- Sherryl Urbano
Vinyl Sheet Pile Installation
Updated: Aug 6, 2021
Vinyl Sheet Piling or PVC Sheet Piles are an effective alternative to steel sheet piling for bulkheads, seawalls, cut-off walls containment barriers. The main advantage of vinyl sheet piles is the superior corrosion resistance when exposed to seawater, where no oxidation occurs. Vinyl sheet piles are also highly resistant to marine borers which make it superior to wooden solutions.
Driving any sheet piling material to significant depths is a challenging task. In installing vinyl sheet pile the several conditions should be considered such as the concerns of drivability, high blow count soils, possible underground obstructions and driving to extreme depths.
Installation tools for vinyl sheet piling are generally dependent on the soils being driven into. In sandy soils tools such as water jets, vibratory hammers, air hammers, and rail jets are often used. In cohesive clays and silts drop hammers, vibratory plate compactors, and backhoe buckets are generally the tools of choice.
At greater depths or in the case of hard ground, a steel guiding sheet pile is used. ESC vinyl sheet piles can easily be combined or connected with other construction materials. The sheets can be glued, welded, sawn or drilled. Wood, concrete, steel or plastic can be used as a cap and wale system. The application of waling with anchoring is also possible.
Hammering is the most commonly used method, in which sheet piles are mechanically embedded into the soil along the pre-installed templates with the use of vibratory hammers, i.e. light equipment with small impact energy. In the case of hard, dense surfaces, or when long elements need to be hammered, steel mandrels are used. Mandrels are special guide bars of a shape and length reflecting the used PVC elements. Mandrels allows installation of long profiles even up to 12m, it helps removes obstacles found in soil, it helps maintains straight lines installation ensuring pre-loosening of soil which significantly accelerates installation work.
If soils are too hard or dense, an impact hammer can also be used to complete the installation. At certain sites where vibrations are a concern, the sheets can be hydraulically pushed into the ground.
Jetting is used in cases of very compact or cohesive soil where the force of vibration hammers is not sufficient to embed the vinyl sheet piling to the required depth. Jetting consists in exerting pressure directly under the sheet piles which are being installed, which helps loosen and remove the soil or the obstacles. Special water or air ejectors are used in this technology.
Digging method is used when the constructed walls are not embedded too deeply into the ground and it consists in the PVC piling being installed in a ditch which is subsequently filled in with a bedding layer selected individually to best meet the requirements of a given project.