Q: How sturdy are helical piers as a foundation for a backyard deck? Also, can I use a ground screws or other type of no-dig post anchor to support a newel post on my porch stairs? – FC A: Helical piers, when installed properly, can provide a sturdy, code-approved foundation for a raised backyard deck. This type of support, also known as helical “piles” has been widely … [Read more...] about Helical Piers for Decks
Q: We recently purchased at lot in a new development. While excavating for the foundation, our builder informed us: “We ran into a problem with the soil on the back of your lot. It requires over -digging the footers and installing gravel back up to the bottom of footer. Unfortunately, this was an unforeseen expense that isn’t covered per your contract. Obviously, there will … [Read more...] about Should We Pay Extra Charge for Soil Problem?
Q: The foundation on my 1980s-era house is insulated on the exterior with sheets of foam board. Several inches of foundation are exposed above grade, where the foam is protected by aluminum flashing. The foam and flashing are unsightly. Would it risk termites or other problems to raise up the ground level with soil or river rock to cover up the foam? Are there better … [Read more...] about How To Protect Foam Insulation on Foundation?
My new house, built on a concrete slab, is about 60% done, framing and drywall are in. My concern is I have several hairline cracks throughout the slab. I purposely had the slab made thicker (6 inches) with heavier rebar and a fiber- type additive to hopefully minimize this from happening. Is there anything I should do prior to having my flooring installed or something I … [Read more...] about Are Cracks in Concrete Slab Normal?
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?
Pierre writes: My basement wall is insulated with a 2 inches of Styrofoam on the interior and I built a 2×4 wall and added Roxul insulation. I planned to install vapor barrier on top. Is it OK to add this vapor barrier? It is for a bathroom with a tiled shower. I live in central Ontario, Canada. Steve Bliss, of BuildingAdvisor.com, writes: The short answer is: Don’t use a … [Read more...] about Basement Vapor Barriers
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