Differences Between Geogrids and Geotextiles

Geosynthetics(geogrid/geo-textile) originate from the words Geo “soil or earth” and Synthetics which means “man-made”. They are man-made materials made from plastics.

These petrochemical-based polymers do not initiate a response or interact when introduced to biological tissue. One notable characteristic of geosynthetics is that they will not decompose from fungal or bacterial actions, which is why they are used to improve soil conditions.

There are different types of geosynthetic materials. The types used in agricultural applications can be divided into these categories:

  1. geogrids
  2. geo-textiles
  3. geocells
  4. geomembranes
  5. erosion control

In this article, we will compare Geo-grid vs Geo-textile, noting the differences. Many hardscape DIY-ers find it difficult to be sure which material to use. In this article, you can learn the differences.

What is a geogrid?

These are open mesh-like materials of integrally connected polymers. Geogrids are made from polyester, polyethylene, or polypropylene. They are used for soil or hardscape reinforcement and stabilization; for instance, reinforcing a retaining wall backfill. 

In most cases, geogrids are used in high-demand agricultural or heavy load situations due to their strength being greater than most geo-textiles. Thanks to its low strain, geo-grids are strong in tension, stretching only about 2 to 5% under load. Geo-grids are produced in uniaxial (one-way) and biaxial (two-way) forms, with each being used for different applications.


Uniaxial Geo-grid

Uniaxial geo-grids, also sometimes referred to as “one-way” or “one-directional” geo-grids, are geo-grids that are only strong in one direction, even though they may look very similar to a biaxial geo-grid. Uniaxial geo-grids are typically used in scenarios where soils only require reinforcement in one direction – almost always in retaining walls or slope reinforcement scenarios.

Biaxial Geo-grid

Biaxial geo-grids are sometimes referred to as “two-way” or “bi-directional” geo-grids and are equally strong in two directions. This type of grid can be used in retaining wall construction, and can be rolled out along the retaining wall blocks, provided the roll width is wide enough to cover the geo-grid design width. It’s typical use, however, is in roadway construction (including gravel driveways) and foundation improvement applications.

What are geotextiles?


Geo-textiles are defined as any permeable textile used for dirt, soil, earth, or rock in any geotechnical engineering-related project or structure or system. They are the most widely-used geosynthetic for agriculture. There are both woven and non-woven geo-textiles.

Woven geotextiles:

Woven geo-textiles are composed of woven slit film polypropylene materials. This type of geo-textile is made from two sets of parallel threads or yarns. They combine high strength and low permeability, making them very effective at bridging over wet or inferior soil layers. 

Non-woven geotextiles:

Non-woven geo-textile membranes are made from needle punched polypropylene, allowing simultaneous separation and filtration. Non-woven geo-textiles combine the strength of woven fabrics with high permeability, making them a better choice when applications require both separation and filtration. 

Common Applications of Geotextiles

1. Drainage

Geo-textiles will efficiently collect surplus water from structures, such as rainwater or surplus water, from the soil and discharge it.

2. Filtration

Our geo-textiles provide superior hydraulic flow and soil retention, which makes them well suited for filtration in subsurface drainage applications and under hard armour systems.

3. Separation

Geo-textiles are used for paved and unpaved roads, where ground conditions have been compromised. As a separation layer, geo-textiles can aid preventing the intermixing of dissimilar materials, add to the performance life of the road and reduce the overall thickness of the road section by requiring less aggregate during construction.

4. Reinforcement

High strength geo-textiles can be used to reinforce earth structures as the strength of the tape or filament within the fabric may be increased to suit a specific application. Thanks to their high tensile strength they are an ideal reinforcement solution.

5. Protection

Due to the consistent thickness and weight of our Geotextiles, they provide adequate cushioning and protection for critical lining systems.

Geogrids vs Geotextiles

Here’s the difference between geo-grids and geotextiles to help you decide:

  • Geotextiles are manufactured for separation, filtration, and drainage purposes, whereas geo-grids are manufactured specifically as a reinforcement material.
  • It may seem that geo-grids’ interlocking of the soil with the grid membrane makes it a superior form of reinforcement; however, the geotextile provides the separation function that ensures it maintains its thickness, service life, and long-term strength.
  • Geo-grids are passive resistance dependent reinforcement, whereas geotextiles are frictional resistance dependent reinforcement.

Geotextile installation involves:

  • Grading
  • Evacuating
  • Allowing vegetation, and
  • Placing the separation geotextile directly on the prepared subgrade

Geo-grid installation involves:

  • Planning the geo-grid retaining wall
  • Evacuating
  • Sub-base and base stabilization
  • Gravel levelling
  • Laying retaining wall blocks

The main differences summarised are: 

Geotextiles: Used primarily for soil separation to promote drainage. Generally allows very little to no soils to travel through, but does allow water to move freely.

Geo-grids: Used primarily for soil reinforcement. Does not impede water or soils from travelling.

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