- There exists a need for a method of estimating soil swelling behavior for the design and practitioner community. Desirable method attributes include; low cost, reasonable accuracy and technical soundness. The method should be usable for a wide range of soil types. Practitioners should be able to use local soils testing services to get the data required by the method. The NRCS Soil Survey Laboratory (SSL) soils database is a large, quality controlled resource that provides the data for the development of such a method. The presented method allows for the estimation of the suction compression index using Atterberg limits, particle size classification, and the coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE) values as contained in the SSL database. Using a 6500 sample subset of the SSL database, a series of charts are presented yielding suction compression index values for various mineralogically based groups. The proposed method provides quick and stable prediction of an important soil property using low cost and commonly available soil test procedures.