A Guide to Rollers and Compactors in Roadbuilding

A strong base is the foundation of any project, including roadbuilding. New roads need a strong foundation that will help the road withstand years of heavy traffic in various seasons.

A roller machine for construction compacts soil for roadbuilding projects. Soil compaction uses mechanical force to make soil denser by reducing the amount of air between particles. This process makes the soil stronger, which is important for building new roads.

The Importance of Soil Compaction in Road Construction

Compact soil offers several advantages over loose soil for road construction. Compact soil:

  • Has a higher unit weight: Compact soil’s interlocking particles can bear more weight than loose soil. This strong working platform makes a solid foundation for roads and vehicle traffic.
  • Decreases the likelihood of failure: Compact soil has fewer voids, reducing the chance the soil will settle, shrink or expand. It also decreases water seepage. These advantages of compaction prevent the road prematurely. Compact soil is less likely to settle after a road is built, saving your company money on maintenance and repairs.
  • Keeps roads in good condition: Compacted soil helps form the shape of the road so the roadway sheds water and has a reliable base. Dense soil is also less likely to support plant growth. Plant roots can break apart soil and make it less stable, so a lack of vegetation is ideal for road construction.

Types of Compactors and Rollers for Road Construction

Many types of road construction equipment can roll and compact soil to prepare for roadbuilding. You can choose from various styles and options to make your soil stronger. Equipment options include:

  • Padfoot rollers: Padfoot — or tamping foot — rollers break the bonds between soil particles to compact them better. The tapered feet prevent the soil from fluffing, decreasing its ability to absorb water.
  • Pneumatic rollers: Pneumatic rollers have rubber tires to seal bladed granular soils. You can change the weight and tire pressure to meet compaction goals.
  • Smooth rollers: Smooth rollers use static pressure to compact soil. This equipment makes the final pass over the soil before construction starts.

How to Select a Road Construction Roller

The type of soil is the primary factor in determining which kind of roller machine is best for your roadbuilding project. Coarse-grained soils like gravel and sand are gritty and do not retain moisture. Fine-grained soils like clay and silt are smooth and can retain high amounts of water. If your work site has coarse-grained soils, we recommend a smooth roller. For fine-grained soils, use a padfoot roller.

Another factor to consider is the amount of compaction you need to do. For small to medium soil compaction projects, use a pneumatic roller. For large-scale projects with a lot of soil to compact, use a smooth roller or padfoot roller.

Get a Roadroller From H.O. Penn Machinery

H.O. Penn Machinery has a wide selection of road construction and paving equipment. Our inventory has new compactors and used roadrollers for sale and construction roller rentals for short-term projects. Learn more about our roller machines by calling 845-448-0018, contacting us online or visiting us in person in Connecticut or Southern New York.

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