Soil is a dynamic entity. Even a minor dip in moisture or the type of minerals within it can completely change how it turns out.
As a contractor it’s your duty to make sure you’re fluent in the language of soil. That means being able to control moisture levels, prevent flooding damage, and ensure your foundation is being built on the right type. Anything less and you could have a huge disaster on your hands months down the road. Expert soil analysis resources have been in place for centuries, slowly perfected over the years to have easy classification systems. What do you know about clay-rich soils?
Here are the most common types of soil you should know about and how they could support, or detract from, your work.
Basic Facts About Soil And Your Work
A strong foundation sets the stage for what’s to come. This goes for education, it goes for the homes and establishments you help build. Good soil is essential to making sure all your hard work doesn’t go under during a surprise storm. Texas is home to over 60 different types of soil, some suitable for building and others potentially hazardous for anything heavier than a few pounds. Most homes in Texas that were built in the last 50 years have what’s known as a ‘slab foundation’.
Soil is classified into several types to make construction an easier process. The primary soil types you’ll be tracking throughout your line of work are loamy, chalky, silty, peaty, sandy, and clay. Clay soil types are exactly what it says on the tin — these are known for their thick, moldable texture, able to be a great foundation or walkway. Clay is then classified into four different types depending on how much clay is in the mix. The thickest types have a heavy set of minerals that keep their structure in a wide variety of conditions.
Loose, Sandy Soils
The opposite of clay-rich soils would have to be sandy. Sandy soil doesn’t hold its shape without the aid of water. Even then, they’ll still come apart without much pressure and are generally considered unreliable for any sort of building structure. They’re also low in nutrients, which means they won’t yield a home or a crop. That doesn’t mean they’re not useful for filling, adding weights, or using to pad out a construction site.
Thick, Rich Soils
Last, but not least, you have the in-between. Where clay-rich soils are thick and moldable and sandy soils are loose, rich soils are used to grow. Silty soil is soft, even a little mushy, and is known for being very rich in nutrients and minerals. This is the kind of soil you’ll use to outline a house for shrubberies or add into a garden. Checking the viability of silty soil is best done with pH strips, portable and able to deliver accurate readings in a matter of minutes.
Basic Foundation Tips For The Future
Understanding how to control moisture levels and figuring out your soil types now will save you money in the future. Learning how to control moisture levels isn’t just adding water to the pile, but picking the right kind of soil in the first place. A soaker should be placed around 12 to 18 inches away from the foundation of a home to keep accidental floods at bay. The subfloor in a pier and beam foundation is usually at a minimum half an inch plywood, needed to support the rest of the home. Foundation failure is caused not by huge equipment failures, but the little details that sneak through the cracks.
Control moisture levels. Choose the right soil. Reach out to residential foundation repair professionals next time you’re curious about the state of your project.