Why Knowing Types of Soil Can Save Thousands of Dollars

Why Knowing Types of Soil Can Save Thousands of Dollars

If you’ve ever tried to build something in the sand, you probably learned very quickly that the ground was not strong enough to hold much weight for very long. This is because sand is not a sturdy foundation and moves with very little resistance.

For years, building certain kinds of buildings was limited to the kind of soil and foundation available. With modern technology and improved building techniques, everything has started to change. However, until recently, it came with a very high price.

Different Kinds of Soil

When building a home or a building, one of the first considerations that is almost always considered is what kind of ground will be under the foundation. Every piece of property is unique with its own terrain and soil type, but here are the most common.

  • Peat – A dark, compressible soil that can hold water. However, it can also be very dry and a fire hazard. Most consider this soil unstable and dangerous to build on.
  • Silt – Similar to peat, silt absorbs water very well and makes a foundation unstable.
  • Clay – Made of tiny particles, clay also stores water well and can be moved easily. Buildings built on clay tend to move up and down and crack easily.
  • Sand/Gravel – Compared to the other options, both of these are larger particles that don’t hold water well. However, if they do get wet enough, the particles lose friction and can be washed away, leaving empty spots below a foundation.
  • Loam – If going with a soil foundation, this is a good combination of silt, clay, and sand. It is good for supporting a foundation because it takes the positives of the other soil types while leaving out the negatives. This kind of soil is often man-made, or at least man-adjusted.
  • Rock – Rock is the ideal foundation because of its high weight bearing capacity. The most important factor in rock is to make sure that it’s a flat foundation.

Cost of a Foundation

Sure, building on rock or loam sounds great, but it can be extremely expensive. If living in a swampy area, bringing enough loam or even gravel to build a foundation can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

For years, people have either settled for weak soil foundations or had to fork out the money to ensure a safe place to work or live. As mentioned before, however, there are new techniques and technologies that are changing what is possible.

Vibrio Concrete Columns

In areas where the ground is not strong, vibrio concrete columns provide a concrete column or underground tube that goes to a depth that will secure the building being constructed.

While soil will typically move, absorb water, or expand causing a foundation to lose its strength, the concrete columns are unaffected by the environment and natural weather/water patterns that occur.

Typically these columns are used for larger buildings such as multi-story buildings, storage tanks, silos, and commercial centers.

Better to Play it Safe

Assuming that the soil is fine to build on is very dangerous. Even if there are other buildings around, it is wise to have an expert come out and look and give an evaluation. In fact, in many places, it is now required.

There are studies that show that up to 25% of all homes will have foundation related issues at some point, with 5% having a major disaster. For that reason alone, it is wise to make sure that precautions are taken before building, whether it means importing better soil, choosing a different property, or using technology such as vibrio concrete columns to help secure and protect the building or home.