What Does Backfill Mean?

What Does Backfill Mean?

Backfill refers to replacing soil or other material into a trench or foundation once the excavation and related work has been completed. Not only does this process replace material that was removed, but it strengthens a structure that has been put in place.

Depending on the type of excavation and site, backfill material can be fine-grained soil, coarse-grained soil, rock, commercial by-products, or a mixture. Learn more about backfill materials for construction projects. 

It is important to choose the right materials for the right type of site and building structure. Choosing the wrong material can lead to an unstable final structure, poor drainage, pooling water, and more. You’ll also pay different rates for different backfill materials. Read more about how backfill materials can impact your building

Backfill Techniques

Just as important as the material used is also the technique to complete the process. 

The process is not as simple as filling in holes or trenches with material; it requires heavy equipment, skilled professionals, and knowledge of the site specifications and soil conditions. 

There are several techniques to ensure the backfilling process is in a structurally sound way, which include:


Compacting is one of the most common ways to complete a backfilling. 

This uses some sort of mechanical means to compact the material in the hole or trench. This usually utilizes machinery like a compactor or excavator. 

This technique typically backfills soil in layers, and then by adding water during the process, it assists with compaction.

Water Jetting

Water jetting is a backfilling technique that uses water instead of mechanical means to compact the backfill material. This technique applies pressurized water to the bottom of a hole or trench. Then, the force of the jetted water moves the backfill materials. Similar to the mechanical compacting process, water jetting can also be in layers.


Dumping is a backfilling technique that does not involve any additional steps to compact the material. It is just filling the hole or trench with the material without compaction. 

This is a simpler method than compaction or jetting, but using the wrong material can lead to weak backfill. This is a common method with stone backfill.

Quality Backfill Materials in Oregon

If you are in need of backfill material or are just starting a project and want to learn more, contact Tigard Sand & Gravel. 

We offer prompt delivery of all rock products in Portland, Tualatin, and the surrounding areas. No job is too big or too small, and we provide access to quality materials at an affordable price. Contact us today!