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jdelprete 09-09-2011 12:09 PM

Sonotube or blocks for shed base
Hey guys I live in Massachusetts and have a 10x12 now that sits on blocks. It's pretty level actually and sits out back in a yard that abuts wetlands. I plan on extending the shed lengthwise to 10x24 and was thinking whether I should use blocks again or sonotubes.

My main concern here is that I have dug 3 36" deep holes thus far for sonotubes and where the water table is so high I have maybe 24" from top of water to soil.

So, does it make sense to even try to pour a concrete sonotube or will this heave anyway because the water table is so high? Should I just use blocks?

Daniel Holzman 09-09-2011 03:34 PM

Sonotubes do not heave because of groundwater, they heave because of frost. Whether or not you get heave is a function of soil type, winter temperature, and soil moisture. Basically silty soil is prone to heave, whereas coarse sand and gravel does not heave, and neither does clay. Unfortunately most people can't tell the difference between clay and silt, so folks often mistake one for the other, and therefore the urban myth that clay is prone to frost heave has developed.

It is also relatively simple to place concrete even in standing water, the technique has been discussed repeatedly on this forum, do a search and you will find numerous threads on that topic.

So you can go either way, block or concrete in a sonotube. Course you need a permit, and being so close to a wetland you are going to check first, build later. But once you have your approvals, either technique will work. If the shed is going to house valuable stuff like a wood shop, I would carry the sonotubes down below frost level, which is about four feet in MA. If you are not putting valuable stuff in the shed, two feet should be fine, and if it settles or heaves a little, no worries.

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