Waterfront construction along Florida’s Gulf Coast usually involves using elevated foundations to comply with laws and regulations and to protect property. Although there are different ways to raise a foundation, foundation pilings are one of the most commonly used options. Fiberglass pilings, in particular, are often the number one choice due to their many benefits.
Elevated Foundation Construction in the Florida Gulf Coast
Living and working along Florida’s Gulf Coast means pleasant weather and beautiful scenery. However, the downside to the picturesque setting is the risk of flooding due to coastal erosion, wave patterns, and storm surge. Elevated foundation construction helps to solve this problem by placing structures higher off the ground where they are out of the reach of the water. In many areas, elevated foundations are required, and even in other places, they may be preferable for those hoping to reduce the risk of flooding as much as possible.
What Are Pilings?
Pilings are columns that are driven into the bedrock located deep underground. They can be used as dock pilings for marine construction or house pilings in residential areas. Residential and marine pilings differ from piers and cylindrical support columns that are much shallower. Because of their depth, piling foundations are solid and can bear heavier loads than piers.
What Materials Are Used to Make Pilings?
Pilings can be made from:
Fiberglass pilings are also sometimes called Pearson pilings, Fortress pilings or composite pilings. Fiberglass is a resin material that is hardened with glass. Typically, the outer layer is treated with a UV-resistant acrylic paint system for added protection.
Benefits of Fiberglass Pilings
All of the following are key benefits of fiberglass pilings…
Compared to other types of pilings, fiberglass is much more durable. A wood piling is highly vulnerable to the elements. Even when treated, it will gradually warp and rot, and wood can become compromised by insects, borers, and algae, weakening the pilings. Steel pilings solve the rot problem, but salty air and seawater can cause the metal to rust and corrode over time. Concrete pilings are anti-corrosive, but they crumble over time.
By comparison, fiberglass is:
- Able to maintain its integrity without crumbling
- Immune to pests and algae
Because of these factors, fiberglass construction generally outlasts steel, wood, and concrete or cement piling foundation construction.
For those who prefer to use environmentally friendly construction materials, fiberglass pilings are an ideal choice. Other types of pilings are often strengthened with preservatives. Over the years, these chemicals can leach into the soil or the water, contaminating the environment. Fiberglass pilings are free of preservatives, making them a better choice for green construction.
Easier Handling and Construction
Despite their strength, fiberglass pilings are one-third as heavy as wood and one-fourth the weight of steel. As a result, they may simplify and speed up the construction process. Because the pilings are hollow, new ones can simply be slipped over the old. This can reduce the labor and expenses involved with demolition when building a new structure on previously used waterfront property.
The wear and tear of steel, wood, and concrete pilings don’t just affect the strength and integrity of foundations. These pilings can become an eyesore and detract from the appearance of the structures that they support. Fiberglass pilings retain their smooth, sleek look even as they age to keep buildings looking their best.
What Is the Average Cost of Fiberglass Pilings?
Fiberglass pilings are usually slightly more expensive in terms of upfront costs than concrete, steel, and wood pilings. However, the extra money spent during construction can lead to significant cost savings. Fiberglass pilings require very little ongoing maintenance and usually have a much longer lifespan than other types of pilings. This means that home and dock pilings made of fiberglass cost less to maintain and are much less likely to require expensive emergency repairs. Sometimes, the money saved may completely offset the extra costs of fiberglass marine or house pilings.
Fiberglass Pilings for Long-Lasting, Durable Construction
Highpoint DBR has years of experience deploying fiberglass pilings in elevated foundation construction projects. We specialize in custom home design and rebuild services and are ready to assist you with building the house of your dreams or helping you restore your home following a natural disaster. Contact us today to learn more about our services and determine if fiberglass pilings are the best choice for your construction project.