When building a home, the type of soil that lies beneath the ground plays an important role in determining your foundation solution. New Zealand has a diverse range of soils, so the best soil for building foundations can vary greatly.
It can be difficult to know which soil type you have without specialised foundation services, as it varies case-by-case. To help explain why determining your soil type can be tricky, we explore a few common types of soils and how they impact your home’s foundation.
How Does Soil Impact Foundations?
The foundation supports your home, distributing its weight across the soil to create a sturdy base. However, some soils will shift, expand, contract, dry out, and more! These changes in the soil cause stress on the foundation, leading to cracks and other damage that requires immediate attention from a foundation contractor.
Fortunately, foundation experts can assess the soil on-site to provide an ideal foundation design. Building your foundation based on the soil beneath it will ensure that your home stands strong, with the foundation remaining in its best condition.
Types of Soil & The Best Foundation Options
New Zealand has many soil types; we break down three common soil types and their impact on building foundations.
Volcanic soils are often rich in nutrients and organic matter. These characteristics make it an ideal soil for agriculture. However, volcanic soil can be prone to settling due to changes in moisture levels, requiring a stronger foundation.
When building on volcanic soil, it’s important to consider its characteristics and design a strong and stable foundation. The unique characteristics of your area’s soil will determine the appropriate foundation solution.
Clay soils have a high water content and are expansive, meaning they can expand and contract significantly with changes in moisture levels. This movement in the soil can lead to a foundation shifting or settling.
Clay soils in New Zealand can present challenges for building foundations. However, pile foundations are ideal for clay soil. Piles transfer the weight of the building deep into the ground, where the soil is more stable.
Sandy soil is easy to compact, making it difficult to achieve a stable foundation as compacted sand can settle and shift over time. Sandy soils are also prone to erosion, which can shift your foundation, which has a ripple effect on the structural integrity of your home.
The site’s specific soil characteristics will influence the type of foundation your home requires. However, a deep, reinforced foundation is ideal due to the low bearing capacity of sandy soils. A concrete slab foundation may be ideal if the soil is well-compacted with low moisture content.
How to Pick the Right Foundation?
We don’t often think too much about soil. However, it directly impacts the structural integrity and safety of our homes. When building any new structure, it’s important to have specialists on-site to assess the soil and its characteristics. This step will ensure the best foundation solution for the soil to help avoid the need for foundation repairs.
If you’re looking for New Zealand’s foundation experts, you’re in the right place. Grace Foundation has immense experience working around foundations and unique soils.
Whether you need a brand-new foundation, some minor repairs, or a foundation assessment, we can help. Get in touch with the experienced team today.