Foundation Theory: To touch, or not to touch?
August 7, 2012 7:32 PM Subscribe
ADA Residential Design Filter - Exterior Hardscape - The Sheltered Walkway. Can it touch the foundation, or not?
posted by halfbuckaroo to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
I'll keep it as short as possible. House built in 1955 with poured basement floors and solid cement block foundation walls which are exposed at least four feet and in some places eight feet above the existing grade, which will not fundamentally change. No wood or siding materials anywhere in or near those exposed areas. Basement is dry - foundation was done right - no/little evidence of shifting or settling and no attempt to make or disguise repairs. The inspector was giddy about it. The floor drains work, and are clear all the way down the sewer lines to the city lines.
Existing roof is being replaced with steel roofing system for fire insurance purposes and to extend the eaves 36" out from the existing wall line (no/little eaves now.) These will be guttered and the runoff directed to a cistern away from the house. I understand that the new steel system will weigh one-third to one-half as much as the existing roof, and shouldn't affect the foundation load in any negative way.
I would like to run hardscape right up to the foundation, forming a sheltered pathway under the eaves to the accessible entrances, I understand that it should slope away from the foundation, and ideally be semi-permeable. We are not proposing a solid concrete slab - more like interlocking pavers laid over sand and gravel.
My friend the contractor, who has been at this since the seventies, will have no part of it. He insists that it will be at least six inches away, and prefers twelve.
My friend the architect designed it to touch the foundation, and I would assume he and his engineers know what they are doing. Planning, approval and permits were issued based on his designs.
Google searches are inconclusive - about equally divided between "must not touch" and "of course it can touch."
Can someone patiently explain to me the logic of having six-twelve inches of dirt between the pavers and the foundation? There will be no foundation plantings.
The contractor and his employees need the work, and while he can be contrary, he's usually right more often than not. I can't imagine him just making it up out of whole cloth for no reason. Is this a case of too set in his ways, or is he "saving me from a big mistake?"
tl;dr - So, give me some ammo here, hive mind. Logic tells me to tell the contractor that he either does it the way it was drawn, or he's off the job. Or, should I have the architect play hard ball on him, i.e., if it's not done to spec, he's red-tagging the permit? Or, should I listen to what the contractor suggests?
Note: architect is LTF, contractor is LTF (and BFF's dad), beneficiary of updates is my mom. Emotional involvement level:117/100. Rational decision-making level: 0.3/100.