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Foundations for building on sand?  RSS feed

 
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I was thinking about building an earthbag home, but the area I want to build on is very sandy. I don't think a rubble trench foundation would work for my location and I'm almost positive the city inspectors would not allow it. I talked to a couple builder friends about it and one said that nothing short of a 10 ft deep slab of concrete would be acceptable, the other said that a layer of rubble covered by a rebar mesh and then concrete might work.

Do you guys have any ideas or experience on what I can do for a foundation in this sandy soil?
 
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Have you investigated a raised pillar foundation ?
 
Roman Triano
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I've heard of it, but I kinda assumed that having to build a raised floor over it would add to my costs so I didn't consider it. Is it a good alternative?

Maybe I shouldn't have ruled out rubble trench so quickly, but I just don't know whether it is appropriate for sandy soil in terms of stability.
 
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Location: Swanton OH
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Roman
Are you worried the rubble in the trench wont stay under the walls? I dont see why the sand wouldnt be supportive as packed sand doesnt have much give.

Im just about the start a shed project and have almost all sand but am forgoing the foundation as its just a shed.
 
Roman Triano
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I have to admit that I am not an experienced builder so I don't exactly know what to expect. I'm concerned mostly about settlement. I've heard that sand can have a relatively low load bearing capacity and my site is basically on top of a small sand dune.
 
A Bowen
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Location: Swanton OH
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After re-reading your comment if the city inspector would not approve a rubble trench then what would they approve? Are you just looking for alternatives to a traditional concrete slab?

I cant say I have much home building or earthbag building experience but Ive been around construction for a long time and its probably worth a few calls to the AHJ and some builders/concrete companies. They should have a 'home built on a sand dune' example in the past. All the sand in NW Ohio is flat sand so maybe its more of an issue with shifting and moving.
 
Roman Triano
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Overall, I am looking for an inexpensive alternative to a concrete slab and hopefully one that I would not need much expert help constructing. Rubble trench seems like the best option for fulfilling those requirements, but if it isn't feasible I was wondering if there was an other alternative.

I will talk talk to some builders and ask if they've seen any examples. Thanks for your help!
 
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A Man's Got to Do, What A Man's Got to Do,
So if your going to build anything , 1st, have a proper foundation.

If the area is as I perceive it, "very sandy" a floating slab might work. Also, a gravel base build up can be engineered to make for stabilized foundations, so don't rule out the gravel foundation, totally.

Have you hired a structural engineer ? As your most likely going to need one, if you build an earthbag style house in an inspected location anyway.

Hope that helps.

Best Regards,
Joe Woodall, Architect
Georgia Adobe Ecoitecture
http://www.georgiaadobe.com
 
Roman Triano
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Much appreciated Joe!

 
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