COMMUNITY FORUM

KNRosol

09:56AM | 09/19/04
Member Since: 09/18/04
2 lifetime posts
Bvbasement
Our new house is being built on a clay lot. The builder has used the clay to backfill along the sides and back of the house??? My husband is concerned that they did not use sand for at least a small perimeter around the house. What is the correct way to backfill on a clay lot. What is the norm? We are worried that over the next 10 years we will see a lot of exposed foundation walls on the exterior of the house as this clay settles. Is this quality workmanship?

Thanks

Glenn Good

04:21PM | 09/22/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
320 lifetime posts
While this is the most common method used by contractors it is not the best. Unless your contract spells out an alternative type or method of backfilling to be used you will likely have to pay extra to have it changed. Using sand or washed stone is an additional cost to the contractor and he would be entitled to reimbursement for this.

Another potential problem with clay is that it is expansive. It shrinks when dry and expands when wet. If you encounter an extended period of wet weather following a dry summer the clay may expand and exert pressure against the foundation walls which could result in cracking. To eliminate this, a foundation irrigation system may be used to keep the clay moist and prevent it from shrinking during dry spells.

A better method however is to install a foundation drain around the footing and use washed stone to backfill against the foundation.

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

Piffin

08:12PM | 09/22/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1284 lifetime posts
There is an even worse scenario than Glenn has mentioned. In Northern states, one should never used clay soil to backfill. not onluy is it expansive when wet, but it retains moisture and will expand even more when freezing hits it. The frost can exert a tremendous force against the walls of the foundation, leading to cracks in it.

A goodf backfill starts with a perimeter drain leading to daylight or a drywell or other carrying system. it is then surronded with clean gravel and landscape fabric to keep it from silting up and getting blocked. Then a sand/gravel mix is palced against the wall to allow water to find its way to that drain and away from the fopundation where iot will neither freeze to damage it, nor5 expand the soil to dange it.

I was unaware that it was a common practice as Glenn mentioned. I have nearly thirty five years in the trades and have yet to see this commonly practiced. Even where i live - on an island with no native gravel, we haul over grvel on the ferry to get the job done right.

Excellence is its own reward!


Glenn Good

08:17AM | 09/26/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
320 lifetime posts
Allow me to be more specific by correcting my earlier statement: “While this is the most common method used by contractors in many areas, it is not the best.”

I also have 34 years experience across several states in both residential and commercial construction and I have found this to be common practice in many of the areas I have worked in. While it was the most common method used it was not used by all. The better “quality” oriented contractors did not. Like I said it is not the best method by any means and is one I would never recommend.

Also, Piffin is absolutely correct about the northern states freeze thaw cycle being another major concern. Freezing water exerts a tremendous amount of force and clay tends to hold a lot of water. (Living in south for the past decade and a half has perhaps diluted my memory of the cold weather found in the north.)

Glenn

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

Piffin

09:22AM | 09/26/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1284 lifetime posts
I didn't mean it to sound like I was arguing an opposite point, only adding to what you had said.

Excellence is its own reward!


Glenn Good

10:25AM | 09/26/04
Member Since: 09/10/03
320 lifetime posts
The same goes here as well Piffin. I didn't take your staement that way.

You are correct. There are areas where substandard construction is not permitted. Unfortunately in my experience I have found more that are not as stringent.

I just wanted to clarify my statement.

The sad fact is while there are still some contractors that believe in doing quality work, many are ruled by the almighty dollar first and nothing else seems to matter. The day of the true craftsman, one that takes pride in the quality of his work, is fading into the past. I for one have always taken pride in my work, on every project I have ever worked on, and would not be ashamed to have my name associated with any of them. I have never tolerated substandard work from any of my subcontractors either. There are few I would call “true craftsmen” left and the number appears to be dwindling rapidly.

One of the biggest problems with the construction industry today is that few people are willing to pay for quality work. Just compare the pay scale for a construction worker against that of other trades. While construction is one of the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs, it pays far less. Production is valued over quality in today’s society and I for one think it is a real shame. When I look at work done by true craftsmen 100 years ago and compare it with work done today it makes me sick.

This is one of the reasons I have become a home inspector.

Architects and designers are just as much at fault for designing buildings and setting a nearly impossible schedule for the completion of the project. Next they set penalties compounded daily for late completion. If you want a quality product you must allow enough time to do the job without rushing and enough money to pay for the skill required.

Enough venting and I apologize going off on a tangent. I just think this needed to be said and I wish more people would stand up for this principal. Money is not everything. A Quality building built by true craftsmen will bring many more years of satisfaction and enjoyment than any amount of money saved during the initial construction.

I agree with your sign off “Excellence is its own reward.” And excellence also stands for quality.

Moderator: Construction Systems, Foundations, and Masonry & Stone

For more information about me and/or my qualifications please visit my website at:

www.consultationdirect.com

Piffin

10:41AM | 09/26/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1284 lifetime posts
No pun intenede butthat was a good editorial, Glenn

;)

I have alwauys done the best I canand there were plenty of times initially that I had to work extra hours to get things done right - without pay on bids.

Have paid my dues and gained now nearly 35 years of experience - much of it correcting the mistakes and omissions of others - and a good reputation for quality, I have removed myself from all bidding. I sell my services at my price, not the competitors price. Niner times out of ten, when a potential client contacts me, they already know I am not cheap and they are hiring me to provide a service or a product rather than a price.

ther only way to gret a professional image likethis is to always do professional quality work instead of leaving customers with the proverbial 'tail-light warrantee' - Gauranteed to last as long as you can see my tail lights

Excellence is its own reward!


homebild

04:41PM | 09/27/04
Member Since: 01/28/03
694 lifetime posts
To add to the discussion, clay is an inappropriate and disallowed fill under most building codes...

So it is not just an issue of what 'better' builders do or what you get when you 'pay for' it, but rather what is permitted and legal under your State's code....


Piffin

02:51PM | 09/28/04
Member Since: 11/06/02
1284 lifetime posts
Not that I'm an expert on codes, but I never knew they adressed soils before this. had always dealt with it from an engineering standpoint,

Excellence is its own reward!


Click_to_reply_button Inspiration_banner

INSPIRATION GALLERY



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply_choose_button

captcha
type the code from the image

Anonymous

Post_new_button or Login_button
Register

Follow_banner_a
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon
 
webapp1