What is Techno Metal Post?
TMP Alaska is a company that installs helical piers by “screwing” them into the ground with our unique installation machines. Once it is installed you can build off of it, anything from a simple mailbox to a 2-story house.
What is a helical pier?
It is a galvanized steel post with a helix welded to the base. The helix is what bites the ground and pulls it into the soil during installation. Our pier diameter options range from 1 ⅞” to 8 ½” depending on the load (weight) that the pier will hold.
What is that green sleeve on all the posts?
The ‘frost protection sleeve’ that allows us to guarantee that our piers will not move or heave due to freezing winter soils. One of the major challenges any foundation system must face is ground movement due to seasonal freezing and thawing. Our frost protection sleeve acts as a slip sheet; sliding up and down the pier with any ground movement while allowing the pier itself to remain stable.
How do I build on top of a steel post?
We provide many types of brackets that can be mounted on top of the posts. The most common are U-shaped brackets that will receive 4x and 6x wood materials and flat plates that will accept various types of lumber. We offer an adjustable bracket with a 3″ range that allows for fine-tuning and leveling of your project long after the post is installed. And finally, we can special order or manufacture any type of bracket for just about any application.
What can I build on top of these posts?
The short answer is, “just about anything”. The loads of your proposed project determine the type and size of pier we will install for any given project. Since we offer 8 different pier diameters; we can pick the right mix of piers to install to ensure a properly engineered foundation. For more details on the piers available, see our Helical Pier Selection Chart.
How does the engineering work?
Before installation, we determine the loading requirements and soil conditions of the project and then we choose the piers, helix size and installation plan to best suit your project.
During installation, our equipment measures the torque of the motor versus the resistance of the soil. This correlation allows us to determine the bearing capacity of each pier in real-time. This engineering allows us to know if the pier is installed into competent soils to hold the weight required for the project or if the installation needs to go deeper.
What type of soils can these posts be installed in?
Helical piers were designed to provide reliable foundations in poor soils, such as clay, peat, soils with a high water table and fill. While they are designed to be effective in poor soils, they are also great foundation solutions in more stable soils like sand, gravel, and dense soils.
The versatility of the helical pier allows us to adapt the pier to the specific soil conditions. Since all soils are different, we have several options to ensure the piers will support the weight of the project in the given soil. Some of the options available during installation include:
- Installing the pier deeper until better soils are reached. This is the most common strategy we use to attain the required bearing capacity of the pier. We do this by welding extensions to the pier. We can keep adding extensions until the proper resistance is met for the project.
- Using a wider helix. The helix is the part of the pier that bears the most weight when the pier is installed. For poor soils, we can use a wider helix to increase the bearing capacity of the pier.
- Adding additional helices to the post. By adding one or two helices to each pier or extension, we increase the bearing surfaces of the pier as mentioned above.
What about rocks?
Rocks present a challenge with any foundation type. Other than bedrock, we have a pretty good chance of installing our piers in Alaska’s rocky soils. During installation, we have the ability to ‘sneak’ around rocks. Sometimes we are able to sneak the helix through the rock and often we are able to add a slight angle to the installation, “bending” the pier around the rock. Don’t worry, the pier is not actually bending. We have another type of helix; a “rock pitch helix”. This is a smaller diameter helix that is at a steeper pitch than the normal ones which allows rocks more room to sneak through during installation. Finally, if we cannot get around the rock, it can be removed.
Will these posts will work in any soil, no matter what?
No. We wish that were the case, but it is not. There are a few scenarios where helical piers may not be optimal:
- Rocks – If we hit too many rocks before we get below the frost zone and cannot get around them, we can not install the pier in that specific location. You have the choice to have the pier moved; or excavating and reinstalling. This is the same scenario with any foundation.
- Bedrock – If bedrock is present, we cannot install helical piers.
- Permafrost – In most cases, helical piers CAN be installed into permafrost. However, some permafrost layers consist of frozen rock and gravel and may not allow for installation of the pier. Also in areas of discontinuous permafrost, helical piers (or any foundation) may not be viable in the event these areas of permafrost melt.
Why Choose Techno Metal Posts Over Mini Piles or SonoTubes?
Our fast installation process requires no excavation, has very little site impact and is guaranteed by our engineering specifications and against heaving. For access to even the tightest job spaces, our machine can fit through openings as small as a 3’ door or gate. All of these advantages combined with our competitive prices make TMP Alaska and easier, faster and more reliable choice over all other foundation options for the unique demands of building in Alaska.
What is the difference between TMP and other helical pier installation companies?
Simply put – cost and the ease of installation. Our smaller installation machines and variety of pier options allow us to offer a very cost-competitive alternative to other helical pier systems. For the first time in Alaska, helical piers will be affordable on the residential level and be cost-competitive with alternative foundation systems. While the technology of helical piers has been around for over 100 years, we have now created the path for quick and affordable residential installations that protect your yard, budget and peace of mind knowing that the best foundation technology is supporting your project.
If you have read this far, you know that there are many variables that can affect the installation and therefore affect the cost. Ensuring that your foundation is done properly and securely is the most important factor in your purchasing decision.