Helical Piers for Foundations

What is a Helical Pier?

A helical pier is a pier that installers screw into the ground using a large drill motor. Helical piers work well in situations where the surface soil isn’t sufficiently supportive for a conventional foundation. When installers can reach stable soil 10 to 60 feet deep, the helical pier’s helices will support the home.

Designing Helical Pier Foundations

This helical pier provides support for a reinforced concrete footing.
This helical pier provides support for a reinforced concrete footing.

Helical-pier foundations typically require a geotechnical survey and a blueprint with an engineer’s stamp. Although, sometimes engineers and builders test-install various sizes of helical piers to evaluate the soil at various soil depths before designing the pier foundation or ordering the helical piers.

Installation and Attachment

During installation, the installers measure the torque at the drill motor to determine at what depth that the helical pier that they’re installing will support its share of the home’s weight. Installers use helical piers with and without concrete. Installers embed the piers head in a concrete footing or attach the piers to the home’s main supporting beams.


This post is borrowed from the book Northern Comfort, soon to be published by the Alaska Craftsman Home Program (ACHP), which I’ve been editing, rewriting, and re-illustrating.

This helical pier supports a main beam for a building.
These helical piers supports a main beam for a building.

1 thought on “Helical Piers for Foundations”

  1. I’ve been trying to figure out what I can do to make my home’s foundation more stable. I didn’t know that you could get helical piers to bore into the ground! It makes sense that they would keep it stable, based on their shape. Thanks for sharing!

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