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Pylex adjustable screw pile...anyone have experience with this product?

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[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 17, 2010
527 posts
134 upvotes
Edmonton

Pylex adjustable screw pile...anyone have experience with this product?

Looking to build a low level deck in the backyard on a budget and was wondering if anyone has any experience with this product. Reviews are hard to find online and I'm tempted to just try and install one to see how well it holds. I'd rather not use deck blocks and don't feel like going through the work required for concrete filled sono tubes.
57 replies
Deal Addict
Feb 2, 2011
1595 posts
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Ottawa
I tried using them last year. I have really crappy soil though (clay, shale), so it was impossible to avoid hitting large shale pieces. Ended up with deck blocks.
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Oct 19, 2008
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Whitby
When we auger holes its not very often a rock isn't hit in each hole that would stop that screwed in post dead.

Thinking these 'piles' are legal on lower decks where even a deck block is ok as there's no permit/building code to follow? Off top of my head:
1-if the bottom screw flange isn't below the frost line won't it possibly heave? What's frost line in Edmonton OP?
2-the flange at bottom of these things is 8", won't it possibly pin(sink)? I can't use 8" sono tubes without belled bottom for exactly that reason, the soil won't support a decks live load at 8"
Sr. Member
Jan 2, 2007
930 posts
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I'm thinking of using the same thing. Let me know how it goes when you try it.
Newbie
Jul 3, 2007
86 posts
7 upvotes
Used them for 3 decks. No problems so far and one of them almost 10 years old. They can be difficult to screw in if you hit a rock or something.
Member
Aug 5, 2010
278 posts
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used six for my shed. Went in fairly easy, and much less waste soil vs. sonotubes. Did hit some rocks/roots and have to move a couple. I was using them in an area under a tree, so knew there would be some roots and liked the idea that these would disrupt the ground less than a post hole auger.

Ended up putting some deck blocks in as well as i found the pylex had a bit of a wobble when i was walking on the shed. Will be checking later this spring for signs of settling, but so far does not seem like anything has shifted.

Would i use them again? Probably not, would likely go with sonotubes for a sturdy base.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 17, 2010
527 posts
134 upvotes
Edmonton
Zamboni wrote:
Mar 17th, 2015 11:06 am
When we auger holes its not very often a rock isn't hit in each hole that would stop that screwed in post dead.

Thinking these 'piles' are legal on lower decks where even a deck block is ok as there's no permit/building code to follow? Off top of my head:
1-if the bottom screw flange isn't below the frost line won't it possibly heave? What's frost line in Edmonton OP?
2-the flange at bottom of these things is 8", won't it possibly pin(sink)? I can't use 8" sono tubes without belled bottom for exactly that reason, the soil won't support a decks live load at 8"
The deck will be lower than 24" meaning I don't need a permit. I've contemplated just digging the holes and using sonotubes and also considered getting some 10' piles (heavier duty) installed but they come at a hefty price of about $200 per.

Yes, if I don't go below the frost line anything that gets installed can possibly heave. These piles have an extension that I can install to drive them in an extra 24" which will guarantee I get below the frost line. I'm in a new subdivision (few years now) so I'm not too concerned with hitting roots or rocks. TBH a neighbour used these and said he had no issues with them but it has only been a couple of seasons so I'm a bit skeptical. For a product that seems almost too good to be true it is almost impossible to find real life reviews or discussions about it online.
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Oct 19, 2008
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Whitby
I don't have experience with those piles so my comment/questions are just concerns I would want answered before I put a deck on them. If there 4' long, you add a 2' extension the 6' length gets you below the frost line in Edmonton? The pile should be at least 6" above ground?

Realize code doesn't apply as the deck is lower that 2" from ground so considered safer....still, the same amount of live load is on a deck wether its 2' or 5' off the ground. So if the 5' high deck requires a 12" pile to prevent pinning...in other words the soil won't support an 8" bearing surface and posts will sink....why shouldn't the same weight bearing on the soil from a deck 2" high sink (pin)?

Before using these piles I would check local code for a deck that requires a permit and use the same guidelines for depth and diameter of piers.
Sr. Member
Jan 2, 2007
930 posts
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I was at the home and garden show this weekend in Edmonton. After seeing the screw piles that was offered by some company, I've become very skeptical of the pylex ones you find at home depot for 20 bucks. These pylex ones are only up to 50" plus 24" extension and only about an inch thick. The ones they showcased at the home show as about 2.5" thick and about 9' long. I asked the guy there and he said this is what they use for a standard home decks. It cost $200 per pile...so 10x the price. Now I'm wondering if the ones at the home show was just an over kill or are the pylex ones just simply not sufficient.
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Oct 19, 2008
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I wouldn't go by your neighbour not having an issue either. Even in your own yard the soil bearing capacity could vary widely. That is why real piles are installed with resistance metered or with sledge hammer test in smaller sizes. Received latest issue on National Driller today-cover story is on Piles.
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Oct 22, 2002
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^^^ might want to remove your name & mailing address, Mik - er, Zamboni :D
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Oct 19, 2008
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Yikes....my secret identity exposed.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 17, 2010
527 posts
134 upvotes
Edmonton
lazymonkeygod wrote:
Mar 23rd, 2015 12:14 pm
I was at the home and garden show this weekend in Edmonton. After seeing the screw piles that was offered by some company, I've become very skeptical of the pylex ones you find at home depot for 20 bucks. These pylex ones are only up to 50" plus 24" extension and only about an inch thick. The ones they showcased at the home show as about 2.5" thick and about 9' long. I asked the guy there and he said this is what they use for a standard home decks. It cost $200 per pile...so 10x the price. Now I'm wondering if the ones at the home show was just an over kill or are the pylex ones just simply not sufficient.
How was the show? The wife and I wanted to drop in but time didn't permit.

I ended up going to Home Depot the other day and picked up one of these Pylex piles along with the extension. I wanted to inspect it for myself and see what the actual build quality was like. They seem to be pretty sturdy but in my opinion are useless unless you use the extension to get yourself more than 4 feet down. That being said for me to rely on these personally I'd have to use quite a few of them to make sure they properly support the load. As I understand they are engineered and can support more than the load my deck will exert, however they don't seem beefy enough but that's just my opinion.

I've ben doing a lot of reading and looking into the heavier duty piles, like the ones you've seen at the home show. They are heavier duty, thicker and support a ton of more weight. They also reach 10 ft deep and can be had with an adjustable cap if you need one. I've called and emailed around, there are a bunch of places in Edmonton who offer these along with installation and for the most part they are around $180-200 each. This includes engineered piles with paperwork from what seems to be reputable installers. All of the piles from what I could tell are manufactured in Edmonton from one of a few manufacturers. These piles from th home show aren't overkill, they are as proper as they come and because they are easy for someone with a machine to install they are becoming more and more popular. I see piles used all the time in the field as building foundations, we are just finally seeing them being used on a smaller residential scale because people realize how much less work is required compared to traditional concrete piles.

Once this snow melts I'll be tearing up the sod and marking out my foundation spots. I'm going to use the heavy duty piles even if they do cost more. The Pylex ones are $35 each after you figure in the extensions, and those come with caps for a 4x4 post, if you want 6x6 add another $12 or so per pile for the extra cap. I wouldn't use less than 8 of these for my install but with the heavy duty ones I'll onky need 3. Even at $600, if I don't have to rent equipment, mix concrete and dig/fill holes I'll gladly pay it. With the screw piles the guy can install them in an hour and I can start building before he loads his machine back on to his truck.

If you're interested in these piles I've found the place I plan on using that comes via a reference from a friend who built his deck on these piles. PM me and I'll pass on the info.
Sr. Member
Jan 2, 2007
930 posts
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The show was huge. I didn't manage to see everything in 1.5 hrs of being there. I was looking specifically for landscape and deck items since I'll have to do that once summer arrives but most of them seem kind of over priced. At 200 bucks a pile I might as well just go with the concrete sonotube route. The whole idea of using the pylex ones is that it saves time and money but still do the same job. Each pile is supposed to hold 4000lbs which I think is enough versus the ones at the home show was 10000lbs according to their sales guy there. I think I'll take a walk around my neighborhood again and see if there's any one else who used it and what's their opinion.
[OP]
Sr. Member
Oct 17, 2010
527 posts
134 upvotes
Edmonton
I've priced out renting the auger from Home Depot as well as the concrete, sono tubes and the saddles. After factoring in my time and effort the helical piles seem more than worth it to me especially since I only need 3. You'd be surprised how many bags of concrete you'll need to fill each of those footings. Of course if you've got access to the auger and a concrete mixer then concrete might be the way for you.

I live in a new sub division and I've seen a mixture of screw piles and concrete, mostly concrete on the builder supplied decks and I'll assume they went that way because of cost.

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