footings/foundations

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footings/foundations

Postby jerryg » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:22 pm

Somewhere on this site (DSWA, see under reports/miscellaneous) there is an old paper written in 1849 that says that the footings should be laid on the "natural sward" ie don't bother digging a ditch to put them in.

We had a discussion about this on the old site, just wondered what people thought.


If a wall is built in this way then it will probably settle into the ground snugly over time. I happen to believe that most old walls were built in this way. I can't see my ancestors collecting all that stone AND digging all those ditches all over the place, to lose their footings in.

Remember a lot of the walls up our way go up very steep hills, through bogs, across slopes, alongside rivers, over bedrock and big boulders etc, can you see those poor wallers digging foundations?
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Postby Shirley M Addy » Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:21 pm

I understood that foundations should be laid on clayly soil, that is the loose soil dug away until clay appeared. In most cases, this would result in at least a shallow ditch.
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Postby Gary Muir » Wed Nov 07, 2007 8:47 am

Hi JerryG,
I am quite interested in the replies to this topic, and agree with Shirley that in most cases the top soil needs removing to bed the footings into the harder clay level to prevent subsidence and adverse movement in settling.
Interesting subject, looking forward to more views on this one.
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foundations

Postby donald » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:46 pm

Generally, a foundation "trench" is simply removing the organic matter, ie grass turf then building on the soil under, you definitely don't want to dig down to clay!
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Postby Carole » Fri Nov 30, 2007 11:02 pm

And what if there is no clay or it is very deep?

Mick Walsh, a member of my branch posted that old article, he still has the original copy.


If there is roughly a ton of stone per running yard the ground will soon be compact enough I reckon.
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Postby stonewaller » Thu Dec 06, 2007 12:31 pm

Following a request elsewhere on this site by Tracey B I`ve put some notes on settlement on my website (too long to post here)

There is some mention on depth of trenches in that.
Click on the view website button, enter, books, articles, bottom of page under unpublished. Click. Enjoy might be asking a bit much.

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Postby Charlie » Thu Dec 06, 2007 9:34 pm

Is there any significant frost heave in the UK. Maybe in Scotland and if so how deep should the founds be then?
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Postby stonewaller » Fri Dec 07, 2007 5:36 pm

Very good point, I`d completely forgotten about it when I drew up my notes. Slowly going senile.

Had a lad from Vermont working with me a couple of years back doing his college internship. He had some interesting observations to make about walling in the cold. Produced a good article for our Branch Magazine. I have spare copies which I could post (physically rather than electronically) or could email a word copy to anyone whos interested. Just email me.

Don`t know anything about how its tackled in Britain though

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footings

Postby jerryg » Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:16 pm

Is the only reason footings are put down a trench to make it so you don't lay the stones on the grass?
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Postby Shirley M Addy » Wed Dec 12, 2007 8:32 pm

I suppose so, as grass grows on the topsoil which needs to be removed. I've rebuilt walls on very shallow or non-existent trenches where there was no topsoil left or ground was too compacted to sink any further. I suspect trenches are sometimes a byproduct of removing loose topsoil. Many trenches at old walls may have been made from accumulations of decades of soil, rather than deliberate digging.
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Re: footings/foundations

Postby waller 69 » Thu Jan 13, 2011 8:40 pm

two reasons to dig in (no it dont have to be deep): your looking for sound ground, it stops the base spreading!!!!!i will explain if i have to but i knew this in puberty.....
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Re: footings/foundations

Postby waller 69 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 6:44 pm

come on you lot, i keep fishing but i`m getting no bites.....wallings been going on for thousands of years (well hundreds anyway). to dig a trench requires a lot of effort, all the old walls had trenches if possible, they used trial and error,and decided that was best, why?????
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Re: footings/foundations

Postby GregLee » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:06 pm

I have used a little excavator to dig a shallow trench. It may seem expensive but they can do a lot of trench in a short time, just scraping away the grass and topsoil with a flat edge bucket. It also gives you something to follow if the wall is to be curved.
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Re: footings/foundations

Postby jerryg » Sun Jan 16, 2011 12:02 am

waller 69 wrote:s**t , two reasons to dig in (no it dont have to be deep): your looking for sound ground, it stops the base spreading!!!!!i will explain if i have to but i knew this in puberty.....


I can't accept that ditches are dug to stop the wall spreading.

It the ditch is to stop the wall spreading then how come all the walls I build on bedrock don't spread, and some of the best and most longlasting walls we've got up here in the mountains are built straight on to bedrock, sometimes sloping bedrock too.

It'd also be pointless of Tracy and co building straight onto tarmac or concrete.

I have built walls across bogs too where it is impossible to dig a ditch
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Re: footings/foundations

Postby waller 69 » Sun Jan 16, 2011 11:55 am

now we`re cooking :) I have always looked at bedrock as a natural base, if it was going anywhere it would have done so by now and to be fair why would you take a perfectly good piece of stone out(even if you could) just to replace it with another? the only problem i can imagine is with bedrock above ground that is weathered smooth thus not giving the natural key that you would like to wall on. tarmac is easy, i just use 3/4 or better in the first course, its grippy so it seems to work, only real time will tell,20+ years isn`t long enough to be sure..i still have issues with concrete,not as a substance to wall off, more to do with its durability and poor use. never walled in a bog but would be very interested to know how its done, i have some ideas but without the experience they are just ideas...by the way, i have done a few in rivers and you can`t properly dig out for them either, still lifes never perfect...
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