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Dr.JUSC 06-14-2011 11:05 AM

Considering buying a house that needs regrading HELP
Hey eveyone:
Im new here and need some advise. I am in escrow on a house and found out some new disclosures about the house. The whole thing need to be regraded because:

1. the slope going towards the house

2. water is getting under the house and is causing a musty smell.

3. I can see white on parts of the uphill foundation due to water seepage.

4. One room in the house is sloped due to this problem.

The house is a great deal and I knew all of this stuff a few weeks ago. The house is 33 years old and has been neglected for many years. Here is where I am at:

1. I had a geologist do an inspection and he stated the house is safe and not sliding down the hill. No problems with safety. Thanks God!

2. all water drains empty near the foundation and need to be redirected.

3. The grading sucks and need to be changed.

I got all this, but had a contractor come look at it. He said I would need to reseal the foundation around the whole house and it would cost $100,000 to do the job!!! I don't have this money and am wondering if this job is needed at all? Can I just regrade the house and channel the water down the hill away from the house? Seems easy to me and we would not have to seal the whole foundation. I would love your input on this.

Thanks :thumbup:

SPS-1 06-14-2011 05:52 PM

One more thing to check---- some communities have bylaws prohibiting redirecting to flow of water. Check with the city.

sippinjoes 06-15-2011 08:56 AM

Make sure you have a good vapor barrier in your crawl space and it goes up the walls (leaving 3"-4" gap for termite inspection at the sill plate).

I have a sloping backyard and I built a french drain along the entire backyard (it worked as I no longer have water leaking in my garage when it rains). I also built a retaining wall on one side to move a BUNCH of dirt leveling out more than a 4,000 square foot area (I have two small kids with energy).

sippinjoes 06-15-2011 08:58 AM

Here is the result or near result...I am completing more of the project next week.

Dr.JUSC 06-15-2011 09:54 AM

Nice work. What and where should I put the vapor barrier?

sippinjoes 06-15-2011 10:06 AM

Lay out the poly under the house. Local hardware store will have rolls of it. Overlap it real good. Also consider CleanSpace. More expensive, but it is good stuff and it will keep the moisture in the ground.

Dr.JUSC 06-15-2011 10:11 AM

Thanks for the advise. Your yard looks great BTW! Do I need to dig-up the foundation and re-seal it or just re-direct the water and put the vapor barrier up?

sippinjoes 06-15-2011 11:17 AM

Thanks, the yard has been a big project (grading, french drain, retaining wall, electricity and water to storage building, dry creek bed). My family is ready for it to be done, as am I.

Unless you have a basement, I wouldn't reseal the outside. If installed properly, the vapor barrier on the inside should suffice. I installed new vapor barrier at a house and I just took up the old barrier and laid the new out making sure I ran it up the wall and glued/taped to the cinder blocks real good. Also, overlap the seams by at least a foot and tape. Try not to disturb the dirt too much, it may send mold spores into the air and that is not good for breathing or your house. If you don't have any insulation in the house and even if you do i guess, look for white residue on the lumber. That will be your mold. Make up a bleach solution, spray on the mold and wipe off.

I think you mentioned a room is sagging, I would be concerned about that. But I would get a foundation jack and hand dig a hole below a solid joist, poor a footing, and set the jack on it and over a long period of time, slowly raise it back up. It will likely take several jacks depending on the sag. If an outside wall is sagging, it may take a foundation expert to correct that. It can be done on your own, but the way you have to dig out, lift, and reinforce the foundation is risky. May end up dropping the room for a bigger mess.

They are coming out to do the grading next week at my house and they will be making a slight berm to push the water around my house. So will have the berm, retaining wall, and french drain. Water doesn't stand a chance of coming near my house. I do have one flowerbed that doesn't slope away from the house that much, but it can now manage the water the falls there without the other coming down the hill. Also, I am the lowest corner lot, so I have about 20 acres of lots/lawns shedding water toward my back yard.

Dr.JUSC 06-15-2011 11:55 PM

Thanks for the reply. If I don't seal from the outside, will that weaken the foundation? Or, do I just re-direct the down spouts, re-grade and use the vapor barrier?

jamiedolan 06-16-2011 10:58 AM


Originally Posted by Dr.JUSC (Post 668100)
Thanks for the reply. If I don't seal from the outside, will that weaken the foundation? Or, do I just re-direct the down spouts, re-grade and use the vapor barrier?

Post photos if you can.

Regrading often solves many problems with water leaking into houses. Warning, it can take a lot of dirt to regrade. It's fairly easy to use of a 19 yard truck on a decent size house that needs to be brought up several inches.

I'd guess that you don't need to dig it up and seal, but without seeing anything that is very hard to say.

I would personally regrade it and redirect the water before I did anything else.

Truck of 19 yards of soil delivered: around $200
Rent a BobCat for a day $250

Putting the dirt in place with the bobcat: Lots of fun!

You will still need to rake out areas by hand, the type of bobcat you rent doesn't do that well at grading out dirt, just moving it around. At least that was how it was with the bobcat I used.

So for under $500 you can see if the back fill solves the problem. If you find out you have to seal later, the extra soil won't make that much difference anyway, as your going to need a backhoe to dig out around the house.

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