Everything You Need To Know About Sheet Piles

This is a comprehensive guide on sheet piles.

In this guide, you’ll learn:

  • About sheet piles
  • How they work
  • Uses of them
  • Their types, and


Let’s dive right in.

What Are Sheet Piles?

Sheet piles are sections of sheet materials with interlocking edges.

These are normally driven into the ground to provide earth retention and excavation support.

Sheet Piles

How Sheet Piles Work

When driven into the ground, these piles form a wall-like structure.

For this purpose, they are made with interlocking sheets to connect to each other.

Usually, steel sheets are used to make these piles.

But, wood, vinyl, and some other materials are also used.

And, the strength and stability of these piles mostly depend on the shape and material of the sheets.

Uses Of Sheet Piles

There are various uses of sheet piles:

  • In building construction, they are mostly used as a temporary wall for earth retention during excavation.
  • But they are also used as permanent walls to provide stability and durability to the interior walls in the basement.
  • Sheet piles are also used to prevent floods to structures close to shorelines.

Types Of Sheet Piles

Sheet piles are normally categorized based on the materials used to make them.

And, they are:

  • Steel sheet piles
  • Timber sheet piles
  • Concrete sheet piles,
  • Light-gauge aluminum
  • Pultruded fiberglass sheet piles, and
  • Vinyl sheet piles

Advantages Of Sheet Piles

Here are some advantages of them:

  • These piles are light in weight. That’s why they are easy to handle and uninstall.
  • They can be recycled and reused.
  • Piles can come in a wide range of lengths and sizes.
  • They required only a little maintenance above and underwater.
  • Joints are designed to withstand the high-pressure required to drive them into place.
  • You can use these for temporary and permanent structures.
  • Sheet piles can provide a close-fitting joint to form an effective water seal.


  • It’s difficult to install sheet piles into the rocky soil.
  • They can cause neighborhood disturbance while using vibratory hammers or impact hammers to install.
  • It can be costly to remove temporary sheet piles after the project is completed.

How To Install Sheet Piles

These piles are installed in sequence along the planned perimeter.

For that:

First, all the piles are arranged in sections to check if they will interlock correctly or not.

Next, the first pile is driven to the defined depth as per design.

Normally, the vibratory hammer is used to drive piles.

If the soil is hard or dense then impact hammers are used.

But, if the vibration is prohibited at a particular area, then piles are pushed in place using hydraulics.

After that, the second pile is driven so that it interlocks with the first one.

And, the process is repeated until the wall is completed along the perimeter.

So, this is the typical process of installing sheet piles.

As I discussed above, most of the sheet piles are used to form a temporary wall to facilitate earth excavation.

After the construction is completed, the piles can be removed and reused.

But before removing sheet piles, it is wise to calculate the cost of removal.

If the pile cost is less than the removal cost then it may be left in places (if there is no other issue involved).


So, these are all about sheet piles you need to know as a construction professional.

I hope this guide helped you to understand the concept clearly.

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