ground anchor

Ground Anchor vs. Soil Nail: Which Is Right For Your Project?

Ground Anchor vs. Soil Nail: Which Is Right For Your Project?


Soil screws and soil nails are very similar, but their differences determine what projects best suit them. Find out the advantages of each ground improvement solution and what jobs benefit from their use.


ground anchor

What Are the Differences Between Soil Nails and Soil Screw Anchors?


Soil nails and soil screws (also known as ground anchors, ground screws, and earth screws) are both geotechnical elements used to support large structures and roadways. They also serve an essential role in stabilizing weak soil and sloped landscapes. When installed, they prevent a structure from moving by holding it firmly in place on load-bearing soil or keep soil in place after excavation. They play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of foundations and structures in loose or weak soils that may shift over time. 

Soil screws are a more traditional method of shoring than soil nails. Ground screws consist of a helical end-bearing plate welded to a central steel shaft acting as a large screw that transfers a structure’s weight to a load-bearing soil. Soil screw anchors are commonly used for shallow shoring projects and support solutions.

Soil nails are a modernized update of soil screws. They are hollow, threaded rods used to stabilize structures, slopes, or deep depth ground projects. The threaded rods can extend to any length needed in any given soil condition. Soil nails are specifically beneficial in works spaces with restricted access.


When to Use Soil Nails


Soil nails are used in earth retention projects by installing in a closely aligned grid pattern. Soil nails provide an efficient alternative to tieback walls. Soil nails are utilized in slope reinforcement projects to provide efficiency. The use of screws removes the need to replace the failed soil on a site. When widening roads under bridges, soil screws reduce the number of steps in the process if combined with soil screws. Soil nails are a common solution in several other situations, such as:

  • Anchor support structures for excavations
  • Road and tunnel construction
  • Retaining walls
  • Stabilizing stressed foundations

When to Use Soil Screws


Ground screws are a retention solution by creating vertical steps onto an excavated slope. The reinforcement is applied in vertical lines starting at the top of a slope and proceeding down. Once the soil screws provide the necessary stabilization, a permanent or temporary facing is added to retain soil. Ground screws do face limitations related to soil density, location of nearby structures, and adaptability. Use  soil screws in a variety of construction projects to:

  • Support excavation
  • Offer an alternative to more costly solutions such as tieback walls
  • Repair or reconstruct retaining walls
  • Stabilize slopes and in landslide remediation

The Advantages of Soil Nails


In comparison to tie back anchors, soil nails have significant benefits. Using soil nails is typically a more flexible construction technique, which offers simplified on-site modifications. Soil nails provide a wide variety of benefits in ground improvement projects compared to other solutions, such as:

  • Easily installation at job sites with restricted access and tight spaces.
  • Less ground disturbance and impact at surrounding areas
  • Minimal amounts of shoring
  • Cost-effective and time reducing because it combines drilling, placing, and grouting
  • No restrictions on wall height
  • A variety of sizes 
  • Can be installed in any direction
  • Can be used in remodeling, new construction, or temporary structure projects

The Advantages of Soil Screws


Soil screws are highly versatile and provide benefits over other ground improvement solutions. Because of easy installation, labor costs are dramatically lower. Earth screws are useful in all types of ground and offer long-term stability. When used for temporary reinforcement, earth screws dismantle easily and reusable.

Some ground improvement projects benefit from what soil screw installations offer, like:

  • No need for grouting.
  • Quick installation in any weather
  • Reliable results when doing load testing
  • No need for specialized equipment
  • Earth-friendly solution because of minimal ground disturbance

Intech Anchoring Can Handle All Your Earth Retention Projects


Intech Anchoring is ready to take on all your ground improvement projects. Our ground retention expertise ensures your job site receives the highest level of construction with well thought out solutions. Contact Intech Anchoring today.