foundation question : LUSENET : Freedom! self reliance : One Thread

I will be doing a rubble trench foundation for our home and I want someone to tell me why I can't use the earth itself as a form for the concrete? Basically the concrete would end up level with the top of the ground. 9" thick, sitting on a trench of gravel. Could someone with real foundation experience answer any reason why I can't, or shouldn't?

-- JC (, May 10, 2001


I don't have much experience... but did you check to make sure the foundation can top off at ground level? Most juristictions require a minimum amount of clearance above the ground.

Earth will hold your foundation walls, but there is a chance they will be unstable (freeze and thaw action) and they will not have insulation as in most other applications.

-- Sue Diederich (, May 10, 2001.

Thanks sue, but I only need an answer to the original question, and I'm waiting for someone with experience. Other posts just serve to get the thread off topic. Thankyou for your help anyway.

-- JC (, May 10, 2001.

Just to recap, I am only interested in information about the question. Please don't respond if you don't know the answer because of your experience in building. I don't need any other buiding advice.

-- JC (, May 10, 2001.

Well JC I can say one thing.Nice attitude. NOT. Now if you want an answer to your question you need to provide more information.Such as where and in what type of soil are you building? How deep do you get frost each year? As far as using your trench for a form it should not be a problem most places.What must be done is to dig the trench down to below the frost line.The soil that you pour the foundation on should be undisturbed or packed down if it has been disturbed.Personally I would also splurge and put rebar in the foundation to keep it from cracking if it does heave.Shallow trench foundations and floating slabs are for areas that don't get a lot of frost heave.Now I could tell you how Frank Loyd Wright engineered around needing deep foundations in northern climes but that would be too far off your original topic.No one is mad at you JC.I'm sure Sue doesn't much care how you responded to her.I'm sure folks here would like to see you keep posting, I would, but please try to be a little more diplomatic next time.Remember you asked the question and this is the mean people forum so next time you might get handed your ass.

-- greg (, May 10, 2001.

I guess I finally will quite these silly boards, Countryside sucks now, and you %^%$@!@&()*&^ are no different. Some of you are different, but I guess we all can't be helpful and intelligent.

-- JC (, May 10, 2001.

Too bad you didn't get it.The difference between here and CS is your snit won't be deleted.If I was quick on the trigger I will say I'm sorry.If you want an answer to your question give a few more details please.This is not YOUR exclusive Q&A board.If someone gets off topic a little who cares?When you post a question you are the one with hat in hand.I would say beggars can't be choosers.Again give more details to your specific question and problem and I or someone else will try to answer you in the most concise manner we can.I would really like to help you out.If you want to know why it is better to use a form instead of just pouring into a trench it is because you can raise a form above grade just like Sue told you.With the foundation above grade you don't have as much trouble with water and insects coming in.In arizona this may not be a problem.In washington state your house won't last long on grade.Hey it's your house do what you like.If it does not work out as planned then you have a learning expirience.I have a fair bit of building experience and a good library within arms reach so if you really would like some help lets work this out.Your original question is like telling a doctor that you feel sick over the telephone giving no other information then expecting a correct diagnosis.Any way the olive branch is extended the next move is yours.

-- greg (, May 10, 2001.

I posted the above before I got the nasty gram from you.I also checked to see if you crossposted on CS board.You acted like an *&^$%##$%^&(@#$ there as well.Funny how folks asked you exactly the same questions as I did.And gave you pretty much the same answers.Guess we are all equally stupid.You seem to think that you have all the answers so why ask us fools here? I think maybe it is good idea that you stop posting to these "silly" forums.Most folks get bent out of shape over politics or religion.You on the other hand want advice and then want to dictate terms as well as insult any one that answers.Please don't send me any more personal email it is not wanted.You are most cordially invited ^! 8^%$##$ yourself.

-- greg (, May 10, 2001.

All right, guys. Thanks for making edit your comments. I think we can all be a tic more mature here, can't we? Go ahead and fight if you want to, but watch your language please.

JC, I am sorry to say I don't know a thing about rubble trench foundations. Greg is right about needing more info in order to be helpful. I hope you find an answer to your question. I would be sad if you decided not to post anymore. Take care, Doreen

-- Doreen (, May 11, 2001.

Doreen,Sorry to make you do the redaction.I was thinking about emailing you and asking that you do it.Something about genuinely trying to help someone out and being called a fool and a SOB tends to get me riled.I also got a nasty email from this person prior to my potty mouth reply.Too much of a coward to put what he had to say where every one could see it.Personaly I hope he does move on.He made a big stink on CS whith the same question.I checked.Why bring the same BS and rotten attitude here?An explanation and an apology might change that sentiment.Maybe he had a run around with a building inspector that day.Perhaps he can't get permits to do the type of contruction that he wants to do.Maybe the big bad old world is standing on his head just now.I don't know and with the nastiness I'm finding it hard to care.

-- greg (, May 11, 2001.

"The Foolish man built his house upon the sand, house upon the sand, house upon the sand...." And we all know what happened.

JOJ did post his info at the BTS board. Simple, cheap and very good advice for any of you all who may be doing any building in the future. I've poured a @#%%%*^load of "corncrete" and this fellas idea of having it end at ground level is bad in any climate.

-- John in S. IN (, May 11, 2001.

John, BTS forum? I'm not familier with that.Could you please enlighten me? The funny part about all this is he (JC) has half the puzzle solved he seems too afraid of someone actually teaching him something to listen.FLWright BUILT houses on sand and they are still standing.The answer is drainage,drainage,drainage.If there is no water there is no frost heave.The engineering involved in making sufficient drainage is a hell er heck of a lot more involved than putting up a simple form.Maybe the curve got this guy all twitchy and that is why he wanted to end at ground level.Forms were daunting to me at first until I did a few.I'm thinking maybe he already did the pour and ended at ground level only to have someone wander by and tell him about the headache he just made for himself.I could have told him how to salvage the situation.Too bad.Ever stop to think that there are so few mud sill cabins still standing?

-- greg (, May 12, 2001.

Greg, BTS is the Beyond the Sidewalks forum also here on Greenspun. Lots of people from the CS forum & lots of old familiar names for me. Between this place, CS, and the BTS forum, Lots of good info/people and a W I D E range of worldviews/politics.

-- John in S. IN (, May 12, 2001.

John thanks for the info.I went over there to find the post by Jump Off Joe.I didn't so maybe the original poster of this question went off the reservation there too and got the whole thread deleted.I didn't make the connection to BTS and the other spin off from CS.I'm sorry I looked because the whole thing leaves me feeling gut punched.I guess they lurk here and then use any discussion here for fodder to prove liberal/socialist superiority.(maybe I'm overstating it).Anyway I can't quite put into words how I feel.I think I may give up this whole forum thing too.I checked in here around lunch and during breaks from working on the farm.I spent more time than I should have in the evenings as well.I may put a post up explaining my thoughts and feelings on this later after I have given this some thought.If you want to get an idea of what I mean check the archives on Forum ,etc. at BTS and you will see what I mean.I get the feeling that some of them think one of us may have been launching virus attacks against them from here or CS.

-- greg (, May 12, 2001.

It's under the JOJ foundation question thread, Greg.

I'm sorry you left us feeling gut-punched. Yes, I - and others, lurk here; but not so that we can feel superior and talk about y'all later on. We do it because we miss the wealth of information and experience that we lost when the forums split, not to mention some of the folks that we grew to consider as friends over on CS. Several of us were the victims of attacks on our computer systems that seem to have originated from folks on Countryside. For a long time, Countryside was the only forum I visited and posted to, and no-one else outside of my family and a few friends had my e-mail addy; I just couldn't figure out where else the garbage was coming from. And while some of the hate mail and porno spam came anonymously, several e-mail addresses were recognisable.

Further, some of us know that we have a slightly warped sense of humor and that other folks sometimes take offense where none was intended - so we save it for a place where we feel safe unleashing it, at BTS. I think that the rifle propped in the corner by the front door pretty well lets me out of the leftist designation and I know darn sure some of my patients would dispute the touch-feely - but I still got a kick out of being described that way. What I said about the warped sense of humor, I guess.

Again, I'm sorry that something we did left you feeling bad.

-- Polly (, May 12, 2001.

Polly, thank you for posting.Why appologize for something that you personally did not do?I was somewhat appalled by the sorts of things being said by "tolerent" people.The us and them thing really surprized me as well as the sentiment that one of the posters here would be low enough to send people malicious code.The mean people appelation here was started by me as a joke.Too bad it was just too easy a target to jump on.Anyone that is posting at BTS would be welcome here.They should not expect that every political or philosophical idea will be instantly shared and not debated.Personally I have defended the rights of both christians as well as pagans et al to believe what they will.What I won't defend is shoving those cosmologies down my throat or anyone elses.I'm not particularly hung up on religion one way or the other.If folk from BTS feel threatened they shouldn't.Most of the people here would not tolerate personal attacks on them for their veiws.Doreeen will tell you this board was started because of a delete if you disagree mentality on Country Side.Not to have a forum for ultra right wing Rush clones.No one here wants to go block busting at BTS.I find it odd that we are of such interest to the folks over there.

-- greg (, May 12, 2001.

I apologized because I felt that I must have done something to make you feel bad from your statement "the whole thing leaves me feeling gut punched". As the whole is the sum of it's parts; and I am most certainly a part of BTS - and because I made some jokes about the touchy feely thing; I felt that I may have caused you pain.

I'm not sure why you find it odd that the postings here are of interest to us - I'm interested in rainfall and drought, metal roofs, foundations, goats and many of the other postings. After all, didn't most of us come here from Countryside?, so we obviously had interests in common before now. I don't feel threatened here - I shouldn't, should I?, as I surely don't pose a threat to anyone here. I only began lurking here recently as I did not know that this forum existed - I must have pretty much already jumped ship at Countryside before you started here. I didn't post until I felt that it wouldn't offend anyone to see my name here. Or most folks, anyway.

However, I still think it is a good thing for us to have two - or three different forums to go to...I love my Aunt 'Retta's fried chicken, but I'm sure she'd get tired of seeing my face at her table on a daily basis; and I would miss home and the way I can slop around in my jammies all day. Same thing here; different behaviors for different situations (code switching?). So you all come visit; and I will too - and I'll be on my "company" behavior while I'm here.

-- Polly (, May 13, 2001.

Well, I've been off the forum for a few days and it appears I'd missed something. I think the impersonal nature of the internet helps lead us to misunderstandings. We all have different backgrounds and different terms and use them differently. We also all have different senses of humor. It is a shame that it is sometimes so difficult to tell whether the comment is made tongue in cheek or is intended as an insult. I personally try to give people the benefit of the doubt unless there just is no doubt at all about the intent. It would be a shame to see anyone stop posting. Also I think we must all realize that everyone, no matter what color, race, religion or creed, is prejudiced about something. No matter how hard we may try to not be prejudiced we will be anyway. This prejudice may spring from our upbringing or from our own personal experience, but at any rate no one is exempt from the prejudiced condition. All any of us can do is try to be aware of our prejudices, and remind ourselves that there are always exceptions to everything and try to overcome our own biases. I just try to work on myself and improve myself, I won't have time to be so terribly concerned with anyone else's faults. I have plenty of my own!!!

-- Green (, May 13, 2001.

Oh, Polly, some of the email providers apparently sell the addresses although I don't think any of the own up to it. I know that I have two hotmail accounts, and both of them are full of porn all the time. One of them has only been used once, as I set it up to deal only with realtors, and have only contacted one of them but the porn started up almost as soon as the account did.

-- Green (, May 13, 2001.

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