Q: A storm in January destroyed the brick patio at our beachfront property in New Hampshire. Looking for advice on environmentally appropriate, durable patio materials. Wondering if brick is the best material as it is easy to repair and if we should just fix it. -- G.M. A: Salt water (assuming you are on the ocean), is a harsh environment for most building materials. If … [Read more...] about Patios & Decks for Coastal Homes
Q: How can you tell if land is too wet for a septic system? Can an area be covered with a tarp during the wet season to help it pass the perc test? -- K.G. A: Wet sites are challenging for septic system design and for home building in general. If the seasonal high water table is too close to the surface – less than three feet below the gravel trenches in the … [Read more...] about Septic Systems on Wet Sites
Q: I have a 1970's split level, 2000 sq ft house. I am renovating and have totally removed all the finished walls. I always had to run a dehumidifier and I now see I have some moisture issues. On two walls I had efflorescence which I painted and now the floor about a foot out from the concrete block wall is spalling and has efflorescence. I also have a block chimney on … [Read more...] about Preventing Efflorescence & Spalling in Foundation
Q: I’m building new house with a basement, and drilling a deep water well. How far should the wellhead be from the foundation and septic system? -- Brad A: Well clearances are typically governed by state and municipal law, which can vary significantly from state to state and town to town. Your local health department or building department can provide you with … [Read more...] about Well Clearance to Septic System & House?
Q: We are replacing a house on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The house has a 5-year-old BAT system with a sand mound that has been maintained by the state. We just received notice the other day that we didn’t have enough acreage for a second sand mound and would need to go a holding tank if the system failed. How worried should we be? Would there be alternatives? Is it possible to … [Read more...] about Can New Septic Drain Field Go in Same Location As Old?
Q: We have purchased 13 acres of land with a gorgeous mountain view in North Georgia that previously had chicken houses on it. The houses were torn down two owners ago. There were 6 total houses, 3 new and 3 very old and collapsing. We did all of the "right" things, so we thought, during the due diligence period. Perc testing, plat maps, checked on zoning, checked for … [Read more...] about Building Over Buried Agricultural Waste
Q: We had a chamber septic system we had installed 15 years ago when we built our house. They hauled 19 truckloads of K4 sand, no gravel (see system design below). We’ve pumped it regularly and now we are selling. We had a septic inspection done only to be blindsided that the system is over-saturated and in need of replacement. We have come to believe that chamber … [Read more...] about Why Did Chamber Septic System Fail?
Q: There is a drilled well and septic in place on a plot of land I’m interested in, in upstate NY. It had served a home that had since burnt down. Is there a way to test the conditions of these without an existing structure? -- Jason A: Yes, both the existing well and septic can be tested. Well Testing A well driller can do the same type of yield test that is done on a new … [Read more...] about Testing An Existing Well & Septic System