What is Soil Nailing?

An engineered method used to stabilize existing slopes or excavation utilizing “top down” construction sequencing. This passive reinforcement system remediates unstable natural slopes or construct new or existing over-steepened slopes using closely spaced steel inclusions. The practice involves drilling solid or hollow bars to depths specified by a geotechnical engineer. GeoStabilization’s innovative ™ Nail Launcher Soil utilizes compressed air to blast up to 20-foot-long nails into the slope at speeds reaching 250-mph.

Soil nails are reinforced bars installed in soil mass. Soil nails can be installed in a variety of methods including drilled, driven, or launched nails and can be installed in a wide range of soil conditions accommodating changes in ground conditions. Soil nails perform well under seismic loading due to coupling with the ground. Each installed nail is a soil probe which can aid in design refinement during construction. Soil nails are part of a soil-structure system, consisting of the following elements: earth materials, tendons, grout, facing, connections, and drainage.

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    Soil Nail Types

    Self-drilling soil nails are uniquely suited for collapsing soil or actively moving landslides. This nail type can be used for rock or soil masses. Self-drilling nails have a high installation rate and high pullout capacity.

    Open hole soil nails use the nail itself to drill the hole, using grout as the drilling fluid. The nails are hollow in the center and the grout travels down the bars and out from holes in a sacrificial drill bit. Once a nail has been drilled, it is detached from the drill and left in place. This technology combines the three-step installation of a soil nail (drilling, installing bar, and grouting) into one. Its primary advantage is not only the grout keeps the drillhole open during drilling, but the rotation from the drill bit mixes grout with the soil surrounding the drillhole, resulting in a rough, irregular effective grout column that is larger than the diameter of the drill bit.

    Unlike traditional drilled and grouted soil nails, launched soil nails have a high shear capacity to axial capacity ratio. Shear capacities of up to 20% or more of axial pullout capacity have been observed. Because of this divergence, the shear component of a launched soil nail is not ignored as it would be in traditional soil nail design using grouted soil nails. The general design procedure of a launched nail wall is similar to other soil reinforced retaining structures. The design has to satisfy three types of stability requirements: internal stability(including failures due to nail shear or tensile failure, pullout, and head strength or facing failures); external stability (overturning, sliding, and bearing capacity failure); and global stability.

    Soil Nailing Advantages

    The installed nails are usually fully grouted and installed at a slight downward inclination, with the elements installed at regularly spaced points across the slope. Steel-reinforced rigid shotcrete or flexible wire mesh is often applied as facing to add strength and erosion control.

    Soil nail components may also be used to stabilize retaining walls and levees as remedial measures. An advantage of a soil nail wall is its cost-effectiveness over other alternatives. When conventional soil nailing construction procedures are used, a soil nail wall is much more economical than concrete gravity walls and, similarly or more cost-effective than ground anchor walls.

    Soil Nail Wall Contractors With 20+ Years’ Experience

    When the requirement arises to stabilize slope erosion and slope failure so they don’t endanger personnel and infrastructure, GeoStabilization International provides innovative technologies, fast action, and comprehensive solutions. For over twenty years, our teams have been mitigating landslides and providing residential slope stabilization, slope monitoring, slope protection, and landslide prevention services.

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    Design/Build Solutions

    Our design/build solutions are customized to the varying demands and site constraints of each geohazard we encounter. Every project that we take on is completed with one goal in mind: always provide the best value.

    STEP 1


    No-obligation site visit by a qualified geotechnical engineer.

    STEP 2


    Fixed-cost proposal developed from available geotechnical and site visit information.

    STEP 3


    In-house engineering team assists or completes the design.

    STEP 4


    Crews can mobilize within 24 hours; designs optimized in real time.


    Multi-year performance warranty covers materials, installation, and overall system performance.


    Multi-year performance warranty covers materials, installation, and overall system performance.

    Client Reviews

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    Steve [Wahl] has been gracious with his time during our visits. The feedback … has been very positive (almost glowing) and also your quick action to resolve any concerns from our last visit ... was greatly appreciated…. Keep up the great work, you and your team’s professionalism has not gone unnoticed.

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    I am writing this email to let you know that we are honored to work with GSI and your subcontractors as you have all demonstrated professionalism since your very first involvement of the project. Everyone on the project team is highly experienced, efficient and motivated. We also appreciate your professional work and your prompt response to our inquires. We understand that it is a project and a project site with many unique challenges. Many thanks again!

    Client in California

    As told by GSI Project Development Engineer: We are currently close to finishing one of five sites proposed for repair to the [local Water and Power Agency]. The agency folks were very impressed with GSI’s professionalism and support during the repair procedures. Our approach to the project, our field crew’s commitment to safely, our expertise in what we do, and our continuous involvement in the project at multiple levels all contributed to their positive feelings about GSI.

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    If you are interested in a no-obligation site visit to determine if our services fit your geohazard mitigation needs, call us at 855.905.2460 or fill out our contact form.


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