Why is Vibro Replacement Important?

Why is Vibro Replacement Important?

We love getting our hands dirty in the ground below, knowing that our hard work will allow for something magnificent to be built upon it. On our shoulders, we carry that weight of excitement for building something new until we can transfer it successfully onto our solutions for general contractors, whether it is helical piles or underpinning or even now what we believe to be the future and part of our expansion of services; vibro replacement.



Vibro replacement is a technique that builds load-bearing columns made from gravel or crushed stone in cohesive soils and granular soils with high fines content. It is used to treat clays, silts, and mixed stratified soils and improve their load bearing and settlement characteristics. This type of ground improvement solution falls into the category of deep vibratory compaction techniques in which loose or soft soil becomes improved for building purposes by means of special depth vibrators. Typical applications for stone columns include settlement and stability improvement below embankments and stockpiles; foundations for all type of building especially warehousing and industrial buildings.


There are two methods for Vibro replacement:

Wet Top Feed 

Through the wet top feed method, the most common method, water forces through the head of a vibrator bit already mounted on the end of a drilling rig. Pressure assists in the penetration of soil and stone as fed from the top of the vibrator. Penetration to the required depth occurs through the combination of vibration and high-pressure water jets. Once the vibrator reaches the required depth, stones fed from the top move down. This method acts as a partial replacement process with some soil replaced and the rest laterally displaced and compressed. Figure 1 represents the wet top feed method of vibro replacement. This method raises issues of water supply and disposal. The process needs a large amount of water, usually transported to the site. Water disposal must also follow proper guidelines due to the number of fines in the water. This method treats soils up to a depth of 30 meters.  

Dry Bottom Feed 

In this method, a custom machine supports the bottom feed vibrator assembly. Penetration to the required depth occurs through the combination of vibrations and the downward force of the machine. Unlike wet top feed method, the process does not use water jets and therefore dry bottom feed better suits congested areas and locations with limited access to water. Stones fed through a bin from the top of the machine move down to the bottom of the vibrator head. This method treats soils up to 20 meters in depth


Vibro-replacement is a very versatile method of ground improvement. This method can improve many different soil types. Soils that need vibro-replacement include those at risk of liquefaction, in need of densification, have problems with bearing capacity and stability, and where excessive settlements may occur


Vibro-replacement has economic advantages over traditional soil improvement:

  • Increased shear strength
  • Increased resistance to liquefaction
  • Increased bearing capacity 
  • Increased shear resistance 
  • Reduced settlement in soils
  • Mitigation of liquefaction and lateral spreading  
  • Uniformity of site after treatment  
  • Achievement of the specific degree of improvement required by the project  
  • Cost and time savings over conventional systems  
  • Can be applied close to existing structures  
  • In situ treatment, thus avoiding excavation and replacement  


Helicon is the premier geotech construction company in Florida. Based out of Tampa, FL. we are a licensed general contractor leading the industry in full-service geotech construction work.

We are experts in pre-construction, soil and structural stabilization, & sinkhole repair. As the premier provider of geotech construction services throughout the state of Florida for nearly 15 years, Helicon prides itself on providing high-quality service, for both insurance companies and private customers with handling all repairs and pre-construction work for both residential and commercial projects. We strive to exceed everyone’s expectations.

Helicon has successfully completed thousands of projects in the state of Florida with a focus on the Tampa Bay metropolitan area, including the surrounding counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Polk, Citrus and Marion counties. Our professional Helicon Teams are trained and equipped with the tools and expertise needed to execute a flawless and professional experience using the latest technology to repair or prevent for your particular project.

We invest in our teams ensuring they remain up to date on the latest industry technology and training. Our Office Teams will answer all your questions, provide professional service, give knowledgeable advice, and execute a project that will fully satisfy our customers.