This 19th-century Renaissance Man Showed how Helical Piles can Save Cottagers Headaches

This 19th-century Renaissance Man Showed how Helical Piles can Save Cottagers Headaches

Lake and river shores are often characterized by unstable and loose soils that are more vulnerable to movements. Building cottages, decks and other structures that require foundations can be challenging.

A helical pile foundation ensures that your cottage, deck or dock will stand upright and keep its value over the years. The foundation is guaranteed not to move during freezing/thawing periods, says Winnipeg’s Emile Desrochers, who specializes in installing helical pile foundations.


Helical piles, also known as screw piles, screw cylinder anchors and helical foundations, were invented in 1836 by Alexander Mitchell and became utilized as a successful foundation for lighthouses, bridges and piers. Helical and screw pile foundations are considered perhaps the single most important development in geotechnical engineering foundation construction of the mid-to-late 19th century.

Today, they’re use widely to ensure a solid foundation free from the problems of frost heaving and other issues often encountered in cottage country. One of the major challenges a helical pile foundation must face is resisting ground movements. When the ground moves, it tends to pull or push on the shaft of the pile.

Emile Desrochers

Desrocher installs helical piles with a green sleeve designed and developed to reduce the grip of ground movements on the pier. The sleeve size is adapted to that of the pile and is installed around the pier when it is screwed into the soil. Once in place, the sleeve slides up and down the pile with natural ground movements. It allows the pile to remain perfectly stable during freezing, thawing or drought periods.

For more info on Desrochers and helical pile foundations visit

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