Skip to main content

«  View All Posts

Do I Need Density Testing?

October 13th, 2023 | 1 min. read

By Legacy Engineering

density testing

Soil Density testing, also referred to as soil compaction testing, is a method of classifying the existing soil and determining if the final soil compaction levels are adequate for building. Some soil can appear too initially compacted or not compacted enough. 


Yes, you will always need a proctor in order for our lab to accurately interpret the density results. A proctor is a sample of material at your site that must be collected in order to be tested in the lab and compared to the nuclear density gauge results. It is recommended that a proctor is collected as soon as soil is on site so we can provide rapid compaction test results. 

We are able to take the proctor at the same time as the nuclear density gauge testing but there will be a delay in the final report as the report needs an initial sample to be compacted and compared to the density results. Without a proctor, the density test is meaningless because there must be an initial sample to compare the gauge results to. 


One method used at Legacy to take soil density tests is by using a low radiation level nuclear density gauge. A nuclear gauge tests wet and dry densities as well as the soil’s moisture content by simply hammering into the level ground, creating a narrow deep hole, and placing the source rod to the desired depth in the created hole.

Once the machine is placed above the hole, gamma rays are emitted and interact with existing electrons in the soil. The percentage of rays that are returned to the source is calculated and the gauge measures the density of the soil.


density videoTesting using the nuclear gauge takes about two minutes in each area. Typically, several site areas are tested in order to increase the accuracy of the results. Refer to the demonstration video provided to see exactly how long the test takes and the common procedures. 


Please click here to be redirected to our scheduling page or call our CMT scheduler, Kellen Norton, at (904)-735-1100. We cannot wait to work with you on your upcoming project and let Legacy help you Build Better by testing your materials!

Legacy Engineering