What is grading and site preparation?

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Here at NC Grading & Excavating, we are mountain movers! We were recently asked a question that we felt would be beneficial for everyone to have the answer to, “What is grading and site preparation?” Being experts in our industry, we understand that not everyone knows what grading and site preparation is, so today we want to explain it to you.

Land Clearing

Before any construction can begin on a structure, it starts as a parcel of land, also known as a lot. If you travel around Western North Carolina, you will see many signs for “Buy this Land!” or “Own this Property!” However, you may notice that the area around those signs is nothing, but a space filled with tree and other natural elements.

Your observations would be correct as these lots are undeveloped but can be purchased for construction. Once a parcel of undeveloped land is purchased it must be cleared to begin work.

The removal of trees, undergrowth, problematic elements such as large boulders, and more is called land clearing. Clearing the land is the first step in site preparation.

Site Excavation

Once a site has been cleared of growth excavation can begin. Excavation is the process of sloping land, or moving the earth, with heavy equipment.

For example, many people want to build higher up on the slopes of the mountains in this region. For this to happen, a house pad must be created on the hill. So, the earth must be removed from the side of the mountain for a house pad to begin to take shape.

However, you will most likely have to excavate a road to your building site as well. There may be a need to remove a lot of earth to carve out a drive for access to where the structure will be.

Another example of excavation is if a large boulder must be removed for building to occur.

The creation of ditches is yet another example as the soil must be removed to create a divot in the earth for water to flow. Water will always take the path of least resistance, and by creating a ditch with a slope, you can turn water away from a road or home.


Once a site has been cleared, and obstacles excavated the next part of site preparation is grading the land.

Land grading is leveling up the land or slope for construction to build. It differs from an excavation in the fact you are not moving earth, per se, but instead you are working with the soil to level it out.

Grading is used for finishing up a house pad and compacting it, or it can be leveling out where the road to the property will be.

A lot of factors go into grading the land of a given area such as the quality and type of the soil, erosion control, the density of the property and more.

That is why it is best to hire a professional such as NC Grading and Excavating for your site preparation. They are experts in this type of work and have in-depth knowledge of the types of soil in this area and how to control the effects of erosion.

There is no parcel of land anywhere that is immediately ready to build on. If you happen to see a lot that looks like you can begin building a home or business on, then it has already been prepared in advance.

Site preparation may seem like a project you can do yourself, but it is not advised. Leave it to the experts who know how to prepare and clear your land correctly. The foundation of a building or road is the most critical part of the construction. If it has not been made correctly, then your entire project will fail. Contact NC Grading and Excavating here with any questions or concerns you have. We are a family owned company and guarantee our work.

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