Grading around foundation

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-14-14, 09:28 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Grading around foundation

Hi folks,
I struggled to figure out which was the proper forum section to post this question. Hopefully this is the correct one.
I have a very minor water leakage issue in my basement (after extreme rainfalls), and I need to order some dirt to improve the grading around my house. As of right now, the soil within a few feet of the foundation is totally level with no slope. Can anyone tell me what type of soil to buy? I checked all the local places that deliver dirt, and most seem to have screened fill or topsoil. I do have plants growing around the house and plan to plant a few more, so I need something that they can grown in. I was thinking something with a high clay content would be best to run the water away, but none of the places I checked had any mention of high clay content fill or soil, and I'm not sure if plants could grow in that.
Thanks!!
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-14-14, 11:56 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 21,859
Received 357 Votes on 327 Posts
Of the two things you mentioned screened fill dirt would be the best for re-directing water away from the home. To determine it's clay content you'll probably have to go look at it and see. Unfortunately what is best for directing water away from the home is not the best for growing plants so a compromise may have to be made somewhere.
 
  #3  
Old 04-15-14, 09:14 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the reply Pilot Dane. I guess I'll go with the screened fill and when I go to plant something, I'll have to dig a decent hole and add some good soil around the new plants.
 
  #4  
Old 04-15-14, 09:34 AM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 21,859
Received 357 Votes on 327 Posts
If you're only adding a layer on the surface the existing dirt is still just a short distance underground so the roots will still have access to it.
 
  #5  
Old 04-15-14, 02:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
Posts: 224
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Jeff, I have put extra dirt around all 3 houses that I have owned. The worst was the 90 year old house in Michigan that we added the extra dirt around the foundation 3 seperate times. When we first bought that house the slope around it flowed downward towards the foundation and we placed 7 yards of dirt around it. That house had beautiful flower beds all around the entire house, that was the problem the prior owner dug out dirt to place / plant the flower beds.

Now is the time to get the load of dirt and put it down before the flowers start growing. For the MI house we probably added 10" right at the foundation sloping down to 2" or so 5' away. The main areas where we had flowers had anywhere from 6" to 3" of dirt placed on top of them and they nearly all still came up & bloomed. My guess is 90% of the flowers still came up & bloomed thru that extra dirt. We used both good screened fill & other times topsoil. Not sure if I could tell the difference, buth they were always each a couple years apart. The added benefit of topsoil is that will ultimately help your flower beds grow better. Again, now is the time to get that dirt & put it down before the flowers grow as it is a lot easier now. FYI we immediately noticed a reduction in water seepage in the basement after placing that dirt in the MI house.
 
  #6  
Old 04-16-14, 07:07 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Mike....Thanks for the info. Right now, I mostly have just shrubs in the areas that I want to adjust the grade. I'm hoping I can add dirt without having to dig up the shrubs and replant them to adjust for the higher soil level. I'm also really happy to hear that you noticed the reduction in water seepage. My water issue is so minor that I'm hoping this will be all I need to fix the issue.

Pilot Dane....That's a good point. When I dig down to plant, the roots should be in or right next to the existing good soil.
 
  #7  
Old 04-16-14, 10:19 AM
S
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,452
Received 69 Votes on 64 Posts
I use good dirt but then cover it with plastic to maintain the grade with cutouts for plants with rock on top.
 
  #8  
Old 04-16-14, 01:12 PM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Mitch17.....I had actually originally thought about buying a roll or two of decent plastic to lay out all around the house and then cover with dirt. My thinking was that if the water can't go straight down next to the foundation, that would greatly help my water seepage issue. I searched and searched for anything online from anyone who had tried that and found very little. What I did find said that by doing that, you will trap any moisture that does get under the plastic and keep the ground from ever drying out.
How did it work for you? Did you have any issues? Did the dirt stay over the plastic or did it wash away in heavy rains?
Thanks!!
 
  #9  
Old 04-16-14, 03:43 PM
P
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: NC, USA
Posts: 21,859
Received 357 Votes on 327 Posts
I've done plastic sheeting under dirt. It can be very effective at directing water. Unfortunately the soil underneath has a habit of going anaerobic which is not good for plants. I have grown some plants on top of the plastic without holes through. If you're not trying to grow trees or large shrubs it's amazing what can grow on top sending it's roots outwards.

Since water percolates through the soil above until it hits the plastic it accumulates and heads downhill washing away dirt if there is enough water. It can work if there is not too much water and the slope is not too great. Plastic or not if you get little rivers forming dirt will was away.
 
  #10  
Old 04-21-14, 08:49 AM
J
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 136
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hi Pilot.....I have a lot of existing shrubs all along the front of my house, so I'm thinking that the plastic sheeting route might not be an easy one. I'd prefer not to have to dig up those shrubs, as they are well established.
I guess my best bet is to dry the soil first. My water issue is fairly minor (at the very worst, a mop and bucket is all I've ever needed). Hopefully, a decent slope away from the foundation will do the trick. Thanks for your input!!
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: