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Understanding Drill Breaking Pile Head Construction Methods Just Need to Read This Article!

October 24,2023


The breaking of the pile head is a crucial step in the construction process of drilling piles. It plays a significant role in ensuring the stability and integrity of the overall structure. In this blog post, we will explore the construction method for breaking the pile head with a drill bit, focusing on techniques and tools used by construction professionals, engineers, and contractors.

To understand the importance of breaking the pile head, it is essential to have a clear overview of drilling piles and their components. Drilling piles are deep foundation elements that are used to transfer structural loads to deeper layers of soil or rock. They consist of several components, including the pile shaft, reinforcing cage, and pile cap.

The pile shaft is typically made of reinforced concrete and is designed to withstand vertical and horizontal loads. It provides support to the structure above by transferring these loads to deeper layers through end-bearing or skin friction.


The reinforcing cage reinforces the pile shaft and provides additional strength. It consists of steel bars arranged in a specific pattern to ensure proper load distribution and resistance against bending forces.

The pile cap is located at the top of the pile shaft and serves as a connecting element between the superstructure and the pile. It distributes loads from the superstructure evenly onto multiple piles, reducing stress concentration on individual piles.

Breaking the pile head becomes necessary when there is a need for modification or removal of an existing structure or when constructing new foundations on top of existing ones. The process involves using specialized techniques and tools specifically designed for this purpose.

There are various techniques employed for breaking the pile head, depending on factors such as pile diameter, depth, material composition, and site conditions. These techniques include mechanical methods like  hydraulic  breakers or hammers, thermal methods like burning or melting with oxy-acetylene torches, as well as chemical methods using expansive agents.


However, one commonly used technique involves using a drill bit attached to a   drilling  machine. This method offers precision and control during the breaking process. The drill bit is selected based on the pile diameter and material composition. It is then carefully positioned at the desired location on the pile head.

The drilling machine applies rotational force to the drill bit, gradually penetrating and breaking through the pile head. This process continues until the desired depth is reached, allowing for further construction or modification as required.

Techniques and Tools for Breaking Pile Head

Breaking the pile head is a crucial step in the construction process, as it allows for the installation of various structures on top of the drilled piles. In order to effectively break the pile head, construction professionals rely on a combination of techniques and specialized tools. These techniques and tools are designed to ensure precision, efficiency, and safety during the pile breaking process.

Drill Bit

The drill bit plays a fundamental role in breaking the pile head. It is a cutting tool that attaches to the drilling machine and is responsible for creating holes in the pile head. The drill bit is typically made from high-strength steel or carbide materials to withstand the forces exerted during drilling. It features sharp cutting edges that penetrate through different types of materials, including concrete, rock, or soil.

When breaking the pile head with a drill bit, it's essential to select an appropriate bit size based on the diameter of the pile and the desired depth of penetration. The size of the drill bit will determine how efficiently it can break through the pile head. Construction professionals should carefully consider factors such as soil conditions, load requirements, and project specifications when choosing a suitable drill bit.

Drilling Tools

In addition to the drill bit, there are various drilling tools used for breaking the pile head. These tools enhance efficiency and accuracy while ensuring worker safety during the construction process.

One commonly used tool is a  rotary  hammer or percussion drill. This tool combines rotary motion with a hammering action to break through tough materials such as reinforced concrete or rocky soil. The rotary hammer delivers powerful blows while rotating simultaneously, allowing for faster penetration into the pile head.

Another essential drilling tool is a core barrel or auger. This cylindrical device consists of cutting teeth on its lower end and is used for removing soil or debris from within drilled holes. The core barrel attaches to an auger drive system that rotates it into the ground, effectively breaking and extracting the pile head material.

For larger piles or more challenging conditions, construction professionals may utilize a hydraulic breaker. This heavy-duty tool uses hydraulic power to deliver high-impact blows to the pile head, effectively breaking it into smaller pieces. Hydraulic breakers are particularly useful when dealing with large-diameter piles or hard materials that require significant force for successful breaking.


Casing is an integral part of the pile breaking process, providing structural support and stability during drilling operations. It consists of a steel pipe that is inserted into the drilled hole before the pile breaking begins. The casing prevents the surrounding soil from collapsing into the hole, ensuring a stable working environment for construction professionals.

In addition to stabilizing the hole, casing also serves as a guide for the drill bit and other drilling tools. It helps maintain proper alignment and prevents deviation during the drilling process. The casing can be installed either by driving it into the ground or by using an oscillator to vibrate it into place.

The size and type of casing used depend on various factors such as soil conditions, load requirements, and project specifications. Construction professionals must carefully select the appropriate casing diameter and wall thickness to ensure sufficient strength and stability during pile breaking operations.

Step-by-Step Guide to Breaking Pile Head with a Drilling Machine

Breaking the pile head is a crucial step in the construction process, as it allows for the installation of various structures on top of the piles. In this step-by-step guide, we will walk you through the process of breaking the pile head using a drilling machine.


Before breaking the pile head with a drilling machine, it is important to ensure that all necessary preparations have been made. Here are some key steps to follow:

1.Safety Measures:Prioritize safety by wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) such as hard hats, safety goggles, and steel-toed boots. Make sure all team members are aware of safety protocols and procedures.

2.Clearing the Area:Remove any debris or obstacles around the pile head area to create a safe and accessible workspace. This includes removing loose soil, rocks, or other materials that may hinder the drilling process.

3.Inspecting Equipment:Thoroughly inspect the drilling machine to ensure it is in good working condition. Check for any damaged or worn-out parts that may affect its performance during pile breaking.

4.Selecting Drill Bit:Choose a drill bit specifically designed for breaking concrete or other materials commonly found in pile heads. Consider factors such as diameter, length, and type of drill bit based on the specifications of your project.

5.Assembling Tools:Gather all necessary tools and equipment required for breaking the pile head, including wrenches, hammers, chisels, and any additional attachments needed for your specific drilling machine.


Proper positioning of the drilling machine is essential for effective and efficient pile breaking. Follow these steps to ensure correct positioning:

1.Locate Pile Head:Identify the exact location of the pile head that needs to be broken using surveying tools or by referring to construction drawings.

2.Clear the Area:Clear the area around the pile head to provide enough space for maneuvering the drilling machine. Remove any obstructions or loose materials that may interfere with the positioning process.

3.Stabilize the Drilling Machine:Place the drilling machine in a stable position near the pile head, ensuring it is securely anchored and will not move during operation. Use stabilizers or outriggers if necessary to provide additional support.

4.Adjust Drill Angle:Adjust the drill angle based on the desired direction of breaking. This can be done by tilting the drilling machine or adjusting its attachments to achieve the desired angle.

Breaking Process

Now that you have completed the necessary preparations and positioned the drilling machine correctly, it's time to begin breaking the pile head. Follow these step-by-step instructions:

1.Drill Pilot Holes:Start by drilling pilot holes around the perimeter of the pile head using a smaller diameter drill bit. These pilot holes will serve as guides for breaking larger sections of concrete later on.

2.Break Outer Layer:Once pilot holes are drilled, use a larger diameter drill bit or chisel attachment to break through the outer layer of concrete along the marked perimeter. Apply steady pressure and make multiple passes if needed until a significant portion of concrete is removed.

3.Break Inner Core:After breaking through the outer layer, switch to a larger chisel attachment or breaker tool to break apart the inner core of concrete within the marked perimeter. Work systematically from one side to another, applying controlled force to gradually break down and remove chunks of concrete.

4.Clean and Inspect:Regularly clean out debris and inspect both your progress and equipment throughout the breaking process. This will help ensure efficient operation and identify any potential issues that may arise.

5.Repeat Steps:Continue repeating steps 1-4 until all desired sections of concrete within the pile head have been successfully broken and removed.

Remember to work methodically and avoid rushing the breaking process. Take breaks as needed to prevent fatigue and maintain focus on safety at all times.

By following this step-by-step guide, construction professionals, engineers, and contractors can effectively break pile heads using a drilling machine. It is essential to prioritize safety, adhere to proper positioning techniques, and follow the recommended break