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Old 06-15-2011, 11:34 AM   #1
Jae
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Concrete Footer/Foundation Question


I have a six month old house. The builder covered the area in the pictures with mulch. One day I raked up the mulch and found sinkholes under the driveway at one end and under the sidewalk that contains this triangular area in front of my home.

So I called builder and asked them to come fill the holes and put some type of drainage system in to stop the two downspouts from just dumping water into this area being that is has no where to go but up against my foundation.

The builder fixed/filled the holes but refused to put in any type of french drain that would run under the sidewalk etc. They basically said I had an approved drainage plan and it was my problem to deal with.

So I started digging to see what damage had been done from the water. I also planned to seal the wall, which they had not done and put a drainaing system in. The builder said they don't seal the concrete on garage walls, only basement walls.

The mystery for me is what is this wall cut-out in the picture?

The picture of the hole in the wall is where the four foot footer meets the eight foot footer. The hole runs in under my garage which my builder says is constructed like a parking garage where a couple of concrete beams support the garage floor and there's just dirt underneath.

Is this normal to have this sort of cut-out in your foundation wall?

What purpose does it serve?

I'm a complete dummy about construction, so help me out with some advice.

Thanks
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:38 PM   #2
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Concrete Footer/Foundation Question


I assume the house was built for you, although you don't say that, it could be a spec house. The builder is under obligation to build only what is on the approved plans. If the plans call for a foundation drain, the builder is obligated to provide a foundation drain. Hopefully you have a copy of the approved plans (by approved I mean the plans that were approved by the building inspector). You can then compare what was built against what was approved.

Of course, if the house was not built for you, things get more complicated. If you do not know how to read the plans, you may want to hire an inspector, architect or engineer to look them over and give you a detailed report about differences between the as built and the planned construction. As to what that hole in the foundation is, I have no idea, I would review the plans and see if that is the way it was designed.

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Old 06-15-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
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Concrete Footer/Foundation Question


It's not a spec house, although many of them were I live are. And I don't have the plans and probably couldn't read them anyway as you noted.

I've had problems with a lot of construction defects with the house and I'm just trying to figure out if this is another major screw up before I seal, backfill the area and put some drain pipes under the sidewalk.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:46 PM   #4
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Concrete Footer/Foundation Question


You would benefit from obtaining a copy of the plans, go down to your local Building Dept., you should be able to at least view them. Depending on how the Building Dept. interprets your state or local law will determine if they will make a copy of the plans for you. If they will not make a copy, as the design is sealed and signed by a design professional (architect or engineer) and therefore the design is owned by the designer and the work is protected, then see if they will let you take photos of the plan and/ or copy down the name and contact information of the designer and contact them. In your photo it appears that there is a wall above the no footing portion and therefore some load being transferred down to nothing. The typical way of doing this is to pour a continuous footing and foundation. Grade beams, if that is what this is similar to, are typically under the load to distribute the load. I am unclear as to what you have but know enough to encourage you to look further into it. good luck.
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Old 06-15-2011, 08:57 PM   #5
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Concrete Footer/Foundation Question


From the pictures, you have absolutely nothing to be concerned about. The "hole" you see is merely a concrete lintel or beam, as long as it has steel re-enforcement. Think of it as a 4" high by 8" wide concrete beam. It's not going anywhere, especially if it has a little steel. It's a common element in at least 99% of poured foundations that I've seen. If it were a block basement, it would have a precast concrete lintel there likely.

As for the damproofing, there is nothing to gain by damproofing a garage or porch foundation unless it has living space on the interior. Frost walls such as these have balanced fill, and any water leakage to the interior is a non-issue, especially since there is no easy way to water proof the jump in the footing you exposed.


Sorry to say, and please don't take this the wrong way, but you're currently in the process of wasting a lot of time, effort and money with your current project.............
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
From the pictures, you have absolutely nothing to be concerned about. The "hole" you see is merely a concrete lintel or beam, as long as it has steel re-enforcement. Think of it as a 4" high by 8" wide concrete beam. It's not going anywhere, especially if it has a little steel. It's a common element in at least 99% of poured foundations that I've seen. If it were a block basement, it would have a precast concrete lintel there likely.

As for the damproofing, there is nothing to gain by damproofing a garage or porch foundation unless it has living space on the interior. Frost walls such as these have balanced fill, and any water leakage to the interior is a non-issue, especially since there is no easy way to water proof the jump in the footing you exposed.


Sorry to say, and please don't take this the wrong way, but you're currently in the process of wasting a lot of time, effort and money with your current project.............
No offense taken. That "jump" is pretty freaky though considering there is no support/footer underneath that area. This foundation was poured, it's not pre-cast.

I don't care about the time or money issue. The area definitely needs some drain pipes put in and I plan on putting a small Koi pond in as well, so I figure sealing it can't hurt.

The labor is mine and so far I've spent $37 on five gallons of foundation sealer at Lowes.

Anyone have any advice in regards to the Koi pond or potential problems it may cause?

Thanks for the advice so far.

Last edited by Jae; 06-15-2011 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 06-15-2011, 10:39 PM   #7
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No offense taken. That "jump" is pretty freaky though considering there is no support/footer underneath that area. This foundation was poured, it's not pre-cast.

That jump is merely a result of the overdig of the foundation. When the basement is excavated, there is a "gap" between the garage and foundation. It has to be spanned in some manner, regardless of the style of construction. From your picture it's obvious that they used a 2x8 to close off the bottom of the forms so it didn't leak out before the concrete set. Nothing abnormal about it at all. Again, it's a 4' tall concrete beam in reality.

I don't care about the time or money issue. The area definitely needs some drain pipes put in and I plan on putting a small Koi pond in as well, so I figure sealing it can't hurt.

The labor is mine and so far I've spent $37 on five gallons of foundation sealer at Lowes.

Did you dig it all out by hand?
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Old 06-16-2011, 06:15 AM   #8
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Concrete Footer/Foundation Question


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Did you dig it all out by hand?
Yes... I dug it out.

I still need some advice on the Koi pond idea.

I was planning on backfilling with sand and 3/4" gravel, then using paver blocks to build the foundation and sides of the pond.

And then run PVC drain pipes out under the sidewalk. Once I get under the sidewalk the lot slopes naturally.

But as stated, all the rain water currently dumped into that area, stays in that area.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:18 AM   #9
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I apologize in advance for getting on my engineer's soap box again, but I feel compelled to say something.

Too many folks aren't aware of the steps they need to take when receiving title to a new home, be it an entire development or a spec home.

There is a report, called a transition study, that engineers are hired to put together prior to final release of the developer from their responsibility to construct what was on the plans. We come out, perform a series of inspections, and report back what hasn't been complete or what wasn't performed properly. Similar thing happens with commercial work, with road work, public works projects, etc.

There's also the warranty inspection report. Usually the developer provides a limited time frame warranty. It behooves the owner to get an engineer to inspect the property a month or two prior to expiration of the warranty, to give the owner time to file a legit claim, backed up by a report from a licensed engineer.
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Old 06-16-2011, 10:43 AM   #10
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Concrete Footer/Foundation Question


if you have a full basement i would have a water proofing company or inspections department look at that while it;s open. garage may not need waterproof but basement does same where porch ties to house

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