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Old 05-07-2016, 02:07 PM   #1
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Regrading Situation Advice


First post for me on this site, which I found while looking for a solution to my problem so I'm hoping someone might have some good advice.

We bought this house in 2013 and we knew at the time that one entire side of the house and part of the front was going to require regrading at one point because the back fill was piled up over the siding. Last summer I did the front section which is a flower bed, and we found that the dirt was about six inches over, and we could see it was the same around the side. My wife and I had some free time earlier this week, so we started into the side for our spring project. We went down the six inches of over fill and down another four. You can actually see in the picture I've included that whoever built the house put the siding on first, then the back fill, and then added the skinnier wood striations (not sure what else to call them) because the striations follow the original dirt line. I know the recommended distance should be about six to eight inches under the siding, but that's where my problem comes in.

From eyeballing it, it looks like if I go straight away from the house (West) with a slope of 2-3 inches every ten feet, that the eventual ending point would make the soil lower then the curb of the road. I'm not sure what the regulations are about that but I would assume that funneling water into the base of a poured cement curb wouldn't be good over time.

The only solution I could think of is that I should probably follow the natural slope of the street and grade the property so that the water flows South. Technically, that would still be sloping away from the house I suppose?

Any suggestions or insight about this?
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:09 PM   #2
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Looks like I can't post pictures yet without at least one post. Isn't that what my first post was?*L*

Last edited by MtnHigh; 05-07-2016 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


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Old 05-07-2016, 02:17 PM   #4
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Maybe this will work.....
http://imgur.com/YhfBkZk
http://imgur.com/sZCwWgL
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:24 PM   #5
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Eyeballing grade is almost impossible to get right. I suggest you purchase an inexpensive level (I got one from a big box store for $50 that has worked great for many years), or rent a level, to verify the difference in elevation between your foundation soil and the curb. Then you can figure out a good plan.
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Old 05-07-2016, 02:59 PM   #6
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Agree with Daniel --- you can't just eyeball the grade. I have mapped out the grade on a yard using two wooden stakes, nylon chord and a string level (about $5). Put down two stakes, maybe 15-20 feet apart. Run the string across, put the level IN THE CENTER of the span, and adjust the height of one end of the string until it shows as level. Now you can measure (at the stakes) difference in height to the string tie-off. Make a sketch of the property (photocopy the survey if you have one) and mark down grade height, making as many measurements as neccessary. Possibly make the bottom of the siding your start datum (but use end of the wall only as the datum - don't assume bottom of siding is level across the wall).

And of course, don't make a plan where you are draining your rain-water onto your neighbor's property.
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Old 05-07-2016, 03:47 PM   #7
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Thanks for the advice guys! I'll probably look at renting a level....I just took a quick look at Lowe's and they seem to sell for around the $230-$400 mark which I'm not going to drop for a one time use. Daniel, what was the brand of the $50 level that you bought?
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Old 05-07-2016, 04:25 PM   #8
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


I purchased a combination laser level and rotating laser one day at Home Depot as I recall. This was some sort of cheap Chinese knockoff, on sale at half price ($50), came with a tripod and actually had batteries in the set. It doesn't even have a name on the unit, frankly I didn't think it was going to work, but amazingly it has worked for ten years now. Sometimes you go into a big box store and they have a bin of half price stuff, guess I just got lucky.
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Old 05-07-2016, 05:32 PM   #9
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Could even use a simple water level.
Clear plastic tubing with water in it. I add a little red food coloring so I can see it better.
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Old 05-07-2016, 06:26 PM   #10
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


I agree with joe on the water level, least expensive and very useful. Make or buy some grade stakes and mark them with a reference height. Then you can run strings from any point to any point and measure down to judge the grade.

Your possible solution is fine, just make the slope nearest the house the greatest. The rest can be minimal.

Also, all soils behave differently and if yours are frost susceptible they can rise 6" during the winter. Thus the greater slope neatest the house.

Question, that looks like cement siding with the foundation behind it. Do you need to have the siding going down that far?

Bud
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:49 PM   #11
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Hey Bud,

I'm not sure what cement siding is like, but it does feel synthetic and non wood like. The house is built on a solid concrete slab, so no basement or crawl space of any kind. I'm not at all sure about how high up the slab goes or how much coverage the existing siding has over the foundation either. Here's another picture of the corner that shows more of the front that I did last summer. Don't know if you can tell more from this pic or not?
http://imgur.com/6l8Jzlx
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:09 PM   #12
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


I've always called the vertical strips of wood "battens" as in "board and batten siding". Your siding is full panels but they have used the battens on the seams and added some inbetween for aesthetics. It looks like cement board, different brand name, but it can be used below grade. BUT, in your application I would want some exposed slab edge to keep the termites and other bugs away.

You can probe in that corner to see where the slab stops and the wood begins. There should be a substantial thickness to that slab, I would want at least 12", but don't know what code requires.

I'm wondering if the builder was trying to protect the edge of the slab from the cold. The slab foundations I have looked at with an infrared camera here in Maine look terrible. Huge amount of heat loss. There are things you can do, but none of them are easy or inexpensive, like burying rigid foam just below the surface angled up to the edge of the slab. Big project.

Bud
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:28 PM   #13
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


By chance, is this the foam you're talking about? This is what the opposite side of the house looks like.
http://imgur.com/c3WZYPO
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Old 05-07-2016, 08:42 PM   #14
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Re: Regrading Situation Advice


Yes, that looks like a vertical layer of rigid foam and that is good.

A slab foundation in cold country is generally well built extending a couple of feet below grade and with the rigid foam you pictured. I would do some investigating on that exposed side to see how far down the slab edge goes. Don't dig a huge hole as you don't want to disturb the soil under the slab too much.

I was describing the foam being installed at an angle as in a FPSF. (Frost Protected Shallow Foundation). Google that phrase and add pictures to the request and you will get many images of rigid foam being used.

Bud
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