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What Are Fill Soils?

By Justin Sexton

What Are Fill Soils?


We find a lot of our customers have issues with their foundation because of improperly compacted fill soils.

Fill soils, also known as fill dirt or just fill.  It artificially changes the grade or the elevation of real property.

Fill dirt is usually “subsoil” (soil beneath the topsoil). Fill dirt should be as free of organic matter as much as possible,  since organic matter will decompose creating pockets of empty space within the within the fill which could result in settling. Uneven or excessive settling can result in damage to any structure that's built on it.

Just about any project that requires dirt in order to fill in a hole or cavity, or to raise or level the ground is a good candidate for fill dirt.  Some of the most common projects that this material is used for include filling holes, leveling off embankments and raising areas in the ground. The dirt can be used for construction and/or landscaping projects both large and small.

Large construction projects may require the use of this type of dirt in bulk for raising ground levels prior to building, filling cavities or dips in the ground that may cause flooding concerns, or preparing the ground for large paving projects, such as roadways, sidewalks or even airport runways so that the ground is level under the paving material. One common use, for example, is to build up the area on the side of paved roads or highways to create a shoulder that is level with the driving surface.

Smaller projects may include anything from preparing a backyard for a landscaping project, such as raised planting beds, upon which the final layer will be covered with a layer of more nutrient-rich soil to aid in proper growing, to leveling off land around pools and patios, building up the ground around foundations to prevent water drainage issues, or securing the ground around retaining walls.

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