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February 28, 2024

Installing Helical Piles in Winter

We recently had the pleasure to sit down with Jonathan Lavallée, local dealer and owner of TMP Thetford. He gave us an insight into what it's like to install helical piles during winter in his area of Thetford Mines, Qc, Canada. We explored both the challenges and solutions of installing piles in cold regions, specifically in winter. The number of winter installations isn’t a common occurrence for Jonathan, yet the demand is still there due to specific projects. On his end, a typical year can see the completion of over a dozen projects during the winter months.

Jonathan mentioned the first step he takes, just before the installation, is to clear the snow from the site to access the frozen ground. He then uses a type of auger to pre-drill a hole and break the ice and/or the frozen ground, before installing the piles. It's often the preferred method for winter installations because it’s usually faster and more efficient.

Aside from operating the auger, Jonathan also uses another method for accessing the ground below. Thawing is considered a less common approach, yet an available technique, nonetheless. In past situations, he’s drilled a small hole about an inch wide with a heated electrode. This process takes about half an hour to thaw a 12-inch radius, depending on the frozen state of the ground.

These types of helical pile installations are more common in the colder regions of Canada and certain parts of the United States, where the ground freezes.

Jonathan commented how winter installations, in his territory, are more common for large commercial projects in city centers, rather than residential projects. He says that most orders are received before the holidays, with the best time to install piles being from April to the end of December. Typical winter installation projects include house extensions in residential areas.

Even if conditions aren't optimal, installations are still possible; simply reach out to your local dealer to determine the next steps. It's worth noting that in certain cold regions where temperatures aren't especially low, accessing those areas becomes much easier with either of our installation machines.

We thank Jonathan for spending time with us and sharing the challenges of winter installations, and how to overcome them.




Techno Metal Post designs and manufactures screw piles, specialized installation equipment and all the elements required to support your permanent and temporary projects.

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