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September 02, 2014, 01:50:54 PM *
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Author Topic: Grading - do you ever recommend an evaluation by a specialist?  (Read 4582 times)
Mike Krueger
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« on: May 05, 2012, 09:48:20 PM »

Hello all,
I just had an inspection with a grading issue.  This was a 9 year old ranch home with a full unfinished poured basement.  There was one small wall crack in the back wall that had been recently sealed.  The crack went from the bottom corner of the window to the floor.  No evidence of moisture anywhere.    The owner said they bought the house new and the crack was there.  There was a slight grade in the back yard from the house out about 16 - 20 feet for about half the length of the house.  The soil was up to the vinyl siding so it wasn't going to be a simple just add top soil and slope it away job.   
The grade on the side of the house appeared to be flat.  The top soil was right up to the siding there too.  The neighbor's house was about 3 feet higher (12 feet away).  Would you recommend an evaluation by a specialist or just note what you saw?
Would you ever recommend an evaluation by a specialist for a grading issue?
Thank you
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Cameron Anderson
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 10:16:36 PM »

No, because it literally is just a "weak mind, strong back" type of correction. If it involved more than just shoveling dirt, like say a retaining wall or drainage system, then I would suggest a landscape contractor but that doesn't even rate as much of a "specialist". You should at least suggest a correction, but I wouldn't feel obligated to say who should do the work.
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Mike Krueger
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« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2012, 06:50:50 AM »

Hey Cameron,

How would you suggest correcting this issue if the soil is already up to the vinyl siding?

Thank you 
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David A. Andersen
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 09:11:24 AM »

"Would you recommend an evaluation by a specialist or just note what you saw?
Would you ever recommend an evaluation by a specialist for a grading issue?
Thank you "

It doesn't need "evaluation", it needs to be "fixed"!

As you make it seem that the grade can not raise against the house, than it needs to go down in the middle and sub-surface drainage installed.
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Cameron Anderson
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 10:07:07 AM »

Ditto what David suggested. They would have to shave off or dig out to create a shallow ditch known as a swale, which would redirect water around the home. Not every situation has a perfect solution, and the more complicated it would be to direct water away the more likely it is they will need more than just a change in soil level. It may seem over the top to suggest they need to move yards and yards of dirt, but that's the result you get when the final grading done by the landscape contractor is performed with no thought to site drainage.
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Mike Krueger
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2012, 02:09:03 PM »

Thank you for your answers. 

The reason I asked is because I recommended a specialist take a look at the yard grading to give my clients a good idea of what is going to be involved to correct the issue and how much it will cost them.  The listing agent had a cow.  Re-grading/excavating can be expensive. 
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David A. Andersen
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« Reply #6 on: May 07, 2012, 07:42:16 AM »

Screw the listing agent. The work is not that big of a deal.

Damage to the building "IS".

If there are no water intrusion problems, this is less of a problem and just something that needs to be monitored.

If there is water intrusion, it must be corrected at its source, not by adding $17,000 worth of interior drainage work!
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Michael A Clark
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 09:39:28 PM »

sounds like a simple french drain, which is fairly inexpensive, could correct this issue, or prevent it from becoming one.
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« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2012, 11:35:08 AM »

I know I'm late for the party , but Mike this type of issue is common just like planting to close to foundation, flowers like shrubs should be a min of 12 in and trees at least 20 ft not a good idea to be watering the foundation unless a soil engineer wants that, but if you see a area where the soil is separating from the foundation , or depressed areas , these could be clues to a subsoil soil problem
grading however is for the most part a diy project
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« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2012, 04:02:54 PM »

Mike, you mention the grade was right up to the bottom of the siding. Current requirements call for siding to be at least 6" above grade.
Answer to recommending a specialist- I wouldn't recommend a specialist. I am a specialist as an inspector for grading purposes. I know if the grading, drainage is correct. If it's not I call it out as deficient and that corrections are needed. It's not like needing a licensed electrician for further evaluation.
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