Why Do You Need A Soil Test Before Installing A Foundation?

24 September 2021
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

Typical concrete foundations consist of a surprisingly large number of parts that work together to support the weight of your home and spread the load on your soil. While most of these details remain safely out of view, they contribute to keeping your home on solid footing. A well-made foundation can be the difference between a house that lasts for generations and one that quickly needs costly repairs.

If you're building a new home on untested land, a soil test is a necessary step before installing your foundation. This test can tell your contractors a great deal about the ground around your house and help guide their foundation design decisions. Keep reading the learn three ways soil testing helps keep your home stable for many years to come.

1. Density Testing

The soil density is a critical component in its ability to bear loads. Once contractors finish building your home, the weight will press down on the foundation footings and begin to compact the soil. The more the soil compacts, the more your home may settle. While some settling is unavoidable, significant settling can lead to future foundation issues and damage.

Thinner soils may require your contractor to perform additional compaction before laying your home's foundation. Dealing with these soil issues now is typically much cheaper and more effective than attempting to address them later. Once work on your foundation finishes, you'll usually have few options other than adding push piers or other supports in the future.

2. Drainage

Soil drainage is another critical component of foundation design. All homes must use grading that slopes away from the foundation. Well-draining soils provide better drainage, allowing water to move away from the walls of the foundation safely. While waterproofing can help keep water out of your basement, properly designing the grade around your foundation provides a much better first line of defense.

Your contractor will use the drainage characteristics of your soil to determine the best options for keeping water away from your foundation. This information can also help them calculate uplift pressure from groundwater, a key element in structural design.

3. Support and Footing Design

If the soil around your new home is particularly poor, you may need to alter your foundation's design to accommodate it. These design alterations usually include options such as deeper and broader footings. Although it can be disheartening to discover these problems, they're far from fatal, and an experienced foundation contractor can design around them to ensure your foundation remains stable and solid.

Soil testing isn't an optional part of new home design. The information that these tests provide allows your contractor to design a foundation uniquely suited to your property's soil. This seemingly small step may save you tens of thousands of dollars in repairs years in the future. Reach out to a concrete foundation service to learn more.