Resod

I just bought my first house a couple months ago, and I'm looking to hire someone to lay some new sod (something I've never done before), and was wondering if it's ok to just lay sod over a layer of topsoil. My house sits on a hill with an ~20% grade, and a lot of the soil seems to be eroding, so I want to try to stop the problem by laying new sod. The contractor I talked to today said that because there will need to be new topsoil thrown down (~4 inches), tearing up the old sod is a waste of time, and money. He said that if they just throw the new sod on top of the new topsoil, that will work fine. Does this sound right, or should I find someone else to do the job? Will this be enough room for the roots to grow? Thanks.
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I would say you need to have the existing lawn tilled, then add topsoil and till again before installing new sod.
Otherwise, you run a real risk of creating soil layers which will impede root growth.

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Kyle Boatright said:

Why till? That's one of the worst things you can do to the soil, and you wanna do it twice.

Agreed the old turf has to be removed first, but not at the cost of the soil's structure. Renting a sod cutter rather than a tiller is a much better option, imo.
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As I wrote earlier, not tilling creates the risk of stratified soil layers. You need to blend the new and old soil. Otherwise, the OP may be putting your topsoil down on a packed layer of soil. If that happens, the roots grow well for a couple of inches, then hit the proverbial wall. Same thing for water absorption.
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You might get away with soil adding in 1" steps, allowing the sod beneath to take hold each step. Do use a row of sod perpendicular to the elevation to help retain the soil every 4 feet or so. Or, 1" gravel as an alternative. The last 1" of soil don't add any retention material. However, this is prohibitively expensive on the hired labor end. You'd probably have to do it yourself.
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