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elementx440 05-03-2007 03:52 PM

rule of thumb for tamping backfill
I had foundation work done and they just backfilled...

I'm wondering what sort of rules-of-thumb apply to tamp the dirt to combat settling and get a nice slope/grade away from my home...

Should I just wait it out and fill the low spots as they happen? Or should I get one of those hopping-tampers or water-filled rollers?

I'm in no real rush, but it'd be nice to have grass by August :thumbup:

elementx440 05-04-2007 04:44 PM


joed 05-04-2007 06:58 PM

It's too late now in my opinion. You need to do in lifts of every foot or so. You will only be tamping the top portion now.

concretemasonry 05-04-2007 07:32 PM

rule of thumb for tamping backfill
I hope they didn't just use the "dirt" that was laying around.

You really should use granular material (sand, gravel etc.) that has some strength. No silt, clay or anything containing organics(dark soil) since that will lead to problems and high loads on the wall when wet.

The best way to compact the granular soil is to put in down in 6-8" lifts and give it a few passes with a small vibratory plate compactor.

elementx440 05-04-2007 08:04 PM

We used the appropriate "rocks", code was 8" I believe, I had them go to about 3 feet, to facilitate the drainage and give a little less load on the walls... everyone said I'd never regret going overboard with the stone...

We didn't compact layer by layer, so should I let nature just settle it over time or will going over it with a compactor help?

inkogz 05-30-2013 11:46 PM

Hello Elementx, I'm a plumbing apprentice and have tamped quite a bit of ground over the past few months. There are a few good things to keep in mind while back filling... and I suppose a general rule of thumb is that you keep your dirt semi-moist but NOT mud before you start a round of hand tamping. Depending on the area you live in (I'm in California so a lot of the digs I have done are either very sandy or very muddy and full of rock so try to get the appropriate textured soil to match the rest of the landscape). Spraying the ground to be tamped with a hose helps tons. Bring the level of dirt up about 12 inches at a time, (tamping every 12 inches), and remember to keep spraying the area with the hose before each round of tamping.


If you have sod to put back into place, bring the level of dirt up to the approximate width of each piece of sod, and then a little more so that the sod can settle and look nice and cherry ;)

(BUT)! ...and very important!

Before you place your sod, if you are placing sod, you should use a mechanical tamper with either a 4 or 8 inch foot pad on it to really go to town and get your dirt nice and compact. Fire it up, and let it walk you over the soil. Hertz equipment rental or most other equipment rental places have this item.

This is pretty much the right way to tamp like a pro and prevent your house or yard from sinking!

Happy tamping my friend

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