Kevin writes: In 2013 we decided to demolish our existing home (build in 1941) and build a new home in the same place. Because our neighborhood is built on 85-foot-deep clay over a glacial lake, the old cinder block foundation had failed in the basement and we had serious moisture problems as a result. To prevent a repeat, we chose to not have a basement in the new home. Our … [Read more...] about Building New Slab Over Foundation Rubble
Karen asks: We are considering buying a property that's labeled as "gently rolling". Do we need a builder to look at it in order to tell us if a walk-out basement is possible? How much slope is required? Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Assuming an 8 ft. foundation wall, and assuming your foundation projects one foot above grade at the front of the house, you … [Read more...] about How Much Slope for Walk-Out?
Sandy writes: We were told the lot we were buying had "bad dirt" which didn't compact properly. So the builder is supposedly removing all the bad dirt and replacing it so that a home on a slab foundation can be built. How common is this practice and what can we do to ensure everything was done properly? Also, my husband saw them removing dirt and dumping it on the lot next door … [Read more...] about Building on Poor Soils
Missy writes: I am in the process of building a new home in Michigan and when the foundation was poured last fall there was water sitting in the basement throughout the whole process. Now three months later as they are finishing the house, the sump pump has continued to run. We have a mix of clay and sand soil on the property. We want to know if this is just a temporary problem … [Read more...] about Wet Basement Solutions for New Home
Whitney writes: I recently bought a home and found out that the entire lot is backfilled with cinder block, brick, tiles, asphalt, and metal, which is causing damage to the foundation. Also, a large section of land keeps washing away due to all the buried debris buried. What can I do? Steve Bliss, editor of BuildingAdvisor.com, responds: Sorry to hear about your problem. … [Read more...] about Foundation Damage from Buried Debris
Steve writes: A friend recently moved into a property where a downspout leaked for years causing soil under the footings to be washed away on one corner of property. Their builder said they need to fill the void with concrete to provide support in that area. Is this a good approach and what would you call this remedy? Steve Bliss of BuildingAdivsor.com responds: This sounds … [Read more...] about Soil Washed Away Under Foundation
Mike writes: I purchased a lot that was owned by the city I live in. Years ago the city used the lot as a dump for tree stumps, chunks of concrete, brick, and cut logs. The builder discovered the fill when excavating for the foundation. Since he could not build on top of this, he had to dig much deeper and use much more material, which ended up costing me more than $10,000 out … [Read more...] about Building on Filled Land
Keith writes: Is there any recommendation to how high the grade of a home needs to be above an existing drainage ditch. What is the typical elevation above the ditch needed to get water flowing? Steve Bliss of BuildingAdvisor.com responds: Many basement water problems result from rain and snow melt that runs of the roof, pools around the foundation, and then runs down the … [Read more...] about How Much Slope for Good Site Drainage?