Whether you’re looking at building a new home, considering purchasing an existing home, or are simply concerned with the home you own now, knowing the soil that your foundation is on is essential. Different types of soil can affect your home in various ways. In this article, here’s a look at some of the most common types of soil out there and how they affect your home’s foundation over time.

Expansive Clay

Although a very vast type of natural soil, expansive clay and silt actually have the greatest potential for causing damage to your foundation. Clay absorbs moisture and expands as a result. This expansion can cause your foundation to shift, heave, or even crack. Once the clay dries back out, it will shrink back and cause further cracks. This can leave unwanted gaps around the house that will continue to get penetrated when there is adverse weather. While contracting will cause damage, more damage tends to be experienced when the soil is expanding.

Select Fill / Loam

A good soil to utilize is loam or fill. When there is moisture due to adverse weather, loam doesn’t tend to expand or contract. This helps to prevent the need for foundation repair due to the expansion and contraction of the soil. However, loam does have a propensity to erode over time. As a homeowner, you’ll need to pay close attention to the soil and remedy any erosion issues before they become a major problem for your home’s foundation and start to cause damage.


Sand is a great soil to build a foundation on as it allows water to easily pass through it. There is no expansion or contraction of the sand. The sand maintains the same density and volume over time. This means that sandy soils are less likely to cause foundation shifts or settling. Sand can be softer, so often during construction they will add sheet piling to reinforce the foundation and keep it strong over time.


The last type of material to discuss is rock. You may not consider this a soil, but it is often used in the building world to support a home’s foundation. Rock is known to expand at a very slow rate, which makes it unlikely to damage your foundation due to expansion. However, just like loam, this material is at a higher risk of erosion from water or weather. As the rock erodes, it can fracture or crack. For this reason, it’s vital that the rocks be held in place with tied-back anchors. These prevent the rocks from falling out of place and shifting your whole house.

Understanding the different types of soil that a home can be built on is a necessity for any knowledgeable homeowner to keep their house in great condition. When you understand the soil that is being used to support your home’s foundation, you know what key problems you need to watch out for. The above should help you to determine just what soil you’re dealing with and how it will likely affect your home in the future.