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Settling due to water seepage

QuestionMy 20-year-old home has settled significantly due to water seepage. I 've dug a deep drainage ditch uphill to drain off any water that flows onto the property. Now I need to raise the home. Half of my home is on a foundation with a crawl space and the other half sits on a slab. What will it take to get the house level and onto a non-settling foundation? Do I need to dig around the slab? After I raise the home on the crawl space side, do I need to pour a new foundation? Should I dig pylons for better support and to prevent further settling?

AnswerThis sounds like a project for the experts. You can find them in your Yellow Pages under "Foundation Contractors," and be sure to check with your local building department for their requirements before starting.

From experience, I can tell you there are a couple of ways to handle this project: you can jack the house straight up in the air, giving enough room for equipment to work underneath it, or you can move the house to one side of the project. If you are in an area where water will be a constant battle (such as an underground spring), perhaps you could move your house to a new location on the property.

If the water is seasonal (surface water), consider putting in a full basement with a complete drainage system around the foundation at the footing level to drain water away from the foundation. Additionally, seal the foundation (including the footings) with waterproof membrane. The foundation could be poured or a CMU (concrete masonry units) block foundation wall could be built. You can read about this method in Build Smarter with Alternative Materials, my book by Craftsman Book Company. Take note: if undisturbed soil cannot be reached at a reasonable depth, a geotech report will be required to determine what is needed to provide adequate support for the footings to support the building. This will be an expensive project—good luck!

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Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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