Your home’s foundation is imperative to a safe home. But, there is more to a home’s foundation than what it is built with. It is equally important that the soil on which your foundation is built is also solid. Why? Because without proper soil preparation, the foundation built on top of it can still experience issues over time.
So, what are the characteristics of strong soil? Here are a few:
- Soils that have a good structure
- Soil that goes through wetting and drying cycles, thus allowing for expansion
- Soils that capture precipitation, so as to minimize erosion
- Soils that have balanced chemistry so that building materials do not corrode
Building on sandy soil means your house’s foundation is not going to last- common sense, right? But what types of soil contribute to a firm foundation for your home? There are a number of preferred options, so if you plan on building a home at some point, be sure to look for a property where one of these strong soils exist.
Clay- An assortment of tiny particles comprise clay, which means that while it stores water well, it also shrinks significantly when it dries. The extreme expanding and contracting results in a great deal of pressure being on the foundation and causes them to move up and down. The frequent soil changes and movement ultimately cause the foundation to crack.
Loam – Considered the ideal soil for a foundation, loam is a combination of sand, silt, and clay. It is soft to the touch but can handle moisture in a balanced manner. Better yet, it does not contract or expand significantly, so there is no concern of foundational damage occurring.
Peat – Made from decomposed organic materials, and common to swampy areas, peat is much like clay and has a low bearing capacity.
Rock – Bedrock, limestone, shale or sandstone, these are the preferred rock on which to build your home’s foundation. However, the surface must be level before building on it otherwise the foundation has to have piers or anchors.
Sand/Gravel – Having the largest particles of all the soil types, sand and gravel drain easily, but holds together well when compacted. However, despite their non-water-retaining properties the particles can lose their friction and wash away over time leaving gaps beneath the foundation. However, this can be overcome with the use of helical piers.
Silt – This soil is definitely not ideal for building one’s foundation on! Silt is unstable as its small particles retain water much too long and it does not drain well.
Your home’s foundation is only as strong as its soil foundation. If you have questions regarding your home’s structural base or the soil supporting it, now is the time to contact Sherrill Structural Repair. We would love to help you ensure your home will last for years.