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Old 01-25-2011, 03:51 PM   #1
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Hey all,

I am gonna try to explain this the best I can. House built in 1932. I live in the mountains so grading is a constant issue for alot of people. Single story 1000 sq ft house. I will describe this as if looking at the fron tof the house. the entire property is on a slope from back to front and the slope contuniues to go up forever. The back of the house sits at grade. Front sits about six foot above grade. Block wall basement, dirt floor.

Simultaneously the left side of my house sits on grade there is about 10ft out from there that is close to level and then it goes up and i mean probably 12 ft in 20 ft.

So i have this sort of combination slope to deal with, which in a sense is good because both on the side and the back I have one slope working with me, if that makes sense?

My big issue is what to do?? The basement is damp, I have some rotting sill plates that will get replaced later. Also the house never had gutters so that is obviously getting done asap.

SO any ideas on diverting the ground water?? ive thought about french drains but doesn't seem like the right fix. I was alos considering digging down say about 7 ft off the house to create a swale of sorts?? maybe line it and fill with gravel? I can not put any more dirt next to the house. it is on grade. so maybe build it up out from the house a little and grade down to the swale?

Any thought ideas criticisms etc will be appreciated.

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Old 01-25-2011, 04:19 PM   #2
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


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I was alos considering digging down say about 7 ft off the house to create a swale of sorts?? maybe line it and fill with gravel?
Ayuh,... I like this idea Best, only skip the gravel, 'n seed it for grass....

It ain't gotta be Steep, or Deep, as long as it's pitched....

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Old 01-25-2011, 04:26 PM   #3
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


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Ayuh,... I like this idea Best, only skip the gravel, 'n seed it for grass....

It ain't gotta be Steep, or Deep, as long as it's pitched....

But still line it?? or just leave the soil and seed? How deep do you think the swale needs to be below the grade. I havent checked but I venture to guess even 7 ft out I am about 6-8 inches up? Does that whole 7ft area need to come down from the house or can i pick an are to build up say a foot or two off the house and grade that down to the swale?

Many thanks
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:46 PM   #4
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


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But still line it?? or just leave the soil and seed? How deep do you think the swale needs to be below the grade. I havent checked but I venture to guess even 7 ft out I am about 6-8 inches up? Does that whole 7ft area need to come down from the house or can i pick an are to build up say a foot or two off the house and grade that down to the swale?

Many thanks
I can't see it, much less throw a level on it,...
All I can tell ya is,....
Water,... Flows Downhill.....

Ya need the water to flow Away from the house,...
Anyway you can get that done, as long as it flows Away...

A swale, even with grass growin' in it, is still downhill...
That way, it's a Zer0 maintenance issue....
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:34 PM   #5
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


The area across the back of the property is a gravel driveway. We dont drive on it at all really. Aren't there going to be issues with this just sort of becoming a big mess and causing alot of run off? I want to minimize any loss of soil etc obviously. I appreciate the help.
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Old 03-15-2011, 01:35 PM   #6
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Pics would be nice.

Free version:
At the bottom of the slope dig a ditch and make sure it runs away from the house and down hill. One shovel width would be good.

Cheap version:
At the bottom of the slope dig a ditch and make sure it runs away from the house and down hill. Two shovel width two shovel depth. Drop in fabric, then corrigated pipe with seeping holes, then fill with gravel.

Expensive Version:
Cheap version behind a retaining wall digging into the slope giving your self more yard.
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Old 03-15-2011, 02:45 PM   #7
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Jordan, you are the first one to suggest using gravel....i sort of had that thought but several other people have told me not to. Have you done it before?



Also my other issue is that even the 7 or so foot area between my house and proposed drainage is negative sloped and the house is on grade at that point so i cant fill that side. Any ideas on a way to deal with this besides regrading the whole are and removing a lot of dirt?

Thanks all
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:46 PM   #8
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Something to laugh about , or maybe just something to consider. You mentioned your sill plates are shot,and maybe now is a good time to take an umbrella shaft and stick all your sill plates . What I'm getting at is the possibllity of jacking up your house, that is if the structure will allow it. If you jack the house up 8 inches, it may be enough to get that reverse flow you need for the water problem, and to replace rotten wood. Just use an overkill on the ammount of jacks. Just another opinion.....
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:50 PM   #9
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


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Something to laugh about , or maybe just something to consider. You mentioned your sill plates are shot,and maybe now is a good time to take an umbrella shaft and stick all your sill plates . What I'm getting at is the possibllity of jacking up your house, that is if the structure will allow it. If you jack the house up 8 inches, it may be enough to get that reverse flow you need for the water problem, and to replace rotten wood. Just use an overkill on the ammount of jacks. Just another opinion.....
Thanks for the opinion but there is no part of me at all that wants to jack up my house 8 inches. I will have to replace the sill in a spot or 2 which will require jacking but not 8 inches.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:04 AM   #10
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Here are some pics to hopefully help. The first one is taken from the back looking towards the back and the side. the major slope is from the side....the back does slope but much at much less of a grade.

IF a swale is what I do I could basically run a crescent shaped to L shaped swale around the back and the one side having it drain off in both directions since the back corner is the high spot. Hope the pics help Thanks all
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


look up an exterior weeping system for something close to the house though I would combine that with the previously mentioned drainage ditch, so the majority of the run off is deverted before it reaches the house.

Gravel and corrigated pipe is how you make a drainage ditch the correct way.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:13 AM   #12
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Didn't notice the pictures. That's a smaller slope than I pictured in my head.

I'd do a retaining wall, so that the top of that small hill is about 6-10 feet from your top row of stone.

This will provide drainage and give you more side yard.
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Old 03-16-2011, 10:16 AM   #13
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Or, dig about 18-24 inches down about 3-4 feet wide starting at house.

Fabric all exposed dirt, slope the ditch to front yard (here is where the weeping system comes in) and fill the ditch with gravel, then top 6" with a decrotive rock for a nice landscaped look.
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:22 PM   #14
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


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Didn't notice the pictures. That's a smaller slope than I pictured in my head.

I'd do a retaining wall, so that the top of that small hill is about 6-10 feet from your top row of stone.

This will provide drainage and give you more side yard.

i am not totally understanding the retaining wall concept. Why would that cause drainage? plus thats immense cost to run a 9 ft high retaining wall about 65 ft and remove a huge chestnut tree.

That hill continues up beyond the tree line for a good bit and there is a small road there that drains off to the side.

I also dont really like the idea of weep systems, its allowing water in still. Granted its where you want it but its still inside.

I had really thought the ditch should be lined and filled with gravel as well but several others disagreed with that approach so I am lookng for more info on it.

many thanks
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Old 03-16-2011, 12:53 PM   #15
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dealing with exterior slope towards house.


Go with a wall. You can solve this without a wall but you will hate the resulting slope for as long as you live there. You should design for a maximum 25% slope from the property line, a 4ft wide strip adjoining the upside of the wall with a minimum 5% slope toward the lot front, and a 4 ft strip adjoining the downside of the wall with a 2% slope toward the lot front.

Possible wall types will be dictated by your climate and location, which you haven't stated.

To design for minimum cost and best benefit, begin by mapping your entire property. You will want to balance the amount of cut with another corresponding fill location on your lot.

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