When it comes to building a foundation, the materials that go into construction are not the only thing that matters. In fact, what is beneath the foundation matters just as much. Many homeowners believe that any type of soil can support a house, but that’s where they are wrong. If the underlying soil has issues, it won’t be able to keep your home stable, and you will have to deal with all kinds of problems in the foreseeable future.
Soil layers play a key part in building a strong foundation. Before they start with construction, builders need to examine the soil and see whether it is suitable for the kind of structure they are planning to put up. Read on as we will outline different types of soil layers and their roles in construction work.
What Are Soil Layers?
Your foundation is tucked into different layers of soil. Each of the layers has specific properties and while some are ideal for buildings due to their characteristics, others are not suitable for construction. Soil layers have formed over a long time, and have been affected by factors such as wind, water, glaciers, and human activity. The layers become stronger and more stable over time. Underneath the layers is bedrock.
Different Types of Soil Layers
Since cities are rapidly expanding, adequate soil for the foundation is becoming a rare jewel. When buildings need to be constructed in a location with unsuitable soil, builders have to bring in soil from another location to cover up depressions in the ground. This soil layer is called fill soil. It creates a strong base for construction work and is made of rocks, clay, and sand. Fill soil is usually used for large building projects. This layer is convenient for leveling up the ground around the foundation area.
Bedrock or Rock
Bedrock or rock soil is a layer that consists of limestone, sandstone, and a variety of other rock types. It is located underneath the surface of another layer and presents fantastic building soil due to its bearing features. It can support large buildings. Unlike clay, it is not affected by weather changes, which makes it far more stable. Structures above bedrock most likely won’t shift or settle, but the soil needs to be leveled before construction takes place.
Glacial deposits play an important role in construction work. These consist of miniature clay particles and large boulders. Glacial deposits are known as drift. Crushed rock fragments that a glacier picked up along the way are deposited on the land surface once the glacier stagnates and decays. This layer is made of sand, gravel, clay, and more. Glacial deposits can vary in size. It is important to examine this layer before the construction begins to see whether it is suitable for this type of work.
Water, ice, and wind have changed the way our planet looks for centuries. These elements disrupt soil profiles by taking away the topsoil and lead to soil deterioration. The erosion process removes soil from horizons and leads to weathering. Weathering is a process that breaks down rock but does not involve movement. Erosion also leads to the loss of nutrients and organisms that keep soil layers together.
The removal of soil caused by erosion can be very harmful because it can damage structures by impacting the foundation. Sometimes, the whole process is so slow that it is not even noticeable.
After the massive erosion of soil, the ground is no longer suitable for construction. It does not possess organisms that hold the particles together or nutrients, so it’s not stable at all. The soil that has been relocated due to the erosion process is also not suitable for construction work. It is weak and won’t support the foundation.
Luckily, with slope stabilization and proper landscaping the erosion process can be prevented from interfering with construction work. With these methods, the foundation can stay protected.
Other Types of Soil Layers
Apart from these soil layers, other types need to be considered before construction takes place. The topsoil layer is the most well-known. This layer is made of several sub-layers. The first sub-layer is made of leaves and other decomposing material. These decompose over time, forming another layer called surface soil. There is also subsoil that is mostly made of clay and other consolidating soils. At the bottom, there is parent rock, a sub-layer that is deep and strong enough to support the foundation.
Before any construction is done, builders need to analyze the soil and determine which soil layers are in the ground. Skipping this part can lead to many structural issues and compromise the stability of an entire building. Nature can be cruel sometimes, and soil erosion is always possible. This is why due diligence is an essential part of the whole process.
In case your home was not built on stable soil, you could experience problems such as cracks in your foundation or a settling foundation. To permanently repair your foundation and stabilize it for good, contact expert contractors in Michigan. Professionals at FSM can help you ensure the health of your home, so don’t hesitate to schedule a free inspection and repair quote.