As a developer, you know the importance of choosing the best site locations for your projects. Where possible, you want to minimize costs by working in areas that don’t need extensive preparation and ground stabilization.

Of course, it’s about more than just the costs. It’s about structural integrity and ensuring the safety of those who live and do business nearby or on the project site.

Sometimes, however, you have no other choice but to complete your project on soft soil or soft subgrades. When that’s the case, geotechnologies and cellular confinement systems can help stabilize the base layer, improve the bearing capacity, and ensure that your project stands the test of time.

Geocells and geogrids are two of the most common solutions for ground stabilization. But which is the better, more cost effective solution?

What are Geocells?

Geocells are expandable, three-dimensional honeycomb confinement systems composed of high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Once expanded and connected, you can fill the flexible cellular structure with a variety of different infill materials, such as aggregate, gravel, and soil. Wth holes in the cell walls, geocells provide excellent natural drainage.

What is Geocell Used For?

Geocells are used in various civil engineering and construction applications. They offer several functions, including:

Soil Reinforcement

Soil reinforcement, commonly achieved through geocells, plays a crucial role in preventing soil movement and enhancing strength. Geocells confine and interlock soil particles, particularly beneficial for slope stabilization, averting landslides, and soil erosion on steep slopes. Additionally, soil reinforcement aids in erosion control, safeguarding vulnerable areas such as channels, ditches, and embankments, from the erosive forces of water or wind.

Pavement Stabilization

Geocells play a pivotal role in pavement stabilization, establishing a robust foundation for roads, railways, and parking lots. By evenly distributing loads, they effectively minimize deformation and cracks in the pavement surface, contributing to a longer pavement life and reducing the need for frequent repairs and maintenance. This, in turn, translates to cost savings through reduced material requirements, as less aggregate (crushed stone, gravel) is necessary for the pavement base. The resulting smoother roads not only enhance durability but also improve traffic flow, ensuring safer and faster travel.

Drainage and Erosion Control

Geocells play a dual role in drainage and erosion control by preventing lateral soil movement while facilitating water infiltration through open spaces. This functionality effectively manages surface runoff, reducing erosion and supporting healthy vegetation growth. Geocells find practical applications in channel and ditch lining, stabilizing waterway banks and beds to prevent erosion and maintain flow capacity. Additionally, they offer embankment protection by stabilizing slopes and preventing soil erosion, providing comprehensive solutions for sustainable water management.

Retaining Walls

Geocells prove versatile in constructing retaining walls, whether vegetated or providing additional reinforcement for conventional concrete or block walls. The incorporation of geocells in these structures offers aesthetic benefits, as vegetated walls seamlessly blend with the natural surroundings, minimizing the visual impact of the wall. Moreover, geocells enhance drainage by allowing water to pass through, mitigating pressure buildup and the risk of failure. Notably, the use of geocells in retaining walls is also cost-effective, presenting a more economical alternative to traditional retaining wall materials.

Other Applications

Geocells extend their utility beyond the primary applications mentioned earlier, finding diverse uses in landscaping, where they stabilize slopes, create raised planting beds, and reinforce pathways. In mining, geocells play a crucial role in reinforcing mine slopes and preventing erosion around tailings ponds. Additionally, in environmental remediation, geocells contribute to capping landfills, protecting contaminated soil, and establishing drainage channels, showcasing their versatility in addressing various challenges across different industries.

Overall, geocells are versatile tools in civil engineering and construction. Their ability to reinforce soil, stabilize slopes, improve drainage, and provide structural support makes them valuable for a wide range of applications.

What are Geogrids?

While geocells are three-dimensional, geogrids are two-dimensional support structures that provide increased flexibility but significantly less support. Any material that is not located within the plane of the geogrid is still susceptible to moving and shifting. Many developers will utilize multiple layers of geogrids at different levels of a slope or embankment.

What is Geogrid Used For?

Geogrids open spaces allow soil or other materials to interlock with the ribs, creating a composite material with enhanced properties. Geogrids are primarily used for two main purposes:


Reinforcement with geogrids is instrumental in various applications, especially in soil reinforcement where they excel in handling tension, redistributing stresses to prevent soil movement and enhance stability. This proves valuable in slope stabilization, mitigating the risk of landslides and soil erosion on steep terrain. Geogrids also offer additional support to retaining walls, minimizing the potential for collapse, and contribute to foundation stability by improving the bearing capacity of soft soils, enabling them to bear heavier loads. In pavement reinforcement, geogrids play a vital role in strengthening the base layer of roads, railways, and parking lots, distributing traffic loads more uniformly and thereby reducing cracking and pavement deformation.

Geogrids serve as a versatile solution in various reinforcement contexts, providing enhanced stability and load-bearing capabilities across diverse infrastructural elements. Whether applied to prevent slope instability, reinforce retaining walls, fortify foundations, or bolster pavement structures, geogrids play a pivotal role in ensuring the longevity and resilience of critical engineering systems.

Separation and filtration

Separation and filtration applications of geogrids are crucial for maintaining the integrity of various structures and environments. In separation, geogrids excel at preventing the mixing of different soil layers or materials, preserving their individual properties. This proves valuable in drainage systems, where geogrids prevent soil particles from clogging pipes and channels, ensuring efficient water flow. In landfills, geogrids act as a barrier, separating waste layers from the surrounding soil to prevent contamination.

In filtration, geogrids allow water to permeate while effectively filtering out soil particles, serving as a vital component in erosion control on embankments and slopes. Additionally, in retaining wall drainage, geogrids facilitate water drainage behind the walls, mitigating pressure buildup and enhancing overall stability. The versatile use of geogrids in separation and filtration underscores their importance in preserving the functionality and longevity of diverse infrastructural and environmental systems.

Overall, geogrids are versatile materials with a wide range of applications in civil engineering and construction. Their ability to reinforce soil, separate materials, and filter water makes them valuable tools for improving the stability, performance, and longevity of various structures and infrastructure.

Difference Between Geogrid and Geocell


Geogrid is a geosynthetic material comprising closely spaced parallel sets of tensile ribs with apertures between them. Made from polymers like polyethylene or polypropylene, it reinforces soils, retaining walls, and slopes by providing tensile strength. Geogrids are commonly used in applications such as stabilizing retaining walls, reinforcing road construction, and preventing soil erosion in slope stabilization.


Geocell is a three-dimensional, honeycomb-like cellular structure made from materials like high-density polyethylene. Serving as a flexible confinement system, geocells are placed on the ground surface and filled with soil, aggregate, or concrete. Their primary functions include confining materials, distributing loads, and providing support, making them versatile in erosion control, load support for roads and parking lots, and construction of retaining walls.

How Do Geocells and Geogrids Compare?

Geocells and geogrids both have their place in commercial projects and have their own pros and cons. For instance, geocells are stronger and make more sense for a forest road or slope stabilization measure, whereas geogrids are more flexible and work well in concert with other stabilization methods.


In terms of a direct cost comparison, you can typically purchase geogrids at a lower cost point than geocells. When considering both the upfront investment costs, ancillary costs, and the ongoing maintenance and repairs, geocells are less expensive in the long run. With geogrids, you will likely need to install multiple layers, utilize higher quality infill material, and make more frequent repairs.


Any stabilization equipment will be difficult to install in a soft subgrade. In particular, geogrids are difficult to install properly because making them as tight as recommended is not easy. Geocells on the other hand, can be installed easily with appropriate infill materials and trucks that can compact the soil.


Geocells and geogrids differ on the types and amount of infill materials that can be used. Since they are two-dimensional and don’t provide as much lateral support, geogrids require stable, high-quality infill materials. With high strength, three-dimensional support, and natural drainage, geocells function well with a variety of different infill materials, including gravel, local aggregate, or soil.


Geocells and geogrids also differ in the amount of strength and support that they provide. While geogrids work well where just a thin support layer can stabilize the soil or project, geogrids provide more stabilization and are a better solution for more complex or difficult areas.

Geocells for Complex Projects

At BaseCore, we understand the complexities and nuances of slope stabilization, erosion control, road development, and other cost- and labor-intensive commercial projects. When you have to work with steep slopes, soft subgrades, and other complicated factors, geocells can help reduce costs and improve the stability of your project.

Want to learn more about our cost-effective, long-lasting, and flexible geocell solutions? Give us a call at (888)-511-1553 or fill out our online contact form.