Drying Out Wet Soil


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Old 03-17-04, 05:51 PM
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Drying Out Wet Soil

In the process of building a new house. The basement subgrade soil is a very wet clay soil to the point that it acts like Playdoh. Is there a way, or something to apply, other than sunshine, to get the clay to dry out before it's time to put in the gravel base and pour the concrete basement slab? The Playdoh-like soil is about 6" to 9" deep.

Heavy excavation equipment to remove the soil is not an option since the basement is not a walkout and walls are formed and ready to be poured. The weather forecast is calling for rain all of next week which will just compound the situation.

Any suggestions?
 
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Old 03-18-04, 03:53 AM
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You must wait for the sunshine. This is one area beyond your control. No matter what you do, I can 100% guarantee you that the contractor will not pour concrete on wet soil. Besides that the soil and gravel have to be inspected before pouring. The Inspector will say when it is ok. This is for your protection. This is reality. I have had them sit there for 3 months before they were dry enough. Good Luck
 
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Old 03-19-04, 05:11 AM
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Brainstorming, here.

You could convert the goo to soil-mixed concrete. There are plenty of resources on soil-cement to be found on the 'net.


Basically, you would mix (roto-tiller?) a binder (portland cement, fly ash, lime, etc) into the wet soil.

Use a rake and a tamper to level and compact it.

I would recommend respirators for the workers and a pressure washer for the tools.

Don't laugh, it's a technique with real-world applications.


Before you attempt the basement, you can take a small volume of the target soil and mix in a known amount of your binder. Put it in a five gallon bucket and seal with lid. Come back 24 hours and see if you like the results.
 
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Old 03-19-04, 09:53 AM
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Question

Im lost here

since the basement is not a walkout and walls are formed and ready to be poured.
If I have this right the footings have to be in there now if the forms are set for the walls. I cant count all the homes that where built all the way up and no floor in the basement till it was dry. Has the plumber got all his roughin in?

ED
 
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Old 03-19-04, 04:11 PM
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Yep, Ed is right, I think a basement floor can be the last thing done in a house, if the builder wants to wait. All he needs is a basement window, and if it's an egress window, so much the better.

If I was the plumber, it's a lot easier to work "top-down" from the fixtures and make the pipes under the slab line up with whatever occurred overhead, than to work from the bottom up.
 
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Old 03-23-04, 07:14 PM
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The plumber has not done any rough-in.

The soil has started to dry out and is in alot better shape than a week ago. Before, it would actually compress as you walked across it in the bad spots. It doesn't move now. The top inch or two has dried out, but the next 6" still has a high than normal moisture content. The only way to know that it is wet is to dig a hole with a shovel, or probe the soil with a piece of #5 rebar. The thing is, I can shove the #5 bar in the ground in my existing yard as far as I can in the basement area of the new house.

I'm going to talk with the flatwork contractor tomorrow and get his opinion and see if he is okay with waiting a couple of weeks while the area drys out some more.

I've have thought about soil stabilization with about 10% portland cement, but haven't made any decisions yet.
 
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Old 03-23-04, 08:11 PM
bungalow jeff
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Pour the slab later as Steve and Ed have correctly suggested. This is common practice. Adding cement to clay is a waste of time and money. There is plenty of framing and plumbing work to do before the slab needs to be placed.
 
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Old 03-24-04, 10:56 AM
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I dont see why you need the floor now. We dont ever put it in till the home is up and in the black. With all this water and clay Id for sure put a drain tile on the inside by the footing under the slab to out side along with the one outside on the footing. We do .ED
 
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Old 03-24-04, 06:17 PM
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That is the plan. Thanks for all of your recommendations. I am waiting till the subgrade dries out and putting drain tile around the perimeter, inside and out, that run to a sump pit.
 
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Old 03-26-04, 03:52 AM
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I think I was the first to answer, and I said let it dry out. The contractor and Inspector have the final word. No plumbers, no building, no drains, LET IT DRY OUT. And just for those of you who are wondering, I have never in 32 years, waited until the end to pour the basement floor. Bad mistake. Sounds like you have a good builder.
 
 

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