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  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2004
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    Tennessee

    Default Help getting land ready for Garage

    Hello,
    Although this is one of my most visited sites, this is my first post here. I really enjoy seeing the projects that you all bravely begin and complete. Hopefully someone can help me in my pursuit to build my garage.

    First off, I can't decide what I want. I have received quotes for a 30'X40' pole barn as well as a 24'X30' garage. This is not the problem though. The problem is that I don't know how to go about preparing the land.

    The land is on a slight slope that levels out below where I want the garage. The builder told me that I had two options. I could either "dig in" or "build up". I didn't like the idea of digging in due to moisture and water. Although, I don't like the idea of building up due to my lack of knowledge on how or what to build up with.

    I have thought about just bringing in many loads of chert and begin leveling out the slope in about a 40'X50' area to prepare for the 30'X40' garage.

    Is this right or am I looking at this wrong. I would like any information on this that you could give. I have been putting off building this for a year now due to the fear of beginning. I really want my garage and I feel that I may as well get the ball rolling.

    If a picture of the land would help you provide answers, just let me know and I will post a picture.

    Thanks a bunch,
    pccarroll

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    1,927
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    Home-1+ acres New Hope, TX / 24 acres-Fannin County
    Tractor
    JD 950

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    I would prefer the build-up rather than the dig-in. That is what I did for my 30'x40' metal building. Actually I didn't do it. My neighbor had a lot of fill he wanted to get rid of. I needed it so he had the trucker move it over to my place and dump it. He was also having some dozer work done, so he had the operator come over and level it. Made my work easy [img]/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img] but only a little seat time for final grading. [img]/forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif[/img]
    Dig-in- I would dig well in excess of what I needed, put in a retaining wall, and grade the drainage away from the area of the foundation.

  3. #3
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
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    Central florida
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    Make sure you compact in lifts ( on the fill ).. especially if you pour a slab..

    Soundguy

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2004
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    4
    Location
    Tennessee

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    BB TX - What do you mean when you say "fill". Do you mean just dirt or chert or rock?

    Soundguy - What exactely do you mean by "compact in lifts"?
    I do plan on pouring a slab and I do realize that the foundation needs to be packed but what is the best way to let that happen. I would guess that just letting it set a few months would suffice. The rain should pack it pretty good. Am I wrong?

    The slope that this land is at is not major at all. In fact, it is near level at the spot where I have finally decided to put the garage. Just how level does it have to be for them to put me a garage there? I would think that the slab could make up the difference in a slight slope.

    I have attached a picture, in it you will see the arrow pointing down is showing where the garage is going. The arrow pointing up and right is the direction that the driveway to the garage is going to take. This is also the direction that the 40' will be. The 30' will be right to left when looking at the picture.
    I realize that my drive will probably wash due to the slope but that is fixable. I just want the structure there now.

    Thanks a lot for your replies.
    pccarroll
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    72

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    Bring fill up about 6"to 8" at a time watering and packing each lift.Use a car,truck,tractor to campact each lift. Dont hurry with lifts as your concrete will not crack later on. I would say that a foundation is the most important and the most overlooked or under appreciated portion of most buildings. A solid foundation is money in the bank!

  6. #6
    Epic Contributor Soundguy's Avatar
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    Mar 2002
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    Central florida
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    ym1700, NH7610S, Ford 8N, 2N, NAA, 660, 850 x2, 541, 950, 941D, 951, 2000, 3000, 4000, 4600, 5000, 740, IH 'C' 'H', CUB, John Deere 'B', allis 'G', case VAC

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    Think of lifts as 'layers'.. and compact each accordingly. If you plan to merely let it set for a few months.. plan on having a sloped slab and an attractive art-deco style crack seperating the concrete over the stabilized 'in-place' earth and the fill area.

    Running a tractor over it repeadetly will compact it. If it is a heavier tractor it will be better.

    You can't get too much compaction.. And like loner pointed out.. that slab is the basis for the rest of the building.. you DON'T want PART of the slab at a different angle, as that will compromise the integrety of everything else..

    Soundguy

  7. #7
    Super Member
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    Oct 2003
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    Northeast, Ohio
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    TC-40D SS New Holland

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    Pccarroll we were faced with the very same decision when we built our pole barn several years back. We chose to "dig in" rather than "build up". The contractor explained to us that the foundation would be much more stable on established soil than on soil that he would need to move and compact. We are very happy for making the decision as we did as the pole barn hasn't moved an inch and the concrete floor is stable without cracking.

    My suggestion is for "digging in" and getting the job done. Good luck to you on your project!

  8. #8

    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    4
    Location
    Tennessee

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    Thanks guys,
    I agree that the foundation is one of the most important parts of a structure. That is why I am asking questions now instead of later. Thanks for the explanation on the layers. That makes 100% sense.

    PineRidge, that option is starting to really look good to me. As you can see in the picture, there is not that much slope. As you said, it would be a very sturdy foundation not to mention save money and time. At first I like the idea of getting it up off the ground to keep any water or anything from harming it, but, after the garage is built and the slab is several inches thick, it should be resistant to water anyway. Right, maybe.

    Can anyone think of any issues with taking PineRidges advice and digging in? PineRidge, was the slope you build on more or less than mine in that picture? What all was involved in the process?

    Thank you all for the help, hopefully I will have this done by the end of the summer. I have put this off long enough.

    pccarroll

  9. #9
    Super Member Henro's Avatar
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    Jul 2003
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    Few miles north of Pgh, PA
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    Kubota B2910, BX2200, Yardman 20HP pos...

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    Hi,

    I don't have a dug in garage...but I do have a dug in house.

    You land looks flat compared to ours here in Western PA. If you make the proper effort you will not have a water or even a moisture problem. You just have to do what is necessary to keep the moisture/water out. Before I corrected a road run off problem, I had four inches of standing water against the high side of my house in a heavy rain, and not a drop inside.

    Now the low side of my house has the basement floor about a foot above the ground level. At the side in the hill the floor is about 7 feet or a bit more below grade.

    If your low end is above grade, French drains at the footer level can carry water away easily.

    Now I really did not want a water problem, so along with the french drains, I coated the block walls with a thin coat of mortor, and ued a 16 oz beer bottle to make a curved shape in the motor at the bottom of the wall where the wall meets the footer.

    I then coated that mortor-covered block with plastic roof cement using a trowel to put about a quarter inch thick coat top to bottom, actually probably bottom to top...can't remember...it has been 20 years now.

    I then took plastic sheeting and stuck it against the roof cement and it sort of bonded to it. ON top of that I took the liquid roof coating and painted over the plastic. Then I got rigid insulation (like the better grade styrofoam) and put it agains the wall to protect the tar covered plastic.

    Finally I back filled with river gravel. So any water would tend to find its way down to the french drain and not sit there waiting to somehow push through the wall.

    I've seen water pouring out of the french drains after a rain, but never a hit of moisture on the inside. Also, I don't have rain gutters on my house, I just let the water fall off the roof...

    Myself, I would dig in, but try to keep the low end a little above the existing grade so whatever water may find its way in would easily drain out the end of the french drains.

    I know it may sould a little crazy when you read my methods. I built my own place and decided to do my best to do it right the first time...guess I was smart enough to know there would not be a second time for me! House building on your own with little help is fun but tiring. Only one house in this body... [img]/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif[/img]

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Location
    Alachua, Florida
    Tractor
    JD 790, JD 6420

    Default Re: Help getting land ready for Garage

    Hi,
    You will need to get the grass, any other vegetation and the top soil off the areas there you are going to build. The footers for the foundation will need to be placed on undisturbed earth. I’m sure that is code there. Clearing the grass etc., is done to get the concrete pad on as solid ground as possible and since the vegetation will decompose, voids would appear and will cause strength and cracking problems for the pad. I have not heard the use of “many loads of chert” since I was working in Memphis in the early 70’s. That is great stuff. We spec’d it for several jobs and it worked great. Compacted great!
    Good luck on your project … you have received some very good advice from the TBN folks.
    Leo

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