Paving in Cold Weather: Secrets from Paving Pros

Understanding Your Choices for Soil Stabilization

Soil stabilization is often used to control soil erosion and for dust control. It may be used on farms but it can also be needed for homeowners who live in tropical areas marked by very moist soil, or who live in areas that don't get enough rain so that soil becomes dry and dusty.

If you want to attempt soil stabilization on your own, there are some common methods you might consider. These can be tried before you call a contractor that specializes in soil erosion or dust control, and they may be the simple changes you need to control the ground outside your home. Note the following:

1. Cement mixing

It may sound odd that soil and cement can mix, but cement mixing is a common form of soil stabilization. This method can be used to create driveways in areas where concrete itself may not settle properly, such as when the soil underneath it is too dry or overly moist.

To use cement mixing, an area of soil is dug up just slightly and then a bag of cement is poured over it. The cement is then mixed into the soil with a tiller. The topsoil is then spread back over the cemented area and the entire space is watered. The cement needs to cure for several days but once it does, the soil stays in place and water runoff is more easily controlled.

2. Adding lime

Chemical soil stabilization is often used in severe cases, and lime is a common chemical added to the soil when this method is chosen. Lime is typically used in clay soils that don't offer much support for buildings and structures. Clay often goes through wet and dry cycles so that buildings can shift and settle when built on clay soil. Lime however will strengthen the soil and reduce the amount of swelling in the wet cycle. Lime is often spread and then mixed and compacted with existing soil. You can look for lime specifically made for soil stabilization at any home improvement store.

3. Pavers and other products

One of the easiest and most affordable methods of soil stabilization is with a grass paver or other similar product. This is usually a long roll of a plastic or rubber product that you cut to size and then apply right over your own lawn, or underneath new turf grass. You may press them into the soil or they may sit on top of the soil and provide a water runoff barrier and keep soil in place.

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