Understand-the-ground-and-soil-underneath-your-homeDeep Foundation Soils in Virginia

One of the most important supportive components of your home is the foundation. There is another supportive element, however, that is even deeper than the foundation – the soil! The ground underneath your home provides support for the foundation, allowing it to stabilize the structure above. The more you understand about the ground beneath your home and your foundation, the sooner you will be able to notice foundation problems and have them fixed.

Most foundation experts recommend a deep foundation system. This is because the deeper a foundation goes, the less chance there is that it will settle from settlement or shifting. This is due to the fact that the more stable soils lie deep underground, far below the top, ever-shifting layers of soil. If a foundation rests on these deeper layers, it is much less likely to move or settle over time. While the top layers are made of easily compacted soils, such as expansive clay, the lower levels of soil are made up of parent rock, a much more solid type of ground that works better for foundation support.

Layers of Soil in VirginiaThe soil beneath your foundation is generally split into several different layers, as follows:

  • Organic Matter Soil: This is the soil that is mostly composed of dead organic matter, such as decomposed leaves and animal remains. Eventually, the leaves and other debris on top of the ground will decompose into the soil that makes up this layer.
  • Topsoil: This soil dark soil is often referred to as surface soil or humus. Topsoil is full of bacteria and fungus and is mainly composed of further decomposed organic matter. This soil is often considered prime soil for gardeners.
  • Subsoil: Just below the topsoil is the subsoil, made up of clay and other expansive/consolidating soils. Many different foundation problems occur when a home that rests on this type of soil starts to sink as the soil settles and compacts.
  • Bedrock Soil:¬†Parent rock is commonly known as bedrock. The soil in this layer is made up of big rocks and certain other solid components. Because it is made up of rocks and solid materials and lies much deeper than other soils, bedrock is rarely affected by shifts in moisture levels or in the weather. If a foundation is rooted in the bedrock, it will be much less likely to shift or settle over time.

While the particular amounts of each soil level and the kinds of soil within each level may vary depending on where you live, these are the general types of foundation soils found beneath any given home in Virginia.

Why Deep Soil Foundation Support Systems Work

When steel piers are being used to underpin and support a foundation, they are driven into the deepest layers of soil, such as the bedrock. This deep soil is much less likely to shift and settle over time. That is why underpinning solutions such as foundation piers are able to stabilize foundations that have started to settle or sink. Once the foundation has been securely anchored into the bedrock or stable soils deep underground by the foundation piers, they can be used to lift the settling foundation back to the proper position.

If the foundation under your home has started to settle, it is most likely due to shifting soil in one of the upper soil levels, such as the topsoil or subsoil. By using the solidity of the stable soil levels further underground, we can give your home the support that it needs to stay healthy for years to come. Contact the foundation repair experts at Basement Masters Waterproofing for more information on our premier foundation repair underpinning services.

This post was originally published on 11/11/2014 and updated on 11/24/2021 for accuracy and a larger scope of information.

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