View Full Version : Filling in basement

08-07-2000, 03:17 PM
Not really a landscaping question, but I have an older customer whose husband (now deceased) attempted to hand dig a basement under her house years ago. It is a cape style house which only had a 2-3' crawl space underneath the whole house. Her husband didn't get too far before he realized it wasn't going to happen. The problem now is that the hole he did create which allows a person to literally stand underneath the house needs to be filled in as the foundation began to settle and the hole fills with water. The settling problem was fixed with concrete by another contractor, but the water still collects in the hole. The woman had a sump put in to handle that, but wants the hole filled in before she needs to soneday sell the home. My question is two-fold:

1) What should I use to fill the hole? I had originally thought of using fill dirt, but have been recently thinking of using sand as I won't have to deal with as much settling and it will be easier to get to the hole. The hole is probably 4' deep by 6' round. (To get to the hole you need to go down a fake storm cellar door and through a 2'x 3' opening. A real pain in the ass!!!) I'm figuring close to 5 or 6 cubic yards of whatever material I use.

2. The woman wants to put the sump back in once I fill the hole, but I don't believe that this is necessary as once the hole is filled, there will be no reason for water to collect.

Thanks for any input!


P.S. The house is located in south jersey so the soils are sandy already.

08-07-2000, 10:35 PM
The cost might be prohibitive, but check with a Redi-Mix concrete supplier about "flowable fill". Should be possible to chute it or pump it into the hole.

08-07-2000, 10:52 PM
Alan is right, get with the local ready mix company and have them bring a pumper truck if they need to. Thats the way to go on this one!! The extra cost of the material will be gained back in the labor. Sounds like mission impossible if you plan on carting all that fill down there. The concrete will be the fastest and strongest way to go on this. If you do end up using fill, use a large Ballast rock.

Let us know what happens!!

08-08-2000, 09:26 AM
Thanks guys! I had thought of using that, but the woman said it was too much $$$. I'm going to look into it because I was already figuring $1k for labor and fill. Most of the $$$ was for labor obviously.

08-09-2000, 10:04 AM
I would use the recycled asphalt thats left over when they grind the roadways; it packs nicely, is inexpensive when compared to soil or sand, and will permit drainage (evidently water gets in, if the hole is filled with water. It also has no odor, like sand, so during damp periods the house wont smell like a barnyard.

08-10-2000, 01:28 AM
Second the flowable fill, seen it go in once, nice, easy, no headaches later it seems. Good luck, let us know how it goes

08-10-2000, 09:14 PM
I never want to retire! the guy was so bored he decided to dig his own basement by hand! lol! Alot of my neighbors are retired and seem so bored.... one couple roates the position sof there cars 4 times a day.... another neighbor go to difrent super markets all day looking for bargains! im working till i drop dead!

08-10-2000, 10:39 PM
I wouldn't use the millings (recycled asphalt). I use it all of the time (we have it as our parking lot and yard area - about 800 cubic yards worth), and when it gets hot it smells. Then, it hardens and does NOT permit water to get through. I would check with materials engineer to find out what is suitable and will allow the proper drainage. I'd be worried about future liability though, and if you do the job, maybe put a disclaimer in about the water problem. Furthermore, try to find a way to put the sump back in, maybe use a drywell, and be sure to pump it to the storm drains, otherwise you'll get in trouble when she tries to sell the house (just my two cents). I think you could use crushed concrete and brick (recycled aggregate) with low asphalt content. That will compact and drain. Maybe bank run gravel - 1 1/2 minus can probably be moved in easily.

08-10-2000, 10:42 PM

I remember one day doing leaves, the neighbor was out in the yard with a pair of needle nose pliers and a 5 gallon pail, when I asked what he was doing he said picking up the stems from the leaves!!! I told him he oughta take up a hobby like wife beating or something, he told me after 53 years he had that down pat!

08-26-2000, 07:44 AM
just thought I may share a thought on recycled asphalt or fill with asphalt.here in Massachusetts it is considered to be hazardous waste. I remember working with a contractor who was lucky enough to get free fill from a Boston construction site.He backfilled the entire lot with the crap and couldn't sell the house until every bit of it was removed and hauled up to Maine.Cost him over 10,000 dollars and lost time.He still had to buy the fill he needed originally.Watch Out!!!

08-26-2000, 10:11 PM
Seems to me that this could be one of those projects that could end up taking a major bite out of your posterior. Sounds like you are going to assume a long term liability with the water problem, as well as argue about $. Why bother?

08-29-2000, 12:36 PM
Try the sand ,maybe put a tile or pipe in the hole so water can be pumped out,then wet down the sand to settle it.This most likely won't be any wetter than flowable fill.This hole is not very big so if you dont like that idea,1 inch clean limestone does not need to be compacted,it can just be put in.Sometimes if there is access a readimix truck can be loaded with either and put through a small opening and as long as there is enough slope the sand and rock will run into the hole. If another contractor has already fixed the settling problem and all you are doing is filling a hole I don't think you have a problem, and I would use what ever is cheapest