How to compact soil without a vibratory plate

All about compaction of sand

compact, soil, vibratory, plate

Before the installation of foundation structures or preparatory work under the screed, as well as for laying paving slabs, it is necessary to tamp the sand cushion in order to expel the excess air volume from it, squeeze the fine fractions of sand grains together as tightly as possible. After compaction is completed, the sand base becomes very dense, ready for further construction work. To cope with this task, mechanized and manual methods of compacting bulk material are used.

The ways

In order to carry out preparatory work for construction, a sand cushion can be formed by various methods. Their choice directly depends on what kind of tool is in the equipment, how large the area of ​​the working surface is, as well as what are the requirements for the density of the sand substrate.

There are several methods of performing work associated with compaction of sand.

  • A self-driving machine is used, which, with the help of its wheels, ramps the sand. Sometimes trailed-type special equipment is used, equipped with rollers for rolling, with the help of which layer-by-layer compaction is performed in several passes.
  • With the help of a crane, slabs weighing up to 2 tons are dropped onto the working platform.
  • Sand can be compacted with a vibrating plate. a special mechanical device.
  • With the help of a channel or a wide bar, sand can be compacted without a vibrating plate, that is, manually.

The selection of mechanized methods for ramming bulk material depends on the convenience for the operation of specialized equipment, the availability of access roads for it and the thickness of the sand substrate required by the project. On large areas, work is carried out using self-propelled tractors, and small areas are processed by self-propelled rollers. If you need to tamp the sand in a very small, confined space, manual tamping may well be suitable for this case.

In order to efficiently tamp sandy bulk material, several passes are made using a tool on the same working surface, and the tamping movements are performed in a spiral direction. this way you can be sure that there will be no untreated areas of the substrate surface. If, after compaction, the material has subsided greatly, it is possible to add sand to those areas where it is clearly not enough. For a denser compaction of sand particles, it is regularly poured with water, which helps to push air between the grains of sand.

Tamping is carried out by dropping monolithic heavy slabs if the pad consists of clay and sand of a dusty fraction. Such substrates contain air in their multiple cavities, which comes out to the surface under the weight of the monolith. The slab with the help of special equipment rises to a height of 2 meters and is dropped onto the working surface flat. This method allows you to work out the clay-sand mixture to a depth of 1.5-2 meters. Usually, this method is resorted to when preparing the foundation for the foundation of a capital structure.

A work process of this kind is carried out in a continuous mode, but at a fast pace. This continues until the desired result is achieved.

The manual method of forming a sand layer is resorted to when the treated area is small, and the thickness of the sand layer is small. To solve a similar problem, the tool is made from scrap materials. They take a bar of wood, a wide base in the form of a wooden or steel plate is attached perpendicularly to it. The attachment points of the two parts are securely fixed using hardware fasteners or a weld. The result of the work should be a solid construction for manual labor. It has a lot of weight, but a person is able to lift it and perform frequent blows on the sand. To work more efficiently and faster, the horizontal plate is specially weighted with the help of additional metal plates or cement pouring.

What is it and what is it for?

When building a house under a foundation or screed, it is necessary to make a hard layer in the form of a lining of sand or gravel with fine dispersion. The tamping technique allows to provide the necessary density to such a base. To compact bulk materials, specialized equipment is used, and if the coverage area is small, a manual method of work is used. A sandy dense pad is necessary before starting construction work for the following reasons:

  • for full leveling and increasing the degree of rigidity of the base surface of the future structure being built;
  • to prevent the destruction of the foundation structure under the influence of moisture or low temperatures, when the soil begins to swell from excess water;
  • to prevent the curvature of the structure from the action of bending and compressive loads on it during soil shrinkage processes;
  • in order to eliminate hidden voids filled with air;
  • for the construction of an intermediate stable layer formed between the soil and the foundation structure.
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The compacted sand creates a dense and durable layer, which is a reliable base for laying asphalt pavement, paving slabs, and building foundations. A properly formed sand layer is not subject to deformation and does not collapse if you step on it. Compaction technology implies performing these works in multiple passes over the entire surface of the sand layer.

Upon completion of these actions, the quality is assessed not only visually, but also with the help of special devices.

How to ram properly?

In order for the frame of the building foundation to be strong, the sand area must be perfectly flat and very dense. This effect is achieved due to the fact that with a well-executed ramming, the required shrinkage is guaranteed at the substrate. Whether it is true or not, after completion of the work, the result must be checked. Quality control of work is carried out with a rope pendulum or level.

In order to properly and with high quality compaction of sand with a vibrating plate, the following important nuances should be observed:

  • the vibrating plate will show its effectiveness if the thickness of the sand layer does not exceed 0.6 m;
  • before starting work, the sand layer is soaked evenly with water, but this must be done evenly and without frills;
  • on the working surface, it is necessary to perform 5-7 passes in both directions.

Make a simple mini-plate compactor for sandstone paving slabs

As soon as the layer of sand is reliably compacted, you can pour in the next batch of sand to continue working. But the thickness of this layer should not exceed 0.6 m.Layers are added until the result is a dense sand cushion of the required thickness according to the project documentation.

For arranging garden paths, before building a garage, before installing the foundation of a country house, a sand pillow is often prepared manually. Sand ramming can be done with a vibrating plate or manually. Self-preparation of the surface will be much cheaper than hired craftsmen.

Consider how manual sand compaction is performed.

  • They purchase a ready-made or independently make a device for manual ramming of a T-shaped type. a horizontal plate is made about 30×30 cm in size, and its weight should be at least 15-20 kg. For the convenience of work, 2 handles are attached to the handle bar on the sides. these grips are needed so that the device can be lifted with two hands at once. If the ramming structure turns out to be too light, it is additionally weighted down with metal or cement.
  • With the help of a self-made tool, uniform and repeated blows are applied to the working surface of the sand mixture. With the help of these blows, it is possible to achieve the removal of voids and air, as well as to compact the sand fractions together. Tamping is performed layer by layer. when 1 layer is tamped, the next portion of sand is poured on top of it.

The process of compaction of sand is not so difficult, but quite a crucial stage in construction. The success of all further work depends on the quality of its implementation, so you need to approach it carefully and conscientiously.

The following video shows sand ramming.

Making a manual rammer

There are many options for making a rammer with your own hands. Someone makes massive structures entirely of iron, but in this case, welding will be required. Others prefer to make do with the materials at hand. Consider the best option for making a manual rammer for compaction of soil, sand and gravel.

Install the handle

Mark the center of the drilling 100 mm from the top edge. Select a tip drill with a diameter of 2 mm less than the cross-section of the handle. Make a through hole perpendicular to the surface of the timber.

Making a hole for the tamper handle.

Even with careful drilling, the outside of the hole will be slightly larger than the inside diameter. File the wood with a file, periodically trying to insert the handle into place.

At the same time, correct the possible misalignment of the hole relative to the plane of the bar. Achieve a firm (but without significant effort) entry of the handle, if necessary, slightly curl the stick. Do not try to hammer in the handle. the wood may split. Place a stick in the bar and put your marks.

Installing the handle on the soil compactor.

Apply glue to the walls of the hole.

Place a pen along the marks and wipe off excess glue. Drill a pilot hole and secure the handle with a long screw.

Fixing the handle on the rammer.

After the adhesive has set strength (according to the manufacturer’s recommendation), the manual rammer is ready for use.

Photo of a homemade manual rammer for soil.

After use, clean the device from dust and store in a place protected from rain and snow. Over time, the bottom of the rammer wears out, monitor the condition of the metal lining and change it in time.

Soil ramming

There is a simple device for tamping the soil. this is a pair of knocked down boards, a handle is attached on top, and a board is attached to the bottom to increase the area. You take such a rammer, lift it and forcefully hit it on the ground.

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Manual roundwood rammer

Often builders say that this is only how the earth is chased in different directions, and the type of earth is not rammed. Responsibly I declare: ramming and ramming well. You will not break through more than 5-10 cm of soil, but the roller will not break through more than 20 cm.

This manual rammer is only suitable for soft soil such as loam or clay. For crushed stone this will not be enough, it is better to use a vibrating plate.

Well, physically it is very difficult to tamp with a manual tamping for more than 5-10 minutes or 2-5 m2.

There are also vibratory plates that cost decent money. Now there are a bunch of companies that rent expensive construction equipment, so renting such a stove for a day is not a problem at all. All you need is a passport with registration as a deposit, and 1.2. 1.5 thousand rubles. Well, gasoline (or electricity).

An electric rammer is simpler, but a wire always stretches to it, which is very inconvenient. And they are weaker if they work from 220 V. I met a “slap-foot” at 380 V, which very decently rammed.

Electric rammer or “slap-foot”

A petrol rammer requires petrol and is capricious when starting up. But such plates are rammed very well. The impact force is about 80 kg / cm2, which is very decent.

Compaction with petrol vibratory rammer

With a vibrating plate, 3-5 passes in each direction are enough for a layer. It penetrates the same 10 cm, but much better and faster than manual ramming.

Features of compaction of crushed stone

Any novice builder sincerely wonders why ram an already strong stone. However, there are several important nuances to consider:

  • Since crushed stone is obtained by crushing, its particles are obtained of different sizes with free-form edges. Because of this, when laying the underlying layer, the particles of the material do not completely adhere to each other, forming a large number of air voids, the appearance of which, ultimately, leads to a decrease in the level of resistance to loads. If the fragments of crushed stone are tightly adjacent to each other, the volume of the material will decrease, but at the same time a stronger base is formed.
  • If the crushed stone is laid on rocky ground, then compaction can be dispensed with. In this case, it is only necessary to level the gravel.
  • After compaction of gravel, the layer thickness can be from 50 to 250 mm, depending on the loads that will be placed on the base.

In addition, when processing crushed stone, it is recommended to split the base. To do this, you need to divide the gravel into fractions. First, the larger material is laid, which is compacted by hand. Then backfilling of finer material is carried out, which is also compacted. The final top coat should consist of the finest material, which must be carefully leveled and re-tamped.

Thanks to this, the finished base will have increased strength. If you make a similar manual compaction of sand, the effect will be even better.

How to make a manual rammer yourself

When building foundations for houses, garages, country paths and much more, great attention is paid to the substrate consisting of gravel and sand. To ensure that the concrete monolith is laid evenly and does not begin to move over time, it is important to carefully level the underlying layer. For these purposes, you can use specialized vibratory rammers or rolling equipment, but manual ramming will be much cheaper.

The principle of do-it-yourself processing is that with the help of a home-made tool, blows are applied to the surface, due to which sand and crushed stone are compacted. In this case, ramming is performed after the laying of each of these layers.

Make a shoe

Transfer the dimensions of the workpiece from the drawing to the steel sheet.

Cutting the shoe plates.

You can simply align the vertically mounted timber on the metal and trace the outline with a pencil.

Making a soil compactor shoe.

Depending on the thickness of the plate, cut out the workpiece with metal scissors or cut out the excess with a grinder. Remove burrs with a file while holding the part in a vise.

Mark and drill holes for screws, make recesses under the caps with a countersink or a larger drill.

Sand the surfaces.

Tamping shoe.

Bend the wings of the workpiece in a vise, which will be easy to do with the first two opposite sides. When bending the two remaining sides, the jaws of the vise may be wider than the shoe, then use a bar prepared for ramming.

Mixed method

You can do the mixed method by pouring and tamping: first you spill, then tamp the wet soil. Additional spills can be made after tamping. And the next day, fill in another layer and repeat the straining and tamping.

Please note that too wet soil sticks well to the slab. So don’t overdo it.

If, after all, too much water has been poured, then sprinkle a layer of sand. Sand does not stick well.

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Throughout the world, railways provide most of the freight traffic. Much of this is the transport of extremely heavy materials such as ore and coal. Therefore, the ability to withstand loads is critical for the railway. And this cannot be achieved without high-quality compaction of the railway embankment.

Car roads

The variety of modern highways is very large: from unpaved country roads to multi-lane highways with asphalt concrete pavement.

Regardless of the type of road, in order to increase the bearing capacity of the roadbed and increase the service life, it is necessary to use compaction of all layers of the road, including the embankment.

The road is built in two ways. on an embankment or in a cut. The pavement consists of an underlayment, a base layer and final pavement layers. Its main task is to evenly distribute pressure from surface loads along the entire subgrade.

The maximum pressure occurs on the surface, therefore the requirements for the quality of the material and its compaction are maximum for the pavement layers. asphalt or asphalt concrete.

The base layer provides rigidity to the coating layers, therefore the requirements for its sealing are also great. Usually, crushed stone or stone filling is used for these layers.

Vibratory rollers

Vibratory roller is a surface heavy vibration soil compactor. They are self-propelled, manual and trailed (driven). Rolling is carried out with a smooth metal vibratory drum (distinguish between single and two-drum vibratory rollers). The mass of a vibrating compactor depends on its type and ranges from 0.5 to 12 tons. The heaviest of them are self-propelled.

Due to their large mass, the rollers effectively compact not only sand, but also heavy loams. They are mainly used for the construction of asphalt road surfaces and in large-scale construction of buildings.

How to compact sand without a vibrating plate. Special equipment

The creation of a dense sand layer is one of the main tasks of the preparation stage for screeds or foundation structures, it is important to use the correct methods and tools to expel air and compress particles. for 1 m2. The choice of a specific method determines the purpose of the layer, the captured area and the budget.

  • Purpose of work
  • Sealing methods
  • The cost

Purposes and objectives of ramming

It is carried out when preparing sandy and finely dispersed soils before building houses, backfilling a pillow under slab or strip foundations, forming a hard underlying layer when arranging floors on the ground or laying a foundation under paving stones and fences. Among the tasks are:

Compaction – Jumping Jack Vs. Plate Compactor Vs. Hand Tamper

  • Protection of erected structures from frost heaving and removal of moisture from them.
  • Leveling the base and strengthening its rigidity.
  • Prevention of deformation of structures under the influence of compression and bending loads, elimination of the risk of their destruction during shrinkage processes.
  • Obtaining a dense and stable layer separating the base of the foundation or screed and straight soil.
  • Elimination of voids and distillation of air.


Arrangement of a pillow without tamping sand under the foundation is used in the following cases:

  • On problem ground. Erected on heaving, mobile soil, in other words, a peat bog, the strip base warps quickly enough, which leads to its destruction. How to tamp the sand and is it really possible to tamp it with a vibrating plate weight as an option. A sand cushion allows you to increase the strength of the soil, preserve the integrity of the foundation, not its stability;
  • For leveling the base. The sand poured in a thin layer helps our client to hide the unevenness of the soil before the foundation is poured;
  • To prevent shrinkage of buildings and structures. By virtue of its qualities, the compacted sand is not subject to compression or tension;
  • To prevent the negative effects of moisture on the foundation. Since the sand cushion prevents water from contacting the substrate, its lifespan is greatly increased.

Compaction of various types of soil

Depending on the material to be sealed, appropriate compaction methods and equipment are selected.

Compaction of soil, sand and gravel

Compaction of building materials (soils) is performed to increase their strength characteristics and avoid sediment during operation. Compaction occurs by applying a static or vibration force to the material to be compacted. Compaction is most widespread in road construction, construction of embankments and dams, foundation and landscape works.

The quality of compaction of rock fill, soils and asphalt concrete is directly related to the bearing capacity of the material and its waterproofness. over, an increase in the degree of compaction by 1% leads to an increase in the strength of the material by 10-20%.

Poor compaction leads to subsequent soil shrinkage, which significantly increases the cost of maintenance or leads to costly repairs.