No matter what you are building, from the tiniest shed foundation to a large home, checking the soil stability is a must. Fluid or shifting soil can lead to structural issues within months of building. Sometimes these issues are severe enough to destroy the building. There are three main types of stabilization that use additions to improve soil stability for your project.
Concrete or Lime
Concrete and lime are typically not used together, but they are a similar method utilized for different types of soil. Concrete is used in drier, sandier soils that shift easily from earth movement and weight. Lime is reserved for use in wet, clay-heavy soils that seem to be constantly in a state of flux due to the easy movement of these materials.
A similar application method is used for both. Concrete or lime is mixed into the pulverized soil base and then thoroughly wet down. At this point, concrete is compacted densely and left to cure prior to building. Lime goes through an initial cure before it is pulverized a second time. It is then compacted prior to the final curing. Both concrete and lime are long-lasting solutions.
The chemical method for stabilization is similar to that of concrete or lime, except a different stabilizing chemical is used instead. Calcium chloride and sodium chloride are common, but they are not the only options. The benefit of chemical stabilization is that different chemical blends can be used depending on the soil profile, which makes this a good choice if multiple issues are causing fluidity and shifting in the soil.
Application methods can vary, but they are similar to that used for lime. Chemical combinations can be chosen to address problems like poor compaction, low surface tension, and even the frost point of the soil.
Bitumen is essentially tar, such as the tar used to make things like asphalt roads. This is a petroleum product that is thick and waterproof, so it is a common option in areas where water movement decreases soil stability.
The application of the material requires pulverizing and then thoroughly wetting the soil -- bitumen can't be applied to dry soil. The bitumen is then mixed in, but the soil is not compacted for several days, as the soil needs to aerate and begin to dry. After the aeration period, the soil is fully compacted and left to cure for several days.
Contact a soil stabilization service to learn more about which method fits your project.