Screw piles or sonotubes? The choice is obvious!

Have a project in mind? You want it to last and resist to the changing seasons? Harsh winters and spring thaws affect soil composition; therefore, you must ensure that your patio, garage, solarium, dock, etc. lay on solid foundations. You have two options: screw piles or sonotubes.

When it comes to cost-effectiveness, sustainability and safety, screw piles are without a doubt the best choice! In light of the screw pile advantages, discover why sonotubes are no match for this certified product.


What is the difference between a screw pile and a sonotube?

The table below unveils the key disparities between these two products. But before diving into this any further, let’s clearly differentiate screw piles from sonotubes.

Screw piles

Made of galvanized steel and meet Canada’s National Building Code requirements under license CCMC 13608-R, Pro Post Foundations’ screw piles are like large screws. To support your structure, screw piles are driven into the ground using specialized equipment; they are installed below the frost line thanks to a helix plate.

Therefore, they are not affected by ground movements and offer unparalleled stability, even in locations with poor soil quality and uneven ground.  With components such as an adjustable or fixed pile head, a central shaft and a helix plate to anchor, this product’s components can be adapted to a wide range of residential and commercial projects.


Similar to screw piles, sonotubes support a residential or commercial structure. Sonotubes are cardboard tubes in which concrete is poured to create solid concrete, cylinder-shaped pillars. For people looking to install twenty-foot columns, sonotubes serve both a structural and esthetic purpose.


Why choose screw piles?

There are several reasons to choose screw piles! Many installation factors must be taken into consideration when deciding. Here’s a summary:


Installing sonotubes requires digging; installing screw piles does not. This is a key factor when you take into account the damage caused to a property by excavation equipment.


To install screw piles, our professional installers use specialized equipment such as mini Kubota tractors, which makes a huge difference! This mini tractor is designed for all types of soils and limits property damage, thanks to its turf tires and mini rear excavator that precisely positions the screw piles. What’s more, the equipment used to install the screw piles is so efficient that work is completed in one day, even in less accessible areas. 

Certified installers

Prior to installing screw piles, a manufacturer’s certification must be obtained; as opposed to sonotubes that can be installed by any handyman. Thanks to our certified installers and their specialized equipment, you can be confident that your project will be supported perfectly.

Weather conditions

What’s more, our professionals can work regardless of the weather conditions. As opposed to sonotubes, where installations during drought, frost or rainy periods are not recommended.

When opting for screw piles, you can immediately move forward with your project once installation is complete! With concrete pillars, you will have to wait the required curing time.


No outside factors can hinder the screw piles’ durability. You can rest assured that over time, they will maintain the exact shape and position; a key advantage over sonotubes that can shift and distort over time!


Screw piles are guaranteed against manufacturer and installation defects. On the other hand, sonotubes often do not come with any guarantee. Think twice before installing sonotubes.


If you would like more information on the differences between sonotubes and screw piles, read our previous article, where we discuss how to successfully install these two alternatives.

You will realize that installing sonotubes is hard work! The slightest imperfection in the hole or the concrete mix, and your sonotubes will either come out of or sink into the ground! Structural collapse, misalignment and damage are then inevitable.

Need an overall comparison of these two products? Refer to our chart below.

Screwpiles VS Sonotubes

    • Piles

    • Sonotubes

    • Clean, no excavation required
    • Excavation necessary
    • No damage to your property! Our team even makes sure to put back everything into place before leaving property!
    • Damaged and messy property: piles of leftover soil, traces left by the machinery or the equipment used, lumps of concrete and debris left behind after the work is completed
    • One installer using a minimum number of equipment for a more discrete installation and less damage to your property.
    • Several workers and equipment needed on the construction site therefore generating higher noise levels and causing more damage to your property.
    • Installation done by a certified Pro Post Foundations installer. You know your project is in good hands!
    • Concrete pile installation does not require any certification, which means anybody can decide to become an installer.
    • Installation is always possible, whatever the weather conditions.
    • Installation is limited to frost free and dry weather conditions of the year.
    • Precise leveling process done by our specialists.
    • More difficult and less precise levelling process.
    • No waiting time necessary! You can start building your structure the very same day!
    • Concrete must cure completely before works begins, which means construction is delayed.
    • The piles are fully guaranteed against manufacturing defects and so are the installation services.
    • Guaranties are rarely offered for this type of product.
    • The piles can be moved and reused, which make them a green alternative
    • Concrete piles can neither be moved nor reused.
    • The piles can be installed under existing structures.
    • Installation must be done before construction begins.
    • No warping or movement possible.
      Nothing can impact the pile’s durability once it’s in place. It will not warp and the helix plate will hold it firmly in place, which means that it will not move up or down, whatever the type of soil it’s in.
    • Deformation and movement possible.
      Many factors can affect a concrete pile’s durability and have it move up or down the hole it was cast in, i.e. type of hole, concrete composition, ground inclination, presence of water in the ground, etc.
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