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Old 08-05-2011, 03:42 PM   #1
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


Hey guys, I've finally decided to tackle an issue that I knew I'd have to deal with. I've been getting seepage into my attached garage due to the ground outside being about 6" above the top of the cement foundation. The moisture is seeping in from between the top of the foundation and the wood that sits on it.
The bottom layer of vinyl siding is also below the the ground.
I've already dug a 6" wide trench exposing the entire bottom vinyl layer and about 3" of the foundation (the bottom vinyl covers about the top 3" of the foundation so really the trench is 6" below the top of the concrete, if that makes any sense). Is this deep enough?

I plan on sloping it slightly to the rear of the garage and filling with some sort of gravel all the way up to normal ground level which means back up over the vinyl, is this okay? Or how else should I do this? The soil is very loose and sandy so I really can't just leave it below grade or it will slowly fill back in on top of the gravel.
Any particular type of rocks/gravel that would work best here? I was thinking of using larger rocks (like golf ball size) or would finer gravel be better?

Appreciate any info on this. Oh, just so there's no confusion in case someone remembers, I did have another post awhile ago with a similar issue on my detached garage but that was dealing with pavement letting water in, totally different issue here.

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Old 08-05-2011, 03:55 PM   #2
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


Think I just answered one of my own questions, looks like the USGA recommends smaller gravel for drainage.
I just found some random web page that gave this info, not sure if it had a particular use in mind or not but it sounds about right.
"At least 65% should be from 1/4-3/8" in size", so guess that's the size I'll be looking for.
Still would like to know if I'm going about this the right way?


Last edited by DoctorWho; 08-05-2011 at 03:58 PM.
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Old 08-05-2011, 05:45 PM   #3
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


Not to put too fine a point on it but...no...you are not going about it in the right way, In My Opinion.

Even if the grade material is gravel I would recommend against having anything against the siding and grading down to at least 6" below the conc. height.

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Old 08-05-2011, 08:11 PM   #4
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


Yes, you have to get the grade, no matter the material, at least 4" below the top of the concrete. Many reasons, code being one of them, termites another....
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:25 PM   #5
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


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Yes, you have to get the grade, no matter the material, at least 4" below the top of the concrete. Many reasons, code being one of them, termites another....
Thanks guys, I really didn't know if the grade had to be below the bottom of the vinyl or not if I just used gravel, now I know!
In that case I'm just going to have to do a lot more digging! At least it's fairly loose soil, looks like it was back-fill from some place, has chunks of glass and crap in it. My main worry with that is that the yard already slopes downward toward the garage and lowering it is going to make it an even steeper angle, gonna have to remove a lot of dirt and try to reduce the slope if I can. I swear this house needs never-ending work!
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:56 PM   #6
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


Rent a skid steer!
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:06 AM   #7
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If the grade will slope toward the house after removing the soil, you will have issues when it rains. I'm quite sure that's why the grade was brought up onto the siding in the first place. Nobody goes to that trouble, whether right or wrong, without a reason. You really should try to have an inch per foot of slope away from the house, for at least 8 feet, then it can flatten out.
Surely, any slope away is better than none. Sloping toward the house is not going to be good.
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Old 08-07-2011, 04:02 AM   #8
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If the grade will slope toward the house after removing the soil, you will have issues when it rains. I'm quite sure that's why the grade was brought up onto the siding in the first place. Nobody goes to that trouble, whether right or wrong, without a reason. You really should try to have an inch per foot of slope away from the house, for at least 8 feet, then it can flatten out.
Surely, any slope away is better than none. Sloping toward the house is not going to be good.

Thing is that there's already a slope to begin with! The yard sort of "humps" up about a foot in the air a few feet away from the wall and then slopes down, I'm going to dig the hump out of there and make it a less steep angle down into the bottom of the trench. I'm thinking I may even dig it deeper and put in some sort of small diameter french drain system, I can have the pipe draining out of both the front and rear ends of the garage as they both slope away.
Normally I'd agree with you about there being a reason they did it this way but, going by the "handywork" the previous owner has displayed so far I really don't think he knew what he was doing half the time. Just had to rewire the whole garage myself, now I'm working on the exterior before winter, possibly the roof too! All of which I'm pretty sure he did himself, poorly.
(just to give you an idea, we had a plumber come in to clear some of the "clutter" of pipes out of the basement, he estimated he pulled out 45 ft of redundant piping that was serving no purpose whatsoever!) Plumbing finally works fine with no noise!
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:01 AM   #9
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


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Originally Posted by DoctorWho View Post
Thing is that there's already a slope to begin with! The yard sort of "humps" up about a foot in the air a few feet away from the wall and then slopes down, I'm going to dig the hump out of there and make it a less steep angle down into the bottom of the trench. I'm thinking I may even dig it deeper and put in some sort of small diameter french drain system, I can have the pipe draining out of both the front and rear ends of the garage as they both slope away.
Normally I'd agree with you about there being a reason they did it this way but, going by the "handywork" the previous owner has displayed so far I really don't think he knew what he was doing half the time. Just had to rewire the whole garage myself, now I'm working on the exterior before winter, possibly the roof too! All of which I'm pretty sure he did himself, poorly.
(just to give you an idea, we had a plumber come in to clear some of the "clutter" of pipes out of the basement, he estimated he pulled out 45 ft of redundant piping that was serving no purpose whatsoever!) Plumbing finally works fine with no noise!
Oh man!

When you get on the roof, look for the brackets that used to hold up the "WHACKY WORLD" SIGN.

Sounds like you should be able to rectify the grade issue anyway. By code, we have to maintain 8" from grade to top of foundation wall. Good luck getting things done before cold weather.
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Old 08-07-2011, 07:53 AM   #10
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Soil level is above vinyl siding/foundation


I had a problem similar to yours. I just poured a concrete barrier which made the trough permanent, keeping the gravel and soil well away from the siding. You'll never have to worry about it again.
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