Micropiles are small-diameter, typically 12 inches or less, deep-foundation piles. Because they can be installed with relatively small drilling equipment, micropiles are a cost-effective foundation system inside existing buildings, under existing bridges, and in other types of low-overhead or restricted-access conditions. An innovative micropiles construction company, Schnabel has specialized drills that can even travel through a standard doorway and drill under an 8-foot ceiling.
Often used to underpin existing structures, micropiles can be installed inside the structure, and their installation produces less vibration than other deep foundation systems. Micropiles are also used to construct deep foundations where there are natural or man-made obstructions, since the drill systems developed for these smaller diameter holes are better able to penetrate cobbles, boulders and other obstructions compared to conventionally drilled or driven-pile systems. Allowable loads for micropiles are typically between 20 and 200 kips, but Schnabel has installed and tested micropiles to 1,200 kips.