From Thick Clay To Loose Sand Understanding Soil Types When Working In Foundation Repair


Foundation repair is both a simple and complex thing. Makes sense, when you think about it.

It’s not supposed to be flashy or obvious. A strong foundation is meant to support all the obvious elements of a home, from the outside walls to the proud, tall roof. It’s also a delicate balancing act involving pressure, soil type, and strict metrics. Figuring this out is your job as a contractor and something made easier by refreshing the basics. When your future homeowners experience flooding damage as a result of foundation decay, that’s on you.

There’s no shame in doing a little review. Let’s take a look at different types of soil and what they mean for you and residential foundation repair.

Residential Foundation Repair In Texas

Every state has its own rules and regulations involving housing construction. Most homes in Texas that were built less than 50 years ago, for example, have a slab foundation in place. The issue with concrete slab foundation is it can create additional moisture build-up down the road, which is bad enough when you consider flooding, leaking, and mold. Providing drainage solutions and helping control moisture levels are just a few of the things you’ll be doing for your homeowners. Let’s keep looking at what else goes into proper foundation repair and analysis.

Basic Rules-Of-Thumb With Foundation Analysis

While there’s no true one-size-fits-all approach with homes, there are common rules-of-thumb that can help you err on the side of caution. The beams in a pier and beam foundation, for starters, should be spaced up to 12 feet apart. This construction will have joists that are spaced around 18 inches apart, with the subfloor at a minimum of one half inch plywood. This is responsible for supporting the rest of the house. A soaker should be 12 to 18 inches away from the foundation of a house, as well.

Loose, Sandy Soil

Different types of soil will come into play in each level of construction. Utilizing the wrong kind will not just make the job take longer, but potentially create disastrous results. The six types of soil are clay, silty, peaty, chalky, loamy, and sandy. Sandy soil is exactly what it says on the tin, characterized by its loose texture that practically runs between your fingers. This can be useful for creating sandbags and weights throughout construction, but is unreliable at best when it comes to building.

Runny, Flexible Loam Soil

Next on the soil analysis list we have loam soil. This is most commonly found in gardens, with gardeners favoring this texture for having all the materials necessary to grow plant life. This includes clay, sand, and silt, on top of various nutrients and ingredients to encourage a hospitable environment. It also has a higher pH value, which can be tested in various ways (such as with convenient handheld strips). You’ll be using this soil to fill out backyards and potentially front yards.

Thick, Flexible Clay Soil

Last, but not least, we have clay soil. This is used by both gardeners and contractors as a thick, reliable soil for several uses. Even clay has several different categories to better understand it, including ‘stoneware’ (used for making products) and common clay, which has a wide variety of minerals. This flexible, compact material is widely considered reliable and can still be melted with water to shape as needed. Foundation repair, understandably enough, is built on a long foundation of all the great architects and contractors that came before.

Keep the basics close at hand. Bring out the best in your foundation repair jobs by paying close attention to soil type and measurement.

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