Why An Engineer Might Recommend Soil Stabilization With Lime

20 January 2021
 Categories: , Blog


Soil stabilization is one of the most basic engineering concerns on many types of construction and renovation projects. Likewise, it's normal for engineers to recommend using lime stabilization processes to get the situation under control. Here is what you need to know. 

Signs of Instability

Certain types of soil have high clay content levels. When this occurs, especially in warmer and wetter regions, it causes the soil to have greater plasticity. Consequently, placing anything heavy on top of the soil can cause it to shift vertically or horizontally. As such, if there are already things on top of the soil, you may see evidence of the problem. For example, unstable soil is a common cause of crumbling in foundations and basements. Similarly, you may see trees, bushes, and other large plants on the property tilting significantly. The same problem can occur with fences, sidewalks, driveways, and roads.

Is Lime the Right Answer?

Generally, lime stabilization is suited for soil that has a lot of clay or silt. This is because lime will react with the materials in the soil, exchanging ions and producing a cement-like product. If the soil is loose at a site, it's usually not a good candidate for lime stabilization. You might see a lot of gravel or sand at a location that isn't ideal, and you'll have to explore alternative soil stabilization methods. Also, lime stabilization may not work well in cold climates.

How the Process Works

A contractor will bring in equipment to break up the soil. They will then mix a pulverized version of the soil with lime to create a slurry. Usually using trucks, the contractor will then pour the mixture onto the surface.

Additionally, there is another process where the dry lime powder is applied to the soil. A contractor will then spray the lime-covered surface with water. Depending on the current weather conditions and the environment at the site, the mixture will be left to cure for between one and four days. This allows the reaction to take place. Another round of treatment follows, and then there will be more waiting for curing. Many companies then use rollers to compact the soil. This also provides an even surface that is ideal for many types of construction or renovation projects. Additional curing time may be necessary after rolling.

A technician will then check how well the soil is compacting and what its water content is. If necessary, the company will perform further treatments. For more information, contact a company that offers lime stabilization services.