What is grading in excavation?

Grading during excavation describes either the angle of the earth that is being formed, or a flat surface that is being formed out of a surface that was not originally flat.  Basically, it’s the process of using Earthmoving equipment to shape the ground to suit whatever purpose that the owner intends for it.  Unfortunately, the ground is rarely shaped according to what is convenient.  Naturally occurring formations on the surface are almost always uneven and require significant work to get them to the shape and grade that can be used for their intended purposes.  This type of work is typically done with excavators and other power equipment, and when used by an experienced professional a high degree of precision is often possible.

When Is Grading Used?

In most cases, grading is used toward the end of a construction project.  The construction process is messy.  It causes earth to be moved around leaving ground lumpy and often with potholes and other features that aren’t suitable for a finished structure.  When this happens, Earthmoving equipment is used to scrape the top layer of soil and level it out, creating a smooth and even surface.

Grading is commonly done for aesthetic purposes.  The last thing that most property owners want is an uneven, rough yard or lawn.  Among other things, this is going to result in a higher bill from the landscaper.  If a landscaping company must either grade a lawn themselves or hire a third party to do it for them, you can bet that this cost will be passed on to you.

Grading can also be done for practical purposes.  When you have uneven ground, and you have rain, you end up with water pooling on the surface.  If water pools on the surface of the ground and is not absorbed and does not evaporate, it will have to go somewhere.  The main problem that arises here is that by allowing water to pool you’ve created an unstable and unpredictable situation.  You aren’t controlling the water; you are letting chance dictate where it will run off to.

Now, you could get lucky, and the water could flow off exactly how you hoped it would.  But the more likely option is the water will randomly flow somewhere that you’d rather it not end up.  This could cause soil erosion if there is significant runoff.  You could also end up with water seeping into the ground where it could end up damaging or destabilizing the foundation of your home or business.

Grading may not immediately seem to be as important as excavating and other aspects of preparing the ground for construction, but this isn’t the case.  If you skip grading, or it’s not done properly, then you are leaving the job incomplete.  At best this will cause problems for other contractors such as landscapers down the road.  At worst, it could end up causing soil erosion and even foundation damage by not allowing for water to be properly channelled away from any structures on your property. At Dobson Excavations we will work together with you and other future contractors to make sure the grading suits your goals.

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