What caused erosion?

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by slabbernoob, May 18, 2008.

  1. slabbernoob

    slabbernoob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I am a homeowner living in a house just 5 feet from the next house, which is a rental. The area between the houses is a concrete walkway. Now the end of the walkway has collapsed after the neighbor's kid and their friends jumped and stomped on it after discovering a small hole in the pavement. Now there's a hole there that's 3 feet wide, and 1.5 feet deep. I contacted the landlord who basically called me a liar when I told him what I saw happen, and then I called the police to file a report about the damage in case it becomes a legal issue. He then contacted the health department who came out and looked at it. He said that it looks like the soil beneath the concrete was undermined because of water coming off my roof. However, my roof is much longer than the eroded area and there are no valleys on that part of my roof (the corner) to cause rainwater to concentrate on that area, and no erosion is taking place anywhere else. Now, I have noticed that the neighbor's backyard is on a slight incline toward this area, and where the backyard ends, so does the sloping, and the concrete area begins. That's also right where the undermined area begins, and it crosses his property line over to mine and ends at the foundation of my house, which is now exposed.

    That's about all the information I can think of to give you. My question is: Would water coming off my roof be enough to cause what I've described? Would water running off my neighbor's backyard cause it? (BTW, the slope in my neighbor's yard is 26' long, and the elevation drop from top to bottom is 2.5', just so you know how big it is).

    Where the erosion is sort of resembles a sinkhole. I can't think of anything that could cause it except water runoff, but I wanted to ask the experts here for their opinions. You're more knowledgable about this stuff than me!
  2. KTM

    KTM LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 492

    How old are the houses? it could be settling ground after all the moisture we have had in the last 9 months. The sewer and water lateral or a utility wire could have been ran there and the ground finally settled. I have seen this happen on houses 20 years old, I just fixed a sidewalk the other day from this too.
  3. slabbernoob

    slabbernoob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    You asked how old the houses are. Are you sitting down right now? Good! The houses are 122 years old! They were both built in 1886, according to the records. I was told that houses that old were built much better than they are now, and that after all this time, I shouldn't have to worry about the structure too much. But when I look into the hole at my exposed foundation, I noticed a big piece of it missing in the corner. Who knows if anything else is missing anywhere else. Where this piece is missing, there is sand there, which is different from all the other dirt in the area.

    I just called a couple contractors, but they don't know when they'll be able to take a look. Possibly tomorrow. I'll try to let you know what they say. I just wanted to ask here and elsewhere first to know what I should tell the contractors to focus on as far as fault and repair work that needs to be done.
  4. White Gardens

    White Gardens LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,776

    Try to upload some pics, and ya, let us know what you find. What kind of foundation is it. Block, stone, ect.

    Also, do you have a basement? I would think if you had a blow out, you would know.

    I think your going to have a lot of problems finding anybody at fault. As a homeowner you have every right to raise the elevation of your property so you don't get the neighbor's runoff, or to install a drain tile to eliminate erosion.
  5. 44DCNF

    44DCNF LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,478

    Old homes like that generally had the gutters empty in to a cistern via drain tiles at the corner of the foundation/at each downspout. It sounds like you might have a sinkhole where the soil has washed into the gravel of an underground trench belonging to an existing run of pipe(water, gas ,or drain tiles - whether foundation drains or gutter.
  6. slabbernoob

    slabbernoob LawnSite Member
    Messages: 5

    I had someone come out from the water dept. to see if it was caused by a broken water/sewer pipe or any kind of drain. It wasn't.

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