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How Soil Affects Your Building Process

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Mar 27, 2015


"Choosing the Right Foundation for Your Structure"

If you're thinking about getting a new shed, pergola, gazebo, or barn, it's important to look at the type of soil you have on your property. Your structure needs a foundation that will give it the proper amount of support throughout the years. While some soils are vulnerable to erosion and water runoff, others can withstand these natural occurrences. Take a look at the various types of soil and how to make sure you have a stable foundation for your structure.

The Different Types of Soil

Most areas of ground consist of several layers of soil. Of course, there may be a larger amount of one type of soil than another. Bedrock is a solid rock formation found beneath layers of soil. If there is bedrock beneath the soil on your property, then you are off to a good start! Some people think that sand and silt make a good foundation for a shed, gazebo, or other structure. One thing to keep in mind is that you want a foundation that allows rainwater to flow through it and then away from the structure. A layer of sand or silt may erode, allowing the water to carry away your shed's foundation over time. Alternatively, water can run through a gravel foundation without carrying pieces away with it. That's why gravel is preferable to sand or silt when looking for a foundation for your shed or other outdoor structure. If you're considering putting your structure on a clay foundation, remember that water seeps into clay, making it expand and contract. Clay can erode and crack, especially in areas that get a high amount of rainfall. This can definitely affect the stability of your structure over time. Some owners put their shed or other structure directly on the ground. This can be acceptable if the structure sits on an area of high ground that won't flood.

The Best and Worst Types of Soil

The best type of soil is the kind that contains a lot of gravel. Gravel allows melting snow and rain water to flow through it. A foundation of gravel prevents water from pooling around a structure and flooding it. The worst types of soil in this situation are sand and silt. Even silt or sand that is packed into place can experience serious erosion over a period of time. With a sand or silt foundation, you may notice that your shed or other structure is starting to sink into the ground or lean to one side. In short, I recommend that you build your structure on ground that will not shift or erode much over time.

Options for Areas with Bad Soil

If you live in an area with a large amount of rainfall and soil that erodes, you can still have a shed or other structure. You can bring in a supply of gravel and create a foundation for your shed. Erecting a frame around the perimeter of the structure keeps the gravel neatly arranged. Or, you can invest in a concrete slab to serve as a durable foundation for your shed.

Even if the soil on your property is not ideal for an outdoor structure, you can still enjoy one by making your own foundation. Thanks for reading!-Alan

Topics: foundation for your structure


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