piling has both a temporary and permanent use for projects, however particularly if you are working on a longer lasting construction plan, sheet piling is well known for its strength and durability, therefore is a great choice of material which you can trust will provide long foundations for your project.
Due to its strength and durability, did you know that sheet piling can be used as a flood prevention tool? Steel sheet piling can help to seal and stabilize new and existing flood dikes, and as they are available ready prepared for installation, the quickness and ease in fitting them is particularly useful when time is not on your side!
As previously mentioned, steel sheet pile can be extracted and reused once a construction project has finished, this being another great advantage of this material.
Construction in West London recently unearthed steel sheet piles which were found to be over 80 years old! The original mill marks on the piles were still visible when pulled up from the soil demonstrating how well it was preserved according to this article on Port Technology.
The main reason that the piling was preserved so well could have been down to the fact that sheet piling has a pretty low rate of corrosion, as oxygen levels decrease the deeper you go.
The reusability of sheet piling means that it is a zero-waste product, as after extraction it can be used again.