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Old 04-19-2014, 07:35 PM   #1
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Dealing with too-shallow foundations walls


Hello everyone. On the north side of our I think 1870s farmhouse, there is a roughly 24 x 26 one-and-a-half story unconditioned addition, seemingly a sort of woodshed-slash-garage or the like. The walls and the ceiling (between the first floor and attic-type area) have been insulated. There is a concrete floor which is extremely cracked and heaved.

We now want to renovate this area to become a small farmstead creamery area for milk processing. So we'll finish the walls, and add a new floor with floordrains. But first (at least I think its first!) is the issue with the foundation. On one of the exposed three sides, previous owners put in a 24 x 24 slab with appropriately deep frost/foundation walls, with the presumed intent of building a new garage on it (and we plan on carrying that out as well). However, for the other two walls, digging down it looks like the foundation is made of stacked fieldstone, going down only about 2 feet. In our area, it should be 42 to 48"! There's even one section with an 8" beam below ground level, well rotting. In other places the sill is ground level as well, but better condition. From the outside you can tell the addition obviously experienced some movement in the past, with some lean and bowing walls.

We're trying to figure out the best ways to deal with this situation, with limited funds. My thought was to treat it as a shallow foundation lacking its frost-protection insulation - that is, to add the layer on insulation down and out from the foundation, with flashing starting at the wall and wrapping over and down. And in the process replace the rotting sill. And add a french drain around the addition, as well as the back north wall of the house. (Our entire property is on a south-facing hill).

Can try to get pictures, but it will be a couple days... Thoughts in the meantime?

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Old 04-19-2014, 08:17 PM   #2
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Dealing with too-shallow foundations walls


Just my two cents. I would think twice about installing a french drain. Depending on how close to the walls and how deep, you run the risk of undermining your foundation.

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Old 04-19-2014, 09:10 PM   #3
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Dealing with too-shallow foundations walls


I know cost is always an important consideration..... but there is a reason that foundations go 48" in Saranac and 24" in San Diego.....

If you could somehow insulate around frost-heave reasonably/ economically., I sure haven't heard of it.

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Old 04-20-2014, 10:58 AM   #4
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Dealing with too-shallow foundations walls


Ayuh,.... I've seen limited success usin' extruded polystyrene sheets as a Frost Curtain around the foundation, to 'bout 2'/ 3' out,...

Say a foot below grade, out a couple/ few feet, 'n atleast 2" thick, 4" or 6" is even Better,...
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Old 04-20-2014, 06:19 PM   #5
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Dealing with too-shallow foundations walls


To clarify, are you skeptical of frost-protected shallow foundations in general, or in this kind of "retrofit" situation?
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Old 04-21-2014, 07:11 AM   #6
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Dealing with too-shallow foundations walls


Quote:
Originally Posted by milkdemcows View Post
To clarify, are you skeptical of frost-protected shallow foundations in general, or in this kind of "retrofit" situation?
Ayuh,... If the foundation ain't deep enough to avoid the frost, the frost curtain helps keep the frost from heavin' what you've got,...

The alternative is to replace the foundation at the proper depth,...

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