What Are Steel Piles | 4 Types of Steel Piles | Corrosion of Steel Piles Steel | Advantages and Disadvantages of Steel Piles Foundation

Exploring Steel Piles: Types, Corrosion, and Pros and Cons of Steel Pile Foundations

Steel piles are an essential component of many foundation systems used in construction projects worldwide. These structural elements are made of steel and are driven or drilled into the ground to support structures such as buildings, bridges, and piers.

In this article, we will explore the different types of steel piles, including H-piles, pipe piles, and sheet piles, as well as their uses and advantages and disadvantages. We will also discuss the issue of corrosion and how it can affect the performance of steel piles.

Whether you are a construction professional, engineer, or simply interested in the topic, this article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of steel piles and their applications.

Read More: Under Reamed Piles | Under-Reamed Pile Foundation Under Reamed Piles Construction | Bulb Calculation

Types of Steel Pile for Deep Foundations

1. Pipe Piles

Open End Bearing Pile and Clode End Bearing Pile
Exploring Steel Piles: Types, Corrosion, and Pros and Cons of Steel Pile Foundations 7

The pipe pile has behaved as an end-bearing pile or friction pile. These piles are seamless steel piles that are created by welding. The pipe pile may be driven either open-ended or close-ended.

Open-Ended Pile: As the name suggests driven pile end is open.  Usually, it is useful in the rock or hard state. the open-ended piles are sunk into the soil.

The soil that is inside the steel pile is removed with the help of water jetting and compressed air .then after the pile is driven into the required depth; the steel pile is filled with concrete.

Close-end pile: In the case of closed-end piles, the driving end of each pipe is closed by welding. The material shoe is made of steel or cast iron which is used at the end of the pile as a pile shoe.

Once the close-end pile is driven into the soil. After that pile is filled with the required amount of concrete. The thickness of the pile is ranging from 8 mm to 12 mm and the diameter of the pile ranges from 0.25mm to 1.2 mm.

2. Screw Piles or Helical Piles

Helical Pile
Exploring Steel Piles: Types, Corrosion, and Pros and Cons of Steel Pile Foundations 8

 The screw piles are made up of cast iron or steel. These piles make a long shaft whose end is either helical form or screw base. 

The external diameter of the shaft is ranging from 15 cm to 30 cm and the diameter of the screw base ranging is 45cm to 150 cm.

Screw piles shaft may be hollow or solid. Installation of the pile into the ground is with the help of an electric motor. It is suitable for loose sand and loose clay.

These types of soil screw piles help to increase load-bearing capacity. The biggest advantage of a screw pile is easy to install.

3. Disc Steel Piles

Disc Steel Pile
Exploring Steel Piles: Types, Corrosion, and Pros and Cons of Steel Pile Foundations 9

Disc steel pile arrangement is similar to the screw piles,  screw pile consists of a solid cast iron pile that attached a cast-iron disc to its foot.

So that foot is helpful to increase the bearing area of the pile. Generally used in marine construction.

During penetration, the pile sinks into the ground. So the water jetting process is made in the bottom of the pile. This type of pile is suitable in soft and sandy soil.

Which is allowing to the sinking of the pile by water jetting. It is mostly used in marine construction where the total penetration of the pile in the ground is required to be large.

4. H-piles

H - Pile
Exploring Steel Piles: Types, Corrosion, and Pros and Cons of Steel Pile Foundations 10

The rolled steel H- pile acts as a bearing pile which is a newly developed technology in the pilling industry.  H piles produce large impact stress during hard driving.

H-Pile is generally used in hard strata like rocky areas.  Also, H- the pile has a small cross-sectional area of the pile is made it easier for soil displacement. So that no extra process of jetting, or coring is required for penetration of the H-pile.

Advantages of H-Piles

  • H- Piles produce a small amount of displacement.
  • H-piles required small space for storage.
  • H-piles are handled easily.
  • H- Pile is generally used in the construction of retaining walls, cofferdams and bridges, and bulkheads.
  • H-piles penetration can be performed closer to the existing structure.
  • In the H-pile splicing process can be done easily.
  • H-pile can penetrate the ground is up to 100m depth.
  • H -piles act as friction and compaction piles.

Read More: Pile Foundation | Types of Pile Foundations | Uses of Pile Foundation

Corrosion of Steel Piles Steel

Piles embedded in an impervious layer of the earth, at least 2 ft below the level of the ground, will generally be free of corrosive effects because of insufficient oxygen in the atmosphere.

In an Embedded portion of the steel, piles may be affected by corrosion. Because the surrounding layer consists of cinder fills, coal, alkaline soils, wastes from plants, etc.

Electric deterioration of the steel piles can be protected by the use of protective layers or coatings like coal, paint and epoxy layering, etc.

The durability of Steel pile

In many cases the rate of corrosion is less at that time protective method is not needed in other cases the rate of corrosion is high at that time a protective method is used for piles.

The following methods are used:

  • Apply the coating layer on the piles
  • Use thicker section
  • Use high-grade steel
  • To avoid maximum bending moment because it leads to corrosion.
  • Cathodic protection for piles.
  • In marine areas used ASTM960 (SPLASH ZONE)
  • Extension in concrete capping

Read More: Pile load Test | Pile Loading Test | Pile Load Test Procedure | Pile Load Test Is Code

Features of Steel Piles

To perform Excellently

Steel Pile has a small sectional area so that during driving the pile realizes less earth removal and low vibration.

Easy to customize

Steel piles are easily customizable in length, diameter, and thickness.

Easy to connect with a superstructure

 In the steel pile at the top portion, reinforcing bars are available, which connect the superstructure easily.

Easy to handle

Steel pile is easy to handle and transport because of their toughness and lightness ability.

 To provide high-bearing capacity

When the steel piles are driven into the soil, they provide a high bearing capacity.

For High bending strength             

During earthquakes resists horizontal forces of the steel pipe piles with high stiffness and high bending strength.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Steel Piles


  • Steel pile is capable to penetrate through stiff layers or boulders.
  • Steel piles possess high bearing capacity compared to others
  • These piles can handle rough handling.
  • Soil volume displaced during the driving of steel pile is compared to less.
  • Steel piles provide a strong and durable foundation for the structure.


  • Steel piles are highly susceptible to damage due to corrosion and electrolysis.
  • Steel piles are costly compare to others unless the bearing stratum is able to produce high pile capacity.


What are steel piles?

Steel piles are structural elements made of steel that are driven or drilled into the ground to provide support for structures like buildings, bridges, and piers.

What are the different types of steel piles?

There are three main types of steel piles: H-piles, pipe piles, and sheet piles. H-piles are wide-flange beams that are driven vertically into the ground. Pipe piles are tubular sections that are either driven into the ground or drilled and filled with concrete. Sheet piles are thin, interlocking sheets that are driven vertically into the ground.

What are H-piles used for?

H-piles are commonly used in deep foundation systems to support large structures like skyscrapers, bridges, and highway interchanges.

What are pipe piles used for?

Pipe piles are commonly used in foundation systems to support large structures like bridges, industrial plants, and buildings. They are also used for marine structures like docks, piers, and wharves.

What are sheet piles used for?

Sheet piles are commonly used for excavation support and seawalls. They can also be used for underground structures like tunnels and basements.

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1 thought on “Exploring Steel Piles: Types, Corrosion, and Pros and Cons of Steel Pile Foundations”

  1. Henry Killingsworth

    It was really informative when you mentioned that steel piles are more economical than the other kinds of piles. Would it be a good idea to use steel piles as part of your foundation when trying to construct a home? Using steel seems like a good idea because every home needs to have a strong foundation.

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