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-   -   Probably the dumbest idea I have ever had (http://www.houserepairtalk.com/f32/probably-dumbest-idea-i-have-ever-had-3123/)

dakuda 11-20-2007 09:55 PM

Probably the dumbest idea I have ever had
 
I currently have a 4' crawlspace w/a dirt floor. My house is 25' deep and 40' wide, roughly. The main beam is about 12 feet from each wall (front and back). Here is my stupid idea:

I would like some type of below house storage and a better place for my washer/dryer/water heater/furnace/etc. Can I just dig down another 4' in an 8' x 15' area (away from the foundation) and just put in a concrete floor and use some forms to build up some walls to hold back the dirt? I would then probably just frame some walls (about 3-4' to the existing floor joists) above the formed areas. THis would basically let me move my utility room to a basement and allow for some needed storage. None of the existing pipes. electrical, ducts would be moved (except to reconnect the appliances) Heck, I would happy with only 6' of headroom there, for as often as it would be used.


Like I said, my dumbest idea ever: but is it possible, if I am patient enough to dig the darn thing out?

Heck, I rewired the house, upped the power from 60 to 200A, ran 100A to the detached garage and wired all of that, redid the walls in the house, gutted the bathroom, among other things. Other then moving dirt, this should be manageable. right?

travelover 11-21-2007 07:29 AM

What you are suggesting is basically a partial basement. I'd discuss it with your local building department and see what requirements you would need to meet -or look up code on line. One issue that I can think of is drainage around the area below ground.

When I was buying, I looked at a house that had this arrangement with the furnace below grade.

glennjanie 11-21-2007 10:07 AM

Hello Dakuda:
I'm not familliar with your soil conditions there but your idea sounds great! I would keep the digging 3' from the foundation and piers and get the reinforced concreted placed back as soon as possible.
Post some pictures as you progress, please.
Glenn

dakuda 11-22-2007 08:26 PM

I called my little brother. He built houses for a few years as a residential construction manager and is now a project manager for a $1b company in Chicago. He said it is feasible and not too terrible of an idea. He did say that if I do it, I should make it larger. I could pour new piers for the support posts next to the existing ones. Makes sense to me. The hardest part is punching down that first 5x5 hole to grow from. As long as my back doesn't kill me, this may be doable. Next time he is out this way, we are gonna go down there and take a look.

He also said that he is busy every day I decide to dig, if it gets that far.

travelover 11-23-2007 07:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dakuda (Post 12697)
I called my little brother. ..............

He also said that he is busy every day I decide to dig, if it gets that far.


Sounds like a smart guy! :)

inspectorD 11-25-2007 04:57 PM

Just a rule of thumb
 
When you dig near foundation piers or footings, you can not dig anywhere under the 45 degrees of the lowest part of the footing. This area needs undisturbed soil for compression underneath to support what it is holding up.
I think I may have even confused myself..:D
Basically from a 45 from the bottom of the piers, do not excavate..
And be safe, if your dirt starts to cave in or a pier is starting to move a little , stop and brace it in any way you can.
My first stop would be at the library...for a book with pictures.

I did this to my first home where I installed the water heater, boiler, well pump and tank in this area. It was the best thing I could have done.:D Be ready for lots of asprin.

dakuda 11-26-2007 07:14 PM

The 45 degree thing I am already well enough aware of. Thanks. NO piers for the foundation -- it is all footings.

THe only piers are the supports for the main beam all the floor joists go into. I should be able to put in a supplemental support right next to it.

I am leaning towards this now, just for the damn mechanicals and soe storage. this house has zero storage

ToolGuy 11-28-2007 02:37 AM

Sounds like a great idea but I didn't see any mention of a sump pump. I'm no expert on these matters but it seems like it wouldn't be a bad idea to have one. Maybe ever perimeter drainage runnig to the sump pump as well.

Just a thought. ;)

inspectorD 11-29-2007 06:14 AM

Nice catch..
 
Pump is a must. Otherwise it is just a swimming pool if you get water.
A better way is if you can install a gravity drain to the outside, with screening for those unwanted nonrent payers.
Also a dehumidifier in the summer is a must, to keep those mechanicals from rusting to bad.

Just a thought ...there are vacumn dirt pumps out there if you dont want to dig by hand. A company comes with a truck and you can actually suck up 6 inch rocks with this thing. Just keep your feet out of the way.:eek:

travelover 11-29-2007 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by inspectorD (Post 12896)
...........................
Just a thought ...there are vacumn dirt pumps out there if you dont want to dig by hand. A company comes with a truck and you can actually suck up 6 inch rocks with this thing. Just keep your feet out of the way.:eek:

I think they use these for prairie dogs out west........


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