At first I thought this was just for drainage, but then it occurred to me that tamping these layers would wedge progressively smaller stones between larger stones, thus stabilizing and distributing the load in a horizontal as well as vertical plane. Q: As I thought about your recommendations concerning the rubble footing/sand bag stem wall, something occurred to me that I wanted to check with you. A: I would recommend digging below frost level with a trench that is as wide as the bags and filling this with enough rubble or drain rock so that the first course of bags will be embedded several inches below grade level. I assume we would need to build up the foundation so it will not gather water but should we dig below ground level and use small rocks in the bags for the first 3 rows? In addition to the French drain, make sure any rainwater from your roof is directed away from the foundation of your home – you’d be surprised how much water can be eliminate that way.
Under that gravel, there is likely to be perforated drainage line, and if you were to go to the discharge end of the French drain, you would see the end of the perforated pipe. If you’re not sure about the pitch for the drain, then you can ask a professional or a surveyor to help you with that. Installation cost for a multiple-pipe, through-the-slab system would be about $900 to $2,500 if completed by a professional. However, if you have a finished basement, you’ll have to remove interior walls in order to install the system. French drains should not be used to control surface water that should be diverted from the surface before reaching deeper soils and potentially contributing to sub-surface water that the drain is attempting to remove. One way to deal with these kinds of soils is to utilize a rubble trench foundation. The sand is nice because it drains readily and therefore does not present a problem of frost upheaval, as would more expansive soils. Composite doors, with a timber interior finish and aluminium exterior frames are a popular option at present. If you are considering French doors because you feel they will fit in with your traditional-style home, timber will be the best option.
Timber French doors are the ideal addition to traditional style properties. Pocket patio doorsets, where all the glazed panels slide into the adjacent wall, are ideal if the situation and budget allow. Not every situation permits you to fold doors into the stack that comes with bi-folds and so sometimes sliding doors are more practical. They can be hung so that they open either inwards or outwards, and the configuration can be arranged so that all doors fold to one side or are split, which can be useful if you want a single ‘traffic door’ for daily use. Sliding doors run in a track within the floor and are divided into two or more panels, with one side fixed and the other ‘leaves’ sliding open in front of it. If it seems likely that this rubble trench will fill with water during heavy rains, then a French drain arrangement, where a perforated pipe embedded at the bottom of the foundation can collect the water and run it off to some “daylight” location away from the building, might be a good idea. The tracks they run in can be configured in a number of ways too, though most people seek to have a flush floor track so that the internal and external floor levels are the same, to create that unbroken feel.
On a more technical note, there are many ways of designing bi-folds. The need for a stem wall depends more on the building design than on the climate; the foundations described above would work fine in wet climates. The message you are getting is that you need to filter any water going into a pipe, single size gravel or other drain system. The excess water on your property tends to affect the condition if your house foundation and your septic system. Q: I am interested in building an earthbag home for my mother and stepfather however we are kind of stumped by the foundation portion. Earthbag structures do not really need a traditional concrete foundation, since the bags themselves become a sort of foundation. And yes, filling the first few courses of bags with gravel is a good idea to assure that moisture does not wick upward. You mentioned it was best to place a layer of large (4 inch) rocks at the bottom of the trench and then layer(s) of progressively smaller gravel until just above grade – then start the bags. You have decided you want some opening glazing within your house design, but what is the best way to go about this and how will your new doors open?