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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2013

    Default Building New on Burned out lot

    We've found a piece of property that still has the remnants of a house that burned to the ground. The entire basement foundation is still there, but it's damaged and unusable, so we'd need to remove it to rebuild. What are the risks of removing that basement foundation and putting in a new one in the same spot? Is it recommended to dig deeper than the original foundation to reach undisturbed ground? Should we consider using a wood, block or poured wall foundation for the new structure because of this situation? Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Building New on Burned out lot

    Footings should always bear on undisturbed soil or engineered fill. Block or concrete foundations are your choice. I would never use wood.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007

    Default Re: Building New on Burned out lot

    It is good that you know the foundation is unstable and needs to be replaced. Heat kills cement.

    As Ed said, the foundation must be placed on undisturbed ground, so you may have to go slightly deeper if your demolition contractor isn't careful. What are the odds that your new home will be the exact same footprint as the one that burned? Odds are, it will be different, so when you are collecting bids (or your general contractor is ) for the demolition and replacement of the footings, all this will be taken into account.

    We can only give you rough ideas of what to expect, it will take local contractors, on site, to give you specific details of what needs to happen. Good luck, and please, report back with your progress.
    Come to Hidden Content for all your DIY needs

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008

    Default Re: Building New on Burned out lot

    Since you don't know what is under the original foundation (or slab as may be), nor do you know what said slab or foundation is really like, it has to go. If you simply remove the old slab you still won't know that the soil underneath has not been disturbed.

    The only way to know what's down there is to either dig till you're sure you're positively past anything anyone did there in the last 30 years or to call in a soil testing engineer. They've got some nice "toys" that can check the soil density and load-bearing ability with certainty, and if it needs nothing (which is likely) you save on excavating where you don't need it and have a nice flat spot to start with instead of having to make one.

    Can't relate a cost, it's been decades since I was around them, but these guys know more about foundations and concrete than any residential builder does so 'pick their brains' for recommendations on that stuff while they're out there and you'll be glad you did!


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