When it comes to any kind of home construction project, many assume that the foundation is where everything starts. Although foundations are indeed the cornerstone to any home construction project involving a structure, the soil grade of the property matters more.
We depend on foundations to provide the proper setting for our structure to be built upon, but the soil grade under the foundation itself can an even bigger challenge. Because of this, it’s highly important to have professional grading assistance before beginning any construction.
Don’t Overlook Your Soil’s Grading
Poor planning during construction projects often involves overlooking the soil’s grading. This can lead to numerous issues in the future, including marshy ground, flooded basements, and shifting slabs. These issues can almost always be prevented with proper soil grading.
Building codes have adapted in recent times to avoid these issues. Modern codes now require a slab or foundation’s top to be at least 6 inches above the highest point of soil at any location around the house. The ground itself must slope away from a home’s foundation by at least 6 inches within the first 10 feet around the perimeter of the house. While these are minimum requirements now, more slope is encouraged to provide even more protection.
When laying out a foundation for a new home or structure, extra attention to the property’s existing grade is always needed prior to beginning, no exceptions. It’s highly recommended that you locate the highest elevation of the ground is at any point within 10 feet of where the foundation is going to be placed. Once you have done so, you may begin the foundation.
If you go above the required 6 inches for your foundation, don’t worry — you can easily create a very gentle subtle slope away from the home once completed if you have the grading carefully planned by professionals. It’s far better to be safe than sorry.
With well-planned and executed grading, you can build with full confidence that your structure will be able to withstand the effects of rainfall over time, while avoiding any catastrophic damages that threaten your investment down the road.
What About Existing Structures?
If your home or structure is already built, there are still steps you can take to fix the grading while being mindful of your landscaping, surrounding structures, and things like sidewalks.
If you already have an existing slope leading from your home, you can increase the grading by obtaining more soil and equipment such as a Bobcat skid loader.
If your situation involves having a slope angled towards your home, things are a bit more complicated. You will need to create a swale in strategic locations to direct water flow away from your home. You can accomplish this by first creating a swale path beginning by your home, and gently lead it around the corner and towards where the tallest part of the soil is, and then direct the swale past it.
For more on working with existing structures visit our blog on the difference between minor and major foundation repairs.
Solutions for Flat Soil
Flat soil on a property can create some significant problems. If you are faced with an extremely flat surface, drainage piping can be a great help. This can be done by creating drains around your home, and running piping underground from the drains and away from the home.
If drainage pipes aren’t an option, or if you need something a little less intensive, consider digging ditches around problem areas. This allows the water to collect away from your home, and slowly re-enter the soil. Be sure that the trenches are as far away from your foundation as possible, as the water can still slowly seep towards the home.
Filling the ditches with gravel helps to control surface water draining, and also help regulate the rate of the ditch water re-entering the soil after it’s collected. If you have water collecting close to your home, build a small trench that leads from your home to the ditch, while being sure that it is sloped away from your home.
Heavy rainfall can collect quickly around your property as it drains from your roofs gutters and onto your soil. If this is the case, be sure to begin the drainage trench where the gutter system drains, creating a direct path to your ditch from the gutter.
Contact Dirt Connections Today
Professional dirt grading assistance is always recommended to ensure that your property can thrive, whether it’s yet to be built, or currently standing.
Grading often requires fill dirt for creating the right sloping that prevents water damage. If you need reliable, free dirt delivery, professional residential dirt grading assistance, and site work, get in contact with Dirt Connections today by giving us a call or sending a message online. We have the knowledge and experience to provide your property and your projects with what they need.