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Old 03-23-2012, 07:46 PM   #16
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digging beside a "superior" wall


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
OK realoman, back up and try to understand where Superior Wall is coming from. Their wall system is perfectly standard, it is DIFFERENT than a typical cast-in-place concrete wall. It is a precast wall that comes in segments, and is typically supported on gravel, which is less expensive than casting a concrete footer for the wall. That is why Superior Wall is in business, they offer a cost competitive solution for rapidly installing a wall, so I don't know why you are so pissed off at them for building a wall the way they always build walls. And by the way, I don't own stock in Superior Wall.

As to why they won't engineer your installation, well that is their business. They supply walls that are not intended to have excavations immediately next to them. If it were a cast in place concrete wall, you would have similar issues, if the footer were on gravel and you wanted to excavate below the footer.

As to not needing an engineer to look at it, of course it is your right to excavate immediately adjacent to your foundation and "take your chances". I do not recommend this approach, as failure could lead to serious or fatal consequences, but I also appreciate that you probably think it is ridiculous to hire an engineer for what you obviously think should be a simple job. If you don't care to pay the money for an engineer, make sure your insurance will cover self inflicted damage to the house, and make absolutely certain you have an escape plan in the event the trench you are working in collapses on you, or the wall falls over on you. And try to understand that Superior Wall is not in business to design your project, they certainly do not want liability for failure any more than a DIY chat room wants to assume liability for your project, so of course they are not going to help you engineer the job.
I am not pissed off at them for building a wall the way they always build walls. I am pissed off because the walls they build are so susceptible to failure by doing such a simple thing as dig a hole beside them, and they offer no assistance in trying to mitigate that susceptibility. .. which is far greater than the likelihood of a cast in place or a block wall on a cast footer.

Why don't you try to understand it from where I'm coming from. I don't want them to engineer my project... I do think they should have some ideas about how to keep their engineering from failing during such a common practice as excavating beside it for something that could be as simple as a ditch for an electric service. Or in this case a 3 ' wide hole for a retaining wall. God forbid, anyone would want to add a whole room to his house.

I would not have similar issues with a cast in place concrete wall or a block wall. I have dug completely under similar footers before with no consequences. Why would you spend the extra money to put gravel in a footer excavation in undisturbed ground into which you were pouring a concrete footer?

It is my business what I do, and I intend to take my chances. If the thing is that flimsy that it falls apart by excavating a 3' hole next to it, well I just don't know... that's pretty pathetic.

You want to scare me into paying an engineer ( who will tell me what? ) with a bunch of talk about stuff collapsing on me... well, I don't think I need any "help" from you, because it doesn't seem to be very pertinent . I want to know how to keep the gravel under the Superior wall, or how much I can lose without the wall failing. You shoulda been a lawyer. Maybe if you were my lawyer, you'd say they should post some sort of nameplate on their walls and on theor website informing perspective buyers of the increased difficulty in adding onto the basement.

You can probably dig a hole beside your house. If your house was like this you'd understand. I'll figure it out.


Last edited by realolman; 03-23-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:02 PM   #17
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digging beside a "superior" wall


To add to this thread,the next time you are at a big box store take a good look at the building,I have erected many pre-cast buildings and they are my least faviroite because they rely on many features to make them work.
On a smaller building the sections weigh 10,000 lbs each some of the larger ones go as high as 40,000 lbs each I am here to testify that when things go bad they happen without warning and quickly.
I get your frustration but in order to accomplish this simple task please consult with someone,it may be as simple as driving a plate in the ground to hold things together until you finish your work.
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:19 PM   #18
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digging beside a "superior" wall


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......it may be as simple as driving a plate in the ground to hold things together until you finish your work.
So what's the big problem with saying that?

Seems to me that Superior walls would have experience with this problem and what is the big liability issue with offering the results of their experience and expertise?

I don't want them to "engineer" anything concerning my project. They don't even have to know what it is.

The question is: I have to dig a 3' hole beside your wall and below it. How do I keep the gravel from coming out from under your wall? Alternatively, how much can I safely lose from under it, if I replace it with concrete as soon as possible?
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Old 03-23-2012, 08:57 PM   #19
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digging beside a "superior" wall


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So what's the big problem with saying that?
Because if something happens all a lawyer has to say it they told you to do it,yes it is that simple.
Sad world we live in.
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Old 03-24-2012, 06:17 AM   #20
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digging beside a "superior" wall


I don't think that is true. I think it is an excuse.
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:08 AM   #21
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digging beside a "superior" wall


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I HAVE talked to someone from Superior walls. He did not have any specific advice, but more or less advised me that I would have to play it by ear to see if I could determine what needed to be done as I was doing the work.

Frankly I am a bit offended by the condescending tone of your post.
Mr. realoman, again Daniel Holzman is the one who is giving you the best advice.

Also, it is not my intention to speak to you in a condescending tone. Sorry, if my comments came across that way to you. As you know it is difficult to infer someone's tone from text alone. I am just presenting you with the facts as I know them with the hopes that you will make the best decision.

The Superior Walls representative who you spoke with was most likely an employee of a local licensee. They are an independant business who is licensed to manufacture, sell and install Superior Walls panels. The phone number I provided you was directly to the corporate office.

Best of luck on your project.
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:03 AM   #22
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digging beside a "superior" wall


I have a friend of mine who owns 1 store in a small one story strip mall. He saw me across the street at my shop and had me "come right over " to see his latest project. He is so proud of it, I saw it and got the hell out quick! he had a very small basement under the back of his store maybe 8'x18', he wanted a full basement. He hired a few Home Depot workers and had the pull all the sand out in about 6 20 yard dumpsters and isn't done yet!!!!!????????? The building is about 18' wide x70' long, looked like 2x10 on 16" centers for the rafters, 16' cement block firewalls between the stores sitting on like24" wide x 24" deep footers down the length of the building. I live on Long Island , NY all sand! Am I wrong to have told him he is nuts with nothing to stop the 6' of sand under the footers from imploding with the weight of the firewalls on nothing but sand?? He thinks it is fine with about 8-10 4" x4"s holding his rafters up, sitting on top of 4" x4" laying in the sand. Told him about underpinning, but he's thinking about screwing plywood to the 4x4s and just pouring a slab. I'm thinking I'm not going in his building anymore, What do you guys think? He said he is going to consult the other Home Depot guy that does his cement!

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