When to Use Fiberglass Sheet Piling Instead of Steel

Sheet piles are thin sheets of materials that fit together to form a temporary or permanent wall, supported by interlocking edges that help reinforce strength and stability. In the construction and engineering industries, they are used to keep the earth or water away from a structure when excavation occurs.

The installation of sheet piles depends on various factors, including the type of structure being built, soil conditions, and whether any local regulations are in place. Sheet piles can be installed using vibratory hammers, impact driving, or hydraulic methods

Sheet piles are commonly made of wood, steel, concrete, aluminum, vinyl, and fiberglass. This blog will discuss when fiberglass is preferable to steel in sheet piling.

What Is Fiberglass Sheet Piling?

Fiberglass sheet piling is also commonly referred to as fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite, FRP sheet piles. We refer to our system as UltraComposite™ sheet piling, and it is one of the most robust products available.

Fiberglass sheet piles are mainly used in harsh marine environments but are also utilized in engineering and construction industries. In aquatic environments, UltraComposite™ sheet piles are used when structures are being built to assist in water and earth retention, including flood barriers and seawalls.

Aside from its high strength, fiberglass is also environmentally friendly. Unlike steel, it does not exhibit properties that could damage the marine environment and would not need continuous maintenance.
What Is Steel Sheet Piling?

Steel is one of the most commonly used materials in sheet piling because of its strength, and because the process for constructing walls with steel is far quicker than for reinforced concrete walls. Typically, steel is used in underground structures such as car parks, basements, sewage systems and some flood defense systems.

Although steel piling has numerous benefits, it still carries some disadvantages. Some of those include high costs of transportation and installation and the need for extensive treatment to help maintain service life by ensuring the steel can withstand the environment where it is to be installed.

For these reasons, people are looking to fiberglass reinforcements as a more suitable material.

When Is Fiberglass Sheet Piling Used Instead Of Steel?

Fiberglass sheet piling is often used in marine applications. It is suitable for protecting riverbanks and areas that are going to be excavated, supporting flood walls and for functioning as retaining walls. It is also used in sewage and drainage systems

Fiberglass often replaces steel sheet piles when used in harsh environments where rust, rot, or corrosion is likely to occur. Although steel offers a long service life, it is highly susceptible to corrosion and is more expensive than composite sheet piling.

What Are The Advantages Of Fiberglass Sheet Piling?

In the marine industry, there are many advantages to choosing fiberglass over steel. These benefits range from being corrosion resistant to having a low environmental impact, with more included below:

  • Extremely high strength
  • Will not rust
  • Will not be damaged by salt water
  • Chemicals have little effect on fiberglass
  • Long engineering life
  • Limited maintenance required
  • Cost-effective

If you have any questions about our UltraComposite™ product or using fiberglass in the marine industry, please don’t hesitate to contact us.