When to use ground screw foundations and how

Thursday 14th October 2021

Ground screws otherwise known as grounding foundation screws are an easy and green alternative to concrete foundations.  As a system, you can combine screws at varying lengths and different screw head attachments to suit the application above ground.  Southern Sheeting’s range of Bayo DIY ground screws are ideal for small structures and can be installed by just one person without the need for specialist machinery.

With the popularity of these screws growing rapidly, we thought it would be worthwhile answering some of the most frequently asked questions:

How do ground screw foundations work as an anchor?

In the same way as concrete foundations, ground screws are part of a building structure which is below ground level and transfers loads from the construction above, to load bearing ground below it.  To be an effective anchor, foundations are required at different depths depending on the mass of the structure being constructed and the ground conditions.

Ground Screws are available in different lengths to cater for a variety of applications and project sizes.

What types of structure can ground screws be used for?

Southern Sheeting stocks a range of DIY screws which are designed to support small structures such as decks, garden rooms, sheds, summer houses, and greenhouses.  You can also use ground screws to firmly anchor posts for fencing, playgrounds structures, pergolas, or umbrellas.  The larger the ground screw, or the more ground screws used, the larger/heavier the structure it can support.

How to install ground screws

Ground screws as the name suggests, need to be screwed into the ground. After creating a pilot hole using a spike or SDS drill, the DIY range of Ground Screws can be wound in using a spanner bar tool by hand. For large ground screws a special machine is required.

Once the screws are in place and screwed into the correct level you can attach the relevant screw head accessory and then attach the above ground structure to it accordingly.

Are ground screws easier to install than concrete foundations?

Yes, ground screws are much easier than concrete foundations for so many reasons, here are just a few:

  • No back breaking digging required.  Yes, you do need to put some force into screwing them in by hand, but it doesn’t compare to digging holes.
  • There is no need to mix up messy concrete by hand or with a mixer.
  • The positioning of ground screws can often be more versatile to avoid underground cables or pipes.
  • You don’t need to worry about pouring concrete and waiting for it to cure.  Put your screws in and you are ready to build the structure above it.
  • There is no time pressure to set posts exactly plumb and level in quick curing Postcrete. If your screw is not level as it goes in, unwind, straighten up and wind back in.
  • The ease of installation is reflected in the time taken with ground screws being installed 60-70% faster than traditional concrete foundations.

Why are ground screws more sustainable than concrete foundations?

Ground screws are considered to be the more sustainable option for foundations compared with laying concrete.  But why?

  • The ground screw is re-usable so could be unscrewed from the ground after use on one building and then re-used on another project. 
  • Made of Steel these screws are 100% recyclable so won’t end up in landfill.
  • The manufacturing process of making steel ground screws produces a fraction of the carbon emissions produced in the production of concrete.
  • Ground screws don’t disturb your soil’s ecosystem, if you remove your structure in the future the site can be returned to its original state with much greater ease.
  • No waste material due to the way they are installed without needing to dig out soil in exchange for concrete.

In summary, ground screws are a fantastic anchoring option to provide foundations for smaller structures, assuming the correct ground conditions.  Southern Sheeting sell a range of ground screws and attachments in varying lengths and we deliver all over the UK. 

Buy online or get in touch for a bespoke order.

Foundation sitting on ground screws  Wooden foundation and ground screw  Ground screws in grass