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Discussion Starter #1
Hi. I bought a prefab tiny cabin that I am putting on a gravel foundation so I hired someone to level the property and put down the gravel. Instead of leveling the ground with dirt they did it with gravel and it is extremely thick and high off the ground. My guess is about a foot or more off the ground rather than just the 4 inches needed. To me this looks awful and I was wondering if anyone knows if this is a sufficient way to level the ground.
 

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Is the gravel "contained at all by a dirt bank?
Loose material has an "angle of repose" which means, over time, it will find an angle which is stable at. If the gravel is not contained, it will find this angle. Ideally, it will not cause issues as it moves.
Also, what about compaction? Are there enough "fines" or sand to allow for the gravel to be compacted properly?
 

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contain the gravel with 4x4 landscape timbers. 8 footers go on sale at lowes and home depot in spring for literally like $1.50 each because they are refuse wood not suitable for studs/dimensional lumber. They are barely pressure treated but say they are safe for ground contact, might need replacing of the lower one maybe 5 years or 20 if you're lucky maybe longer. the specs on the site say the pressure treated amount which is like 15X less than that of a ~$10 pt 4x4 fence/deck post which would last longer. Can copper coat them for $12 a gallon wood preserver also would help. Or use cinderblock retaining wall and skim coat the cinderblocks with mortar/stucco to make it look nicer. If do the wood retaining wall, can drill every 2' or so though them and bang in rebar into the ground to keep the wall in place and nail each timber to the one under it with long spike nails they sell for that. If put the rebar, angle the top of it towards the cabin so that any pressure outwards from the gravel will not push the timbers out as easily as if the rebar were plumb (or angled away from the cabin).

too late now but you could have also just put the cabin on cinderblocks and no gravel, tamped the earth first and level them and then if it ever does sink a bit unevenly, shim where the cabin rests on the cinderblock. You can put cinderblocks over the gravel but with a mound of gravel, it's probably going to wash outwards a bit, taking the cinderblocks outward with it. On just cinderblocks it would also allow air under the cabin to help prevent rot.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Crusher run was used and I was told that this would be sufficient.




Is the gravel "contained at all by a dirt bank?
Loose material has an "angle of repose" which means, over time, it will find an angle which is stable at. If the gravel is not contained, it will find this angle. Ideally, it will not cause issues as it moves.
Also, what about compaction? Are there enough "fines" or sand to allow for the gravel to be compacted properly?
 

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What was agreed on? Basically, if you were the contractor, you assume all responsibility, one of which is exact picture of who, what, where, when and how. A contractor who doesn't do this looks exactly like a consumer having regrets after the work.:smile:
Not the end of the world. Example is the gravel bed the train rails sit on. Gravel containment could be easy as well. I would hammer in 1" iron pipe (plumbing) every 3-4' and just rest pt 2x10 or 12 and fill the gap with gravel. This work should be done by the side that made the mistake. I would take a few weeks for the gravel to settle or compact it before the cabin sits on it.
 

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Yes unfortunately I found out that I didn't even need the gravel AFTER it was delivered and I didn't have enough time to think about it because the contractor had paid for it and was going to charge me for it anyway. I asked him what to do and he called the inspector and the inspector said I was going to need tie downs and the gravel pad would probably be good to put down under it so I just took their word for it since I had the gravel anyway. Now I am regretting it because it's so high and ugly. I was going to put cinderblocks for the time being and then maybe build a brick wall around it later but then that is a huge expense but my main issue now is they are going to be using the tie downs which is going to be leaving a huge gap under the house and normally if you want to cover it up you can put bricks etc but now I have this other area to cover so I have 2 areas to cover that are so close together so it's not going to look right in my opinion. Any thoughts on this?


contain the gravel with 4x4 landscape timbers. 8 footers go on sale at lowes and home depot in spring for literally like $1.50 each because they are refuse wood not suitable for studs/dimensional lumber. They are barely pressure treated but say they are safe for ground contact, might need replacing of the lower one maybe 5 years or 20 if you're lucky maybe longer. the specs on the site say the pressure treated amount which is like 15X less than that of a ~$10 pt 4x4 fence/deck post which would last longer. Can copper coat them for $12 a gallon wood preserver also would help. Or use cinderblock retaining wall and skim coat the cinderblocks with mortar/stucco to make it look nicer. If do the wood retaining wall, can drill every 2' or so though them and bang in rebar into the ground to keep the wall in place and nail each timber to the one under it with long spike nails they sell for that. If put the rebar, angle the top of it towards the cabin so that any pressure outwards from the gravel will not push the timbers out as easily as if the rebar were plumb (or angled away from the cabin).

too late now but you could have also just put the cabin on cinderblocks and no gravel, tamped the earth first and level them and then if it ever does sink a bit unevenly, shim where the cabin rests on the cinderblock. You can put cinderblocks over the gravel but with a mound of gravel, it's probably going to wash outwards a bit, taking the cinderblocks outward with it. On just cinderblocks it would also allow air under the cabin to help prevent rot.
 

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He did say he would level with the gravel and I didn't think that sounded right but as someone who was clueless I took his word for it. I figured when he said level he meant a couple of inches, not 16 lol I am going to try to get him to come back and fix it but I'm pretty sure I am going to be left on my own with this one and I suppose it's on me since I didn't ask more questions.

What was agreed on? Basically, if you were the contractor, you assume all responsibility, one of which is exact picture of who, what, where, when and how. A contractor who doesn't do this looks exactly like a consumer having regrets after the work.:smile:
Not the end of the world. Example is the gravel bed the train rails sit on. Gravel containment could be easy as well. I would hammer in 1" iron pipe (plumbing) every 3-4' and just rest pt 2x10 or 12 and fill the gap with gravel. This work should be done by the side that made the mistake. I would take a few weeks for the gravel to settle or compact it before the cabin sits on it.
 

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This sounds like a case where you did not have a plan for the contractor to follow, so he did what he thought would work. In all fairness to the contractor, bringing in crushed stone as a base is a perfectly reasonable solution, it provides a solid, well draining base for the cabin. The contractor could not possibly have known what you wanted, I can't even tell from your extended posts, so surely the contractor had no idea.

As to whether the gravel is suitable, that is a matter for discussion with the building inspector, if they are OK with it as a foundation, then it is suitable. If there is no inspector and no permits required, and the underlying soil is firm, the gravel is probably just fine for now, and you can surely find some way to improve the appearance by placing timbers around it, as has been suggested by others.
 

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123pugsy, not quite, soil is easy to get rid of yea, but gravel is quite cheap direct from the yard, I think it's only like 10-$12 for a cubic yard (about the size of a washing machine), so it would be easier for someone to go to the yard and shovel it straight into buckets into their car or suv or just have it machined straight into their truck bed. if they have one, Vs going to this guy with a wheel barrow and digging out a small section (much easier to shovel from the large pile at the landscape supply yard by shoveling the loose stuff at the 'bottom edge' of the large pile vs basically digging into the pile this guy has in his yard. Digging "into" gravel can be a PITA.


Eventually someone will take the excess though but might be easier if this guy puts it to the street himself (if allowed by law there over night etc) and then someone scoop it up at earliest convenience.

but anyway the 'excess' can't really be removed if keeping it a gravel base because he said the contractor said he would level the ground and then add gravel. This guy thought it would be 4" gravel. I think that's where he can get the contractor back on. Instead of leveling the ground which wasn't even done, they filled the low spot with 12-16" gravel and caused this eye sore for the homeowner. In other words, the high spot of the plot wasn't dug out to the same level as the low spot. Instead they just dumped extra gravel in the low spot. to bring it up to the high spot.


IMHO better to build on a high spot for prevention of rain water pooling though.

If it requires tie down for hurricane, from the start I would have left the grading how it was (grading by hand can be a lot of work without a $10K+ machine) and then just dig 4 footings however deep the code required and then flair aka mushroom aka bell out the bottoms of the concrete holes to prevent pull out and then embedded anchors in the concrete to hold 4x4 pressure treated beams (or larger 2x8- 2x12 is required for span depending on how long the cabin is). And put sona tunes in the tops of the holes to make it all level and keep the cabin off the ground.
And then if you didn't want to look at concrete pillars (which don't look bad IMHO) you can put a PT wood/vinyl, metal, masonry skirt around the bottom, something you can access under the cabin in case there's something weather wouldn't affect, like possibly storage for extra paver stones etc etc or something like that.

anyway, I'm not sure what he means by tie downs. you mean like 3" corkscrew rods that are driven into the ground and then attached to the cabin frame? If the anchor/tie downs aren't in the ground or attached to something deep in the ground, it serves no purpose.
 

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actually crusher run would cost more than regular blue stone so maybe you can get the excess removed for free and the taker removes it, but again, then you would have a slope.

to be honest, I would just put timbers around it and it should hold it all in place. As someone mentioned, gravel train tracks can be built up to quite a height and apparently aren't moving much so it should hold fine. But border it so you don't have gravel all over the lawn flying rocks when mowing/weed wacking, kids playing with no shoes etc.
 

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To me this looks awful and I was wondering if anyone knows if this is a sufficient way to level the ground.
Ayuh,.... We can't see it, at All,....

Hard to give ideas,..... Got any pictures,..??

What's the lot's overall grades like,..??
What are the local native soil conditions,..?? sand, clay, bedrock,..??
 
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