What are the advantages of soil nailing?

Soil Nailing uses a combination of passive inclusions or nails and a pneumatically applied shotcrete facing to reinforce soils in-situu. In the right conditions, soil nailing may be the fastest and most economical solution for excavation support.

Schnabel has the expertise to help you determine the solution you need.


Soil Nailing Contractors

Soil nailing is an in-place reinforcement of the existing soil/rock at a site that utilizes steel tendons grouted into drilled holes to create a stable block. Shotcrete, reinforced with wire mesh and/or reinforcing steel, is applied to the face of the excavation to secure the soil between the nails. Soil nailing is installed from the top down as an excavation is made in 4 to 6-foot lifts.

Soil nailing is used for the temporary support of excavations, construction of permanent retaining walls, and for the control of landslides. One of America’s most accomplished soil nailing contractors, Schnabel has successfully constructed soil nail walls in a variety of different soil conditions. Soil nailing is not recommended in cohesionless soil, organic soil or cuts below the water table.

Soil nail walls are usually built with smaller, easily mobilized equipment and without extensive steel fabrication. This minimizes the start-up time and makes soil nailing the best application for congested sites.

Soil nailing can also be used where there are overhead restrictions, such as bridge abutments and power lines, as there are no vertical elements to install. Soil nails are typically shorter than tiebacks for the same height of cut and thus may be preferable where there limited right-of-ways or property lines. In the proper soil and groundwater conditions, soil nail walls can be constructed faster and more economically than other retaining wall systems.

To learn more about Schnabel’s soil nail installation and leading-edge earth retention capabilities, contact one of our regional offices today.

Consistently delivering positive outcomes for our clients.

Natchez Bluff

Schnabel designed and constructed permanent soil nail walls for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stabilize the Area 4 bluff in Natchez, Mississippi.

Glendale Arena

Schnabel designed and built a permanent soil nail wall with 60,000 lineal feet of soil nails to support the construction of a new hockey arena in Arizona.

The drilling on this job was tough – nested cobbles and gravels with some boulders mixed in. We punched it out with multiple drill rigs and a steady supply of tooling. The tough conditions meant our field crews could not have done it without support from our equipment division. They rose to the occasion and kept the machines working and tooled up.

Matt Niermann, P.E., Glendale Arena


Schnabel is the sector’s most operationally efficient Geostuctural Design & Construction contractor. We optimize efficiencies by everaging decades of experience and design/build expertise, to innovate processes and approaches that are consistently proven to deliver optimal outcomes for our clients.

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