House construction starts really fast, so it is always an adventure for me when I turn down the street to see how the new house project is coming along.
With the 1950’s house removed and the building site staked out, it is time to call in the loader and excavator to dig a basement. Typical inn Northern Virginia home construction, this home will have a finished basement that “walks-out” to the back yard. In my estimate, 95% of houses here have a basement.
Bad soil can be expensive
If you have never built a home before then you might be interested to know that all soil is not created equally. Until the excavation equipment starts digging the hole which can be twelve feet deep, it is anyone’s best guess what the subterranean soil will yield.The old house may have only gone down six feet and, being only one story, didn’t concentrate too much weight on the ground.
Anyone who is planning to “build on your own lot” with one of those DIY companies needs to keep reading. Yes, you who saw the sign at the bus stop and thought this would be an easy gig.
If they discover sandy soil or a clay like consistency to the soil, then they will have to keep digging until they hit build-able soil. And dig, and dig until the soil is stable.
That undesirable soil will need to be hauled away and then clean soil will have to be hauled in to fill in that super deep hole. Each truckload can be expensive and hopefully your builder will have another project with soil that can be used.
If you are doing a new house the DIY way, then you need to included an expense like this in your original budget. Extra excavation, hauling away soil, disposal fees, buying clean soil, hauling it in plus the extra cost of having the excavation equipment on site may add an expense of $10,000 to $30,000 to your project… and a delay in scheduling everything else.
We’ve got excellent soil!
Believe it or not, having excellent soil is good news to hear because now the concrete footers can be framed and poured. The footprint of the house will be carefully laid out on the freshly exposed dirt with a concrete frame molding that will be the footing for this new house.
To me, this always looks like a project I would have done as a kid in my back yard. With my neighbor Curtis, we used to dig trenches and walls getting thoroughly muddy ~ sorry Mom.
Concrete arrives in a timed series of trucks all on the same day.
As it arrives and and dumped into the concrete pumper , guys angle the extended hose into the mold which will begin the process of building foundation walls of steel reinforced concrete. If you look through the photos on the photo page then you can see the steel rebar that has been poked into the footers.
More on the foundation walls in the next post in this series.
As for that big pile of fresh dirt, it will actually be used around the perimeter of the house, under the future porch and in the garage.
Are you interested in seeing more photos?