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Grading Concerns
#98893 February 12th, 2007 at 03:26 PM
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We are in the process of building a home. The home site is relatively flat where the home is to be sited, but then slopes 10-15 ft. around the rear of the home, somewhat like a bowl. There is netting that has been placed on the steepest parts of the hill to avoid erosion. Our builder initially agreed that grading/terracing/modification was necessary in order to avoid potential water problems in the future; he has since come to the conclusion that the grade of the site will not be changed. We are very worried that we will incur drainage problems if something is not done to reduce the slope of the site. Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

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#98894 February 12th, 2007 at 04:29 PM
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You wouldn't happen to have pictures of the site you could post, would you?

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#98895 February 12th, 2007 at 05:05 PM
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Yes, we have pictures...but how do we post them in the forum???

Re: Grading Concerns
#98896 February 12th, 2007 at 05:25 PM
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welcome to the forum!

you'll need to upload the pics to a hosting site - photobucket.com is one; there are a few others too.

once you've got the pics uploaded, copy the url info (on photobucket it's the IMG line) and then plop that info into your post. the pic will appear once your post is submitted.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98897 February 12th, 2007 at 05:36 PM
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Thanks so much for the info! Here are pictures of the lot and the slope that concerns us. Would love to get your opinion on what to do...we are meeting with the Superintendent on the subdivision this afternoon.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Re: Grading Concerns
#98898 February 12th, 2007 at 05:57 PM
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I would say that you do have a problem. What is on the other side of the hill?

You may have to add a drainage ditch along the edge there so the water has some place to go.

Is the ground where you are at now wet?

I have worked at a Landfill and a Rock Quarry, both had pits, and trust when you have a hole in the ground it fills with water.

You might have a surveyor come in and shoot the elevations for you. I don't see any grade stakes showing elevations.

It may look level, but it could slope the wrong way and the water may collect where the house is. The last thing you want is to have install a pump to remove the water, pumps can be very expensive to run for very long. It is always better to have natural drainage. Even if it means hauling in fill dirt. But remember fill dirt is just that, it will probably be full of clay and not good dirt.. You may want somebody to remove the topsoil first, add the fill and then replace the topsoil.

Better be safe then sorry.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98899 February 12th, 2007 at 06:05 PM
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There is a 4x4x2 deep "infiltration trench" on the blueprints to the right of the lot (as you are looking at the pictures). The next lot, to the right of us, has a long driveway that runs beside our proposed home, and next to the infiltration trench. On the top of the hill the land is level. The back of the lot borders another home's driveway. The entire lot is 1.2 acres. We have suggested a french drain, and the sales agent thought that the builder might terrace the hill, but now they are telling us that the site is as is. What to do??? Thanks!!

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#98900 February 12th, 2007 at 06:10 PM
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I still think I would shoot the elevation first.

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#98901 February 12th, 2007 at 06:41 PM
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Thanks for all of the great advice. We have a blueprint of the elevations...the hill rises at 2 ft increments for about 12 feet until it reaches the top. What will shooting the elevation of the hill tell us? What should we expect the builder to do at this point? We must make this demand today, when we meet. They want us to take the contingency we have currently off the property asap, and until we get some sort of assurance from them that they will make sure there is no problem, we don't want to do that.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98902 February 12th, 2007 at 07:14 PM
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So the ground slopes toward the house? or away?

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#98903 February 12th, 2007 at 07:15 PM
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is the house to be built inside the 'bowl'?

at the least, you're going to need some drainage ditchs. and that long driveway that runs alongside will definitely cause some problems (even with that infiltration ditch). that's just going to be a ton of runoff that has no where to go but down!

and there will have to be proper grading so that any water that does collect is directed away from the foundation.

if the house is going to have a basement, then you're going to need something there. a sump pump at the least.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98904 February 12th, 2007 at 07:21 PM
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The ground on which the house is to be sited is level, then slopes off a bit in front. The hill behind/to the side of the house is the problem...those temporary netted erosion controls will have to go. We will have a basement, a well, septic, and a sump pump.Would you say this lot is worth all of this work, or are we better to just choose something else?

Re: Grading Concerns
#98905 February 12th, 2007 at 07:34 PM
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The septic tank may be a problem. My parents had a house that was sitting in a low spot and the septic tank just won't drain.

What is the water table like? How far down can you dig and hit water?

Re: Grading Concerns
#98906 February 12th, 2007 at 07:38 PM
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The landfill I worked had a LOT of clay soil and the septic never work drain, we had a long hose running down the hill toward the trash so it would drain. ( it didn't get a lot of use)

Finally we capped off the hose and when it got full just had it pumped out.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98907 February 12th, 2007 at 07:42 PM
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you can plant trees and shrubs as erosion control on the slope.

you can modify the grade of the slope to direct any water away from the house and i'd definitely put some kind of swale at the bottom of the slope. you can mask it with bushes in front so that you don't see it from the house.

are you in an area that gets a lot of rain annually? that could be a real issue.

does the slope at the front of the house go down or does it go up? what i'm trying to determine is if your house will be sitting in a 'bowl' or if it is on a hill.

if it's on a hill, any water that runs down from that slope at the back will continue going downhill and won't be as much of an issue. (it'll still be an issue, especially with a heavy rain).

if your house is to be situated inside a 'bowled' area, i'd think twice about it. you'll most probably still end up with standing water - even if you take precautions.

have you requested that the water table be tested? and have you had someone else look at the site? other than the builder i mean. an architect or someone familiar water issues and proper grading? not sure who to suggest you contact.

i wouldn't just take the builder's word for anything tho...they're contracted to build (and they're probably on a time-frame for that too).

you need to have someone who is familiar with water/soil issues look at the site.

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#98908 February 12th, 2007 at 07:43 PM
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oh, forgot this.

what type of soil is it????

clay soil will retain water and it doens't drain well.

edit:

you might want to speak with the engineer the builder used with regard to the sloping and drainage issues. and then get a second opinion from another engineer.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98909 February 12th, 2007 at 07:51 PM
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My yard slopes to the rear, and I have water problems under the house at the front, but there's not much I can do about it. I did dig a ditch in front of the house and ran it to the side for drainage.

I do have a ditch a the back but I still get standing water after a heavy rain.

I would be most worried about the hill behind this property myself. I think I would ask for a second opinion myself.

I worked for 10 years in the mud, it may look good now but after a rain you may find more problems then you realize.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98910 February 13th, 2007 at 10:47 PM
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If you were to build a retainer wall around that drop in elevation, it would be very costly, so let's count that option out. I reckon erosion down that slope is going to be a big problem. You need to stop any surface water from coming down the slope from above so that you can get grasses and plants established to keep it from washing out. Creating a spoon/dish drain along the top, a metre or two back from the edge, will prevent most water from coming down. i'd also create one at the bottom of the slope as suggested. Direct the water right and/or left, as the natural landform dictates. These drains can be made by a machine like a grader very quickly and cheaply.
The house itself should be on a slight rise. Don't build a dam wall where your house is in the flow pathh of the water if you know what i mean. This way, any water that falls in your back yard will be directed away from the house toward the base of the slope where the bottom drain will take it away. Some simple earthworks now will save lots of problems in future. Make sure the land falls away all around the house, so that any rain doesn't try and flow to the rear of the house. When you have the land prepared for your concrete slab, it would be worth bringing in sand or other fill to raise that area a bit. Then you won't have water sitting at your back door.
Can you take a foto from the side of the block to show the natural fall of the land?

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#98911 February 13th, 2007 at 11:22 PM
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Here's a rough diagramme of what i'm on about. It's how i'd do it anyway.
http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v239/m.longstaff/?action=view&current=Presentation1.jpg

Re: Grading Concerns
#98912 February 14th, 2007 at 12:11 AM
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not bad, longy!

from what i'm getting from the posts, there seems to be 2 hills. basically, the house will be in the recessed area between two rises.

so, they would have to do what you are suggesting both at the back and at the front (and maybe even both sides too).

the only problem with your diagram is that the house is supposed to have a basement. so, even if it is raised up a bit (which is still a good idea) there is still going to be an issue (i would think) with standing water against the foundation - as well as leakage into the basement itself.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98913 February 16th, 2007 at 09:45 AM
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Originally posted by joclyn:
not bad, longy!

from what i'm getting from the posts, there seems to be 2 hills. basically, the house will be in the recessed area between two rises.

so, they would have to do what you are suggesting both at the back and at the front (and maybe even both sides too).

the only problem with your diagram is that the house is supposed to have a basement. so, even if it is raised up a bit (which is still a good idea) there is still going to be an issue (i would think) with standing water against the foundation - as well as leakage into the basement itself.
I don't see the 2 hills bit Jocelyn. That's why i asked for a shot from the side though, to show natural ground fall. As far as i can tell, the fotos are of the rear of the property and that is the top of the hill. The land falls away toward and behind the photographer.
megamoo said "The ground on which the house is to be sited is level, then slopes off a bit in front."
Either way though, there won't be any standing water if the water is guided away from the house on all sides. It will go into the drain at the back, maybe extend it down the side of the property and away down the front slope.
A basement needs to be sealed irrespective of the land it's built on.
I know this method works because it's what i've done at home. We get as much as 70 inches of rain in a wet year and so far no problems.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98914 February 16th, 2007 at 06:12 PM
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megamoo stated that it slopes off a bit in the front...there wasn't a clarification as to whether the slope went up or down. she/he makes the reference that the site is like a 'bowl'. that makes me think that there is an additional (upward) slope at the front of the property.

since they haven't responded to the numerous comments/requests for more info about the front slope, we don't know for sure.

i wonder what they decided to do?

Re: Grading Concerns
#98915 February 17th, 2007 at 01:34 PM
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Re: Grading Concerns
#98916 February 17th, 2007 at 01:37 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by joclyn:
megamoo stated that it slopes off a bit in the front...there wasn't a clarification as to whether the slope went up or down. she/he makes the reference that the site is like a 'bowl'. that makes me think that there is an additional (upward) slope at the front of the property.

since they haven't responded to the numerous comments/requests for more info about the front slope, we don't know for sure.

i wonder what they decided to do?
Yeah fair call. I regard "sloping off" as sloping downhill. As opposed to sloping up. There's no way the site is in a bowl with all 4 sides being higher than the site. It's called a dam if that's the case. Crikey!
I wonder too what they did. Oh well. Maybe Megamoo will tell us one day.

Re: Grading Concerns
#98917 February 17th, 2007 at 07:52 PM
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yes, i'd consider sloping off to mean going downhill too...

others may not or they may be referring to the top portion and then referring to the hill sloping off (and down) to the flat area where the house is to be situated.

i've actually seen a couple of houses around here built in a similar 'bowl' type area. not something i'd buy!!

well, since they haven't posted, they probably opted to not purchase the site. from the pics, i don't think i'd have bought it...too much potential for problems!!


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