General Questions

General Questions

How is Terraroads different than traditional methods?
Terraroads is quicker and less expensive than traditional methods of constructing road bases for secondary, temporary and full access roads. Terraroads is a multienzymatic formulation that alters the properties of earth materials to increase the soil bearing characteristics by promoting a closer binding of soil particles. This reduces the tendency of the soil to expand after compaction and results in a strong, stable earth layer that resists the migration of water. Terraroads helps prevent pot holes, increase wheel load strength, resist moisture and prevent frost heaving. Roads made with Terraroads last longer with less maintenance, saving time and money.

How is Terraroads applied?
Terraroads is added to the water truck used on the job site. Terraroads is easy to apply and requires no special equipment or application procedures. It can be used with reclaiming machines or applied with regular road building machines.

Does Terraroads have any environmental impact?
Very little. Terraroads is non-toxic and will not harm the environment. It requires no special handling equipment and no special containment procedures as required with toxic and/or corrosive agents. It does not irritate skin tissue and causes no rashes or burns. Terraroads contains no combustible materials, is non-explosive and can used near open flames. It is non-gaseous and can be stored in poorly ventilated areas. It will not harm humans, animals, fish or vegetation under normal use and is totally biodegradable.

How much money can I save with Terraroads?
Terraroads is extremely cost-effective. In most cases, you will save on the importation of materials to the job site as well as long term cost savings due to the reduction of maintenance.

Can I use Terraroads to build a highway/freeway?
Yes, you can use Terraroads to build a stronger base before the asphalt or concrete topping is put on.

Is Terraroads certified by the U.S. Department of Transportation?
Terraroads is currently on the Approved Products List for soil stabilizers by the New York State Department of Transportation. In addition, we have received approvals for use by Caltrans (California), and the Departments of Transportation of Utah and Washington. We are currently in testing programs in Texas and Florida, and are in the process of applying for a standard specification with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Terraroads is also in contention to be included in the Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP II), administered by the Federal HighWay Association (USDOT).
Please watch our web site for updates.

How do I buy Terraroads?
Contact a distributor near you. (See Contact Us page). If there is no distributor in your area, please email us at

How quickly can I build a temporary road with Terraroads?
Terraroads takes just 72 hours to fully cure (harden) after compaction, and can be capped after only 24 hours of curing.

How long should I expect my Terraroads and/or road base to last?
Terraroads treated roads have been in use for over 10 years, however, the longevity of a road is a function of several factors:

  • Climate conditions such as temperature ranges and rainfall
  • Types of soils used in construction
  • Road design: crowning, drainage and other engineered parameters
  • Type of vehicular traffic, speed and degree of usage
  • Wearing surface applied (if any)
  • General maintenance frequency and quality
    • Roads treated with Terraroads retain their integrity over longer periods than previously experienced by road departments and require at least 50% less road maintenance.

Technical Questions

Does Terraroads work well with organic materials (e.g. CaO, CaCO3)?
Yes. Terraroads works well with all organic soils. It will increase the bonding of the fines (-200 mesh) and allow greater moisture penetration to facilitate compaction. Terraroads has been used successfully in roads containing Limestone (CaO). Calcite (CaCO3), a fine grain limestone or soft earthy clay, also reacts positively with Terraroads. However, the use of clays should be minimized in road building — usually less than 30% – 200 mesh

What is Terraroads curing time?
Terraroads has a remarkably fast curing time. Terraroads does its work after the time of compaction and immediate subsequent curing (72 hours drying). Bonding of the soil particles takes place in the presence of moisture and compactive force. This condition will last as long as the material resists external forces. Heavy wheel loads, water, freeze-thaw cycles ultimately have an effect on all roads. Terraroads treated soils resists these forces due to the bonded, high density of the road material.

As time goes on will Terraroads reduce or increase in bonding strength? Will the road crack or become fragile?
Terraroads treated soils (for roads or ponds) achieve their greatest strength after the time of compaction and in the 3-4 subsequent months (72 hours drying). Bonding of the soil particles takes place in the presence of moisture and compactive force. This condition will last as long as the material resists external forces. Heavy wheel loads, water, freeze-thaw cycles ultimately have an effect on all roads. Terraroads treated soils resists these forces due to the bonded, high density of the road material. The road will resist the detrimental effects of erosion and mechanical forces. Several roads built with only Terraroads, local soil and a capping have been in use for 7-10 years with no fractures and no maintenance required.

Cracking generally occurs as a result of two factors:

  1. The road material contains a high percent of expansive clays that have a high shrink/swell factor. When the road is completed and dries out, some cracking will appear. This can reduce the effectiveness of the road stability and affect longevity.
  2. The soft sub-base may not support the treated base under wheel loads, i.e. expansive clays. In this case, the bearing capability of the road is insufficient. This can be corrected by increasing the thickness of the road base.

Note that when the clay fines (minus 200 mesh) exceed 25% or are highly expansive, some surface cracking will occur. Generally the cracks are superficial, often filling in with road particles during normal traffic use. This condition is often referred to as “Alligator Cracking” and does not significantly affect the stability of the road base. Rain or other moisture will moderately swell the clay fines and the cracks will close. If the clay material is highly expansive, then the amount of fines should be kept low to reduce the amount of cracking.
Prior to placement of any surface material, Terraroads treated soil should be lightly sprayed with a dilute solution of water and Terraroads to assist in the bonding of the new surface material (i.e. asphalt) to the road base. Moisture will close many of the cracks.

Reflective cracks should not migrate upward through the asphalt unless the clay fines are in the upper range and site conditions see radical sub-surface ground moisture variations. Proper drainage will reduce ground moisture and keep cracking to a minimum.

What is enzyme stabilization and why is it important?
Enzymes increase the compressive strength of soil. The enzyme acts as a catalyst to accelerate and strengthen road material bonding, creating a denser, cohesive and stable soil. Enzymes also reduce the compaction effort and improve soil workability while lubricating the soil particles. This makes the soil easier to grade and allows the compactor to achieve targeted soil density with fewer passes.

Enzyme stabilization also:

  • Increases soil density: helps reduce voids between soil particles by altering electro-chemical attraction in soil particles and releasing bound water. The result is a tighter, dryer, more dense road foundation
  • Lowers water permeability: Tighter soil configurations discourage the migration of water that normally occurs in the voids between particles. Greater resistance to water penetration deterioration.
  • Is environmentally safe: Enzymes are natural, safe (organic) materials. These materials are non-toxic and will cause no harm or danger to humans, animals, fish or vegetation.

After compaction, what is the ratio of expansion? Will extreme weather affect the road (hot or cold)?
After compaction, the expansion-contraction ratio will be dependent upon the soil type (percentage of expansive clays) as well as the gradation range (distribution of particle sizes). Well-graded soil (ranging from -200 mesh to 1 inch) is ideal for road building. The -200 mesh fines should be approximately 20%. If the frost level extends below the level of the road, some heaving may occur. However, in the spring the road should settle back to is original elevation without severe damage. Proper road construction including shoulder drainage will minimize the effects of frost. Good engineering practices should be observed. Hot weather does not affect a road, other than dry dirt surfaces tend to be dusty under high wheel loading. Terraroads treated surfaces will reduce the amount of dust.

When the road contains more than 20-30% clay, will the road surface become too slippery and lose traction?
Road constructed with material containing a high clay contact will exhibit slippery surfaces when wet. It is necessary to use as much aggregate as possible to increase overall strength of the road and increase traction in wet conditions. In many applications, surface treatment is applied as part of the overall design. This provides a wearing surface for traction, moisture protection, and greater overall strength. Cost and availability of materials are the primary factors affecting the type of surface treatment.

Terraroads works well with soils that have clay content passing a -200 mesh screen between 10%-35%. This range of fines has been indicated as an acceptable range for road building material. It is desirable to minimize excessive clay content. Under moist conditions the surface will not have proper surface friction and excessive plasticity may be present.

Over the course of three years Terraroads can reduce road maintenance by over 50%. For example, most dirt roads typically required bi-monthly grading activities and periodic re-gravelling. If, however, Terraroads is used to stabilize the road and a thin “chip seal” is placed over the surface, the road can last several years without any significant maintenance.

Can temporary roads be constructed using less Terraroads?
Yes. Temporary roads might be constructed with reduced thickness, providing the wheel loads would not immediately destroy the road. Terraroads is always used at the rate of
1 gallon per 150 cubic yards or 1 liter per 30 cubic meters of soil material, within a dilution range of 100:1 to 250:1.

Is compaction required when using Terraroads?
Yes. Terraroads is used when moisture is applied to soil for compaction. Our accelerated stabilization occurs when soil particles are in close contact, forced by the compaction effort. Even when used in pond applications, the downward force of the water assists in compaction. Spraying Terraroads on the soil without any compaction will provide some dust abatement benefits, but will not effect a change in erosion.