How To Replace Pilings Under A Beach House

A beach house built on treated timber pilings will ultimately need to have the pilings replaced. Despite the pilings being treated, they are unfortunately unable to last forever. The piles can start to deteriorate with time due to moisture and pests such as termites. Ultimately, rot will always begin to settle in, making replacement inevitable.

To replace the pilings under a beach house, the entire house needs to be supported to ensure it does not collapse during the process. By using water injection, the old pilings are pulled out before new pilings are driven into place, after which they become set in the soil.

While it may seem like an extremely difficult process, replacing the pilings under your beach house is a highly achievable endeavor given the right equipment and the necessary professional assistance. It’s always best not to take shortcuts when replacing piles becomes necessary, as this can lead to major structural failures later.

How To Replace Pilings Under Beach House

Treated timber pilings have a tendency to start rotting after several years of exposure to moisture and other elements such as adverse weather. Pilings will often start to rot just below their concrete capping (if there is one), and this will naturally warrant replacing the pile.

Wooden piles are also prone to rotting near the ground level due to the constant exposure to moisture. This also makes the piles a target for termites because the moist wood is far easier to target.

To replace the pilings under a beach house, you will first need to put structures in place to support the main house, thus ensuring that it remains completely secure and that it will not collapse while the replacement of the piles is taking place.

This is essential to ensure that the house doesn’t shift at all during the pile replacement process. Once sufficient support structures are in place, you can begin removing the old rotting pilings from underneath the house.

The old piles are pulled out through the use of water injection, and the new piles are then driven back into place in much the same way. Once the new pilings are in place, the water injector can be pulled out.

The ground will then dry around the pilings, helping to set them permanently into place. Bear in mind that for every single foot of construction above ground, the pile will need to be driven between one and one and a half feet underground.

In theory, this job is relatively simple to do. However, it should always be trusted to professionals, and the necessary permits and inspections will always apply. Certain complications can always arise, such as the difficulties associated with concrete underneath the house that needs removing.

The contractors who usually embark on these types of jobs are those who build bulkheads and docks. They will make use of 10” by 10” or 12” by 12” posts with a 0.6 pressure treatment. The average cost is usually around $1500 per pile for the job. It’s always important to ensure that there is an engineer involved in the project.

Some contractors will suggest simply pouring concrete around the wooden piles, but one should never accept this option. This is because the timber piles will simply continue to rot inside the concrete, leading to further problems with time.

One alternative that can be considered, however, is for each timber pile to be shored up using jacks and replaced with a concrete piling.

When new piles are being installed, it is also an opportunity to raise the house slightly in order to comply with the requirements of flood insurance companies.

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Depth Of Pilings

Pile foundations are usually driven to a depth of at least 8 feet. In coastal areas,  however, a minimum depth of 16 feet is usually necessary. The piles should be driven below the scour depth, and the building should be elevated above flood levels (bear in mind the need to accommodate for waves).

The scour depth can range between 10 and 20 feet, which means the piles will need to be driven deeper than this to anchor the support structure.

Due to subsurface conditions in the Florida panhandle, the scour can reach depths of more than 20 feet, requiring piles in coastal residential construction to be driven between 20 and 35 feet below grade.

How Do Pilings Work?

One of the best foundation alternatives for a beachfront property is a piling foundation. Individual supports are put into the ground until a firm bedrock support layer is reached.

This helps the house to survive flooding and storms while also providing a robust support structure in less-than-ideal soil conditions, such as those found along the coast.

Pile foundations allow structures to be erected in such a way that prevents flooding from entering and causing damage.

Pilings are inserted into the earth by injecting water, which is then held in place by the surrounding sand’s pressure.

For projects near the sea, 8″ by 8″ pilings are buried a minimum of 8 feet deep and up to 16 feet deep.

Homes built on piles also have the advantage of being movable in the event of settling or erosion. This is a rather straightforward procedure, and these homes can be raised or reset as needed. If necessary, the house can be loaded into a vehicle and transported to a new location.

Pile Installation

Before pilings can be installed, there are a number of procedures that must be followed. To begin, you’ll need to get a building permit. This can be done by calling your local government and asking about the current construction codes and requirements in your area.

To choose the sort of piling and its material, you’ll need to contact your supplier. Steel, concrete, lumber, and fiberglass piles are among the alternatives. Materials are preferred differently in different parts of the country.

It will be necessary to confirm the best stacking length. This will help to guarantee that the correct piling depth is obtained, which will withstand any vertical as well as horizontal uplift. The correct length of piling will ensure that there are no difficulties with flood heights, slope elevation, or erosion potential.

Finally, the piles can be driven into the ground once the specifications for embedded depth have been met.


While the replacement of the pilings under your beach house may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it can be achieved with relative ease if the correct professionals are brought in to complete the job. By trusting the experts, you will have a project that ensures your safety, as well as the integrity of the building, for years to come.