03:00PM | 08/24/01
Member Since: 08/23/01
3 lifetime posts
I purchased a home in earthquake country and I am in the process of an earthquake retrofit. I have installed the proper brackets in the places I can crawl to, but there are places where the distance between the bottom of the joists and the dirt is less than 10 inches.
One additional problem is that while under the house I discovered subterranean termite activity. In order to treat the crawl space there needs to be access also.
So my question is what is the least invasive method of removing dirt out of a crawl space. Currently my access is through trap doors in bedroom closets and then crawling through small holes in stem walls. These accesses will not work for the amount of dirt I need to remove.
I have considered two methods. One method is to cut openings from the outside through the foundation. I would have to cut two openings because a stem wall separates the two areas I need to excavate. This method seems invasive as I need to jack hammer my foundation in two place and then repair them.
Another method is to cut holes through the floor (one would be in my living room hard wood floor) and then repair the holes after the excavation.
If anyone has any experience with this sort of problem I would appreciate your insight.
Thank you.

Jay J

05:04PM | 08/25/01
Member Since: 10/26/00
782 lifetime posts
Hi tgardner,

I don't BUT I think the best method is via cutting through the foundation on the outside.

I suggest you hire an excavation contractor, specifically. This is the type of work they do. You live in a part of the country where certain 'cares' need to be taken that don't apply in, say ..., the Northeast. Your concern should be with the wall possibly collapsing or not reinforcing the wall properly for earthquake activity AFTER you've finished excavation. PLUS, how do you know that what you want to do won't end up causing the foundation to collapse inward (either on a good day or on a BAD day, like during an earthquake)? To me, this is TOO much of a risk. Besides, it's possible your Insurance Company won't cover the damage if it wasn't done to code.

You can pay the Pro to do the cutting and reinforcing. You can pay the Pro to address any potential of the foundation collapsing. And you can pay the Pro to 'finish' the job so you're covered. YOU can dig out the dirt (assuming you've covered the 2 important bases of protecting your foundation and your 'header'.) See what I mean. Besides, from here, it's hard to envision ALL that's going on.

That's the best advice I can give you. My best to ya and hope this helps.

Jay J -Moderator

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