Whether you’re building a new home or cottage or repairing the foundation on an existing structure, ground screws may be the answer you didn’t know you were looking for. Anything that requires a solid foundation, like docks, bridges, boathouses, or any other type of structure, requires special treatment in places like Muskoka.
While helical piles have their advantages in some terrain, Muskoka’s mixed terrain brings inherent challenges. Here, where rocks are ubiquitous, construction projects need the strength, stability, and accuracy of ground screws, says Dennis Schulte of Groundscrews Canada.
“Helical piles just won’t work in rocky terrain the way ground screws do,” he says.
Ground screws work much like wood screws, he explains. The narrow screws can be used to penetrate any surface, but they are incredibly strong. “You can put a two-inch wood screw into a 2×4, and that will hold your own weight. Scale that up for ground screws, and you can understand the strength they offer whatever structure you’re building or repairing.”
Better yet, a ground screw becomes stronger over time, Dennis explains. “The screw compacts the ground going in, and pressure holds it in place. After rainfall or freeze and thaws, the ground tightens up and becomes even more compact around the footings. It’s really the ground that is the strength of a foundation, and the screw simply taps into that strength.”
Ground screws can be used in any surface – including bedrock or rocky ground. They can also be installed underwater. “Ground screws are precise: they drive themselves into the ground, and they go in straight.”
With over 15 years of experience using ground screws, Dennis says they have never encountered a foundation challenge where they couldn’t find a solution for their client. “We can work with existing cottages and install a footing in 10 to 15 minutes, and it can be used right away.”
Ground screws also have a highly predictable cost, he says. “With helical piles, you can’t have a firm quote: they won’t know the full price until they start going through the ground. Depending on what they encounter, it can add thousands to the cost. But with a ground screw installation, there are no surprises. We can tell you up front what it will cost, and stick to it.”
And that kind of promise is a foundation you can build on.
TEXT KARI KLASSEN