3 Things You Didn’t Know Sheet Piling Was Used For

She piling is used in construction, and are most commonly made out of steel, but timber or reinforced concrete sheet piles are also used. The material used will depend on things such as whether the structure is to be temporary or permanent, the conditions of the site, and various other factors.

Generally, timber sheet piles are often used in temporary structures, reinforced concrete is often used in permanent structures particularly around water, and steel sheet piles are used very commonly in a number of applications as they are able to take a lot of stress and provide a great level of water tightness.

Sheet piles are driven into the ground usually using either vibratory hammer, impact hammer, or in the case of certain sites where vibrations could cause local disturbances can be pushed into the ground hydraulically.

So what are some everyday uses of sheet piling? Here are three common applications for sheet piling you may not know about, but probably see around you on a regular basis.


Sheet piling is often used in bank protection for canals and waterways. The sheets used (usually made from galvanised steel) provide protection from bank erosion, and prevent leaks as well as providing structural strength for the banks.

This is the most popular way of providing bank protection, although other methods do exist. Sheet piling provides a long-term solution, but it can be a high-cost project.

There are both many advantages and disadvantages to using sheet piling for bank protection, and you can learn a lot more about the process on the Inland Waterways Association website here.

Underground structures

Another very common application of sheet piling is in the construction of underground basements and car parks.

Sheet piling offers a number of different benefits during such construction. It acts as a containment for the excavation pit which is watertight, as well as being able to form the permanent structure itself.

There are many benefits to this, as construction takes less time, and using the piling to form the wall of the structure maximises the space available. This, in turn, can often reduce the cost of the project.


Sheet piling is also used during construction work taking place on the railways. As rail lines often run through hillsides, it is important to ensure that landslides do not occur onto the tracks, and sheet piling offers a great solution as a retaining wall, keeping both earth and ground water contained.

Sheet piling was used in the construction of the Manchester Metrolink, and you can take a look at the case study by Sheet Piling UK here to get a better understanding of what was involved in such a project.

As you can see, sheet piling actually has many rather common uses that you probably see around you on a daily basis, but may not have been aware of.

Hopefully this has given you a little bit of insight into the various applications, and the many things that are possible through the use of sheet piling.

James Loveland

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