Foundation

Published on July 28th, 2015 | by Henri

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Patio starting to slope toward house

Q.  We have a patio in the back of our house. Part of it is starting to slope toward the house. (There is landscaping between the concrete and the house.)

We need to replace a piece that was taken out last fall to install a type of piping leading from the gutter downspouts underground and to take it away from the house. We did this because one of the downspouts in particular would overflow and come up over the spout and spill toward the house in huge puddles if the rain was too hard.  We assumed there was a clog in the previously installed flexible drain tile installed.

Now we have asked 2 concrete companies to come out and give us a quote on replacing the piece already removed and the piece that slopes inward toward the house. One guy tells us not to concrete the complete patio all the way up to the foundation, especially if we worry about water getting in to our completely finished basement because the soil distributes water and concrete won’t absorb it so the water (and snow) will sit there.

The other guy tells us we should concrete all the way to the house including affixing it with pins to the foundation but using something to allow it to rise and fall with the weather.  Which one is right? Should we leave the landscaping around the house as a buffer or concrete all the way up to the house?

A.  The reason part of the patio is sloping toward the house is very likely due to the fact that, over time, the water that gushed over the gutter from the clogged downspout saturated the soil close to the house and caused it to settle. As it sank, the concrete went with it. If the work you did to correct the clogged gutter problem has solved it, you should have the soil in the affected area compacted (you can rent a compacter and do it yourselves). Add more soil as needed to re-establish a positive grade away from the foundation.

If the section of concrete that has tilted is in good shape and not too big, it may be able to be lifted, soil put in and compacted underneath, and lowered back. Or it may be best to replace it. Not knowing the entire history of any seasonal movement of your patio, and the composition of the soil underneath it, I think it is best not to take the concrete all the way to the house. This way, you won’t have to worry about the effect the seasons will have on the attachment to the house.

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