What You Need to Know About Different Shoring Techniques
Updated: Oct 15
Construction projects require lots of complex excavating and digging by machine or by hand. Often, this is done in ground that has been loosened up with heavy site traffic and other nearby excavation. On top of all this, there’s the issue of water, either from the ground itself or from rainfall. For all of these reasons, shoring techniques become a vital part of keeping structures and excavations in the ground stable, safe for workers and free of potentially costly collapses.
When is shoring used?
Construction site supervisors and engineers generally use shoring in a project whenever they want to offer support for:
Excavated holes and trenches
Walls being reinforced or repaired
Enlarged openings and newly made gaps in or between structures
Ground or structures that need to stay firm while a nearby structure is being demolished
Structures that are being erected but aren’t yet permanently reinforced
These are just some major, basic examples of when shoring techniques can become critical. These technologies and procedures can however be used in all sorts of contexts and in construction or landscape development projects of nearly any kind. Most basically, whenever a hole is being dug in the ground or something needs to be kept from collapsing during renovation and construction, shoring is usually necessary.
Types of shoring techniques
There are various shoring techniques which are implemented by contractor nowadays, which are summarized as follows:
1. H and I-Beam Shoring
One of the most common shoring techniques used today is called H or I-Beam shoring. Another name for this process is soldier pile wall shoring. With this method, prefabricated steel H or I sections are driven or slid and vibrated into holes in the ground. In between these H or I beams, pre-cast concrete panels are then slid into place and installed. H or I-Beam shoring is especially useful for excavations between 4 and 15 feet or so in depth (1.2 to 5 meters), but can be reinforced carefully to handle deeper spaces in the ground.
2. Sheet Pile Shoring
With sheet pile shoring, you can create strong, long lasting and flexible results that can hold back heavy amounts of surrounding material. Because the corrugated thick steel sheets used for sheet pile shoring usually have to be driven into the ground, this technique is best done in soil that’s free of boulders or heavy rock saturation.
Sheet piles can then be installed, reinforced by horizontal steel beams and if the sheet sections of the piles are firmly fixed together and then welded, this shoring method can be powerful against ground water seepage. In fact, sheet pile shoring is particularly useful for excavations being built close to large bodies of water or ground water concentrations.
3. Secant Pile Shoring
With secant pile shoring, you can intersect two walls together so that they interlock to create a continuous wall. One of these is called the primary wall and the other is called the secondary wall. The primary wall is the sturdier one but both are integral to the overall structure. Secant pile shoring is useful when open excavation is too difficult due to tight space or obstructing nearby structures. Secant pile shoring has to be carefully applied specifically because it’s often used so close to other standing structures.
4. Tangent, or Contiguous Pile Shoring
This visibly simple shoring method consists of strong, sturdily placed piles plowed into the ground and tightly spaced next to each other in a line (tangent) to each other. The cylindrical piles can’t however be packed together in a waterproof way and for this reason, tangent pile shoring is the exact opposite of sheet pile shoring in that it shouldn’t be used where there is a high-water table, lots of nearby water bodies or a risk of major water seepage. It is however useful for retaining excavations against lots of dry granular material or fairly dry clay soils.
5. Trench Boxes
First of all, it’s worth noting that trench boxes aren’t a deep excavation shoring technology. For major soil retention, they shouldn’t be used by themselves because their main purpose is rapidly installable trench shoring for worker protection in limited-depth trenches and excavations.
Therefore, trench box shoring does work extremely well for keeping soil and rock falls from pouring into trenches and holes where people are working. What’s more, the trench boxes themselves come in different sizes, can be rapidly lifted into place and can even have their width adjusted as needed for different trench widths. They’re an excellent rapid option for excavation security during pipe laying, underground cable work or other shallow excavation projects.
Covering your shoring needs
When it comes to shoring materials, tools and technologies, buying or renting from suppliers with a long history of quality products and good maintenance track records is essential.
After all, these tools are being used for keeping hundreds of tons of dirt off off valuable employees and work projects. For extremely versatile and robust soldier pile wall shoring, sheet pile shoring or trench box shoring needs, ESC Group offers a wide range of solutions for nearly any construction project. Contact us for a custom quote on your specific needs.