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Pile Foundations in the Low Country of South Carolina

When building a home in the Low Country of South Carolina in Charleston County the foundation can vary in design and construction specifications greatly depending on where the construction is happening in and around Charleston County South Carolina. Unlike the Midwest of the United States where the ground beneath where a home is built the build site and soil conditions vary slightly. A foundation in the Low Country needs to be designed to adhere to International Residential Code of seismic design of class D which is the same equivalent as parts located in and around California. Also, the foundation has to be designed based on soil tests and soil quality.

Notched Pile

For the purpose of this blog post we will specifically study pile foundations. Pile foundations are a functional foundation system in the low country. Depending on soil tests the soil tech engineer will determine the depth of the driven piles. Some piles need to be driven seventy-five feet into the ground while others do to positive soil tests only need to go around twenty-five feet. A pile can be driven within minutes depending on site conditions and soil conditions and for examples wood piles for a 2000 square foot house can be driven in one day, and the next day the carpenters can begin notching the piles and bracing off the piles for the drop beams to be set, bolted and the floor system can be built within a few days. The positives of the pile foundations are, having an instant foundation, no set time for curing unlike cement, and easy to work with. The down side of when working with piles is since the pile is a tree in the most basic form the framing carpenters might just have to use a come along to a line the piles for the future floor system. The Low Country of South Carolina offers a variety of foundation types, next time driving around or walking your dog and you see a foundation being installed take a moment to view what type of foundation the builder might be using.


LVL dropped beam on a pile foundation
Setting Dropped Beam

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