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Thread: Site Preparation Questions

  1. #1
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    Default Site Preparation Questions

    I have 3 acres accessible by road up Willow/Sheep Creek way and I am going to start my cabin project soon. I have my drive way and cabin area cleared. There is about about 24" of peat moss like top soil below which is fist sized glacial scree. I am told I need to remove the top soil and get down to the rock base and hual in smaller gravel to build on. I've watch the property for two seasons now and the top soil does hold water longer than I'd like in the spring. Anyone one have input or recommendations on this matter. Also, should I have the well put in prior to clearing the top soil and putting gravel down? Thanks!!

  2. #2

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    One way would be to bring some equipment and go to a area that you will not use and mine your own gravel filling that hole with the overburden that you remove . When filling the hole if enough material is there bring that area about three feet higer than the surrounding area as you will have sinking in that area as the material rots and settles . If the material that you mine is not good enough then have the right material hauled in to top off the pad area. Good Luck

  3. #3
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    First question I would have is what are you building? Slab on grade? Pilings?

    Assuming you are planning on a slab on grade : Im not sure what you mean by "fist size glacial scree" when you say glacial, does it have silty material in it? If so, you may need to go deeper and fill it with non frost susceptible (NFS) material (ie gravel) to keep it from frost heaving.

    Are you in an area with mostly black spruce? or do you have alot of birch? That will tell you a bit about what kind of soils/drainage are present.

    I agree with BigBend on mining gravel onsite if its available. That is alot cheaper than hauling it in unless there is a pit very close by.

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    Thanks, I sure appreciated your input. You know any equipment operators out Willow way?

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    Thank you for your response!! I was going to put the cabin on piers that would be right on the gravel. I'M not against a slab but thought piers would be cheaper and easier.
    I have as many birch trees as black spruce on the property. Except for the cleared area it is flat and heavily wooded
    When I dig down through the 24" of top soil I run into gravel that is tennis ball to fist size. I did several exploration digs and it was the same all over the property. The gavel goes down as far as I could dig. Should digging the water well work precede the gravel work??

  6. #6
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Alot of the possibilities are a function of money, how much time you will spend there, and how much "impact" you want to make on the site. Once you start mining gravel, running dozers, bringin in concrete trucks for a slab, etc, you will typically end up having to blade the top surface flat and plant grass or something to finish it off.

    The other (cheaper) way to do it is to cut the stumps flush to the ground and lay Typar down right on the topsoil. Have someone haul in 6-8" of gravel and level it over the typar for your driveway. Then use posts or piers to build the cabin on. Just dig down to good gravel and set the posts on that, or fill the post holes up the top and put the piers on grade. How you do it should also depend on the size of the building of course. A 16x16 cabin doesnt require anywhere near the foundation of a larger building.

    I should add that I'm not a contractor nor do I claim to be an expert by any means. I'm just a guy with an opinion who lives in that area and has done it myself.

    You dont have enough posts to get PM's yet, and I'm no expert on who's good or bad. I will say that Newmans Hilltop can supply gravel and there are a number of pits locally. There are also a lot of locals with dozers or backhoes who could do a fine job. Some of whom I'd gladly recommend. I'd rather not give out peoples names on the net since that turns into a mud slinging match alot of times.

    Good luck.

  7. #7

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    dkwarthog, If he is going to drill a well he will need more tha 6" to 8" of gravel to get a rig in as they are heavy (like real Heavy) The Typar is a great idea except for something like the drill rig. He could ck. with Newmans on who he would recommend.

  8. #8
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    BB, you might be right in some cases, but if you put down the typar on top of the mossy vegetation mat, then put down the gravel, he would not be likely to have any problems with a well rig. The key is NOT TO DISTURB the mat, cut the stumps flush to the ground as low as you can. Once you scrape off the mat or pull up stump wads you are hosed.

    I have about 5 feet of clay/silt/loam just below the vegetation mat. We brought in a well rig, 3 concrete trucks with a pumper, multiple loads of lumber delivered, etc. The driveway barely flexed. We had to put down a load or two of gravel and dozer it all flat again after all the heavy rigs were done driving it. We've brought in 3 more concrete trucks since then and it's still in great shape 8 years later.

  9. #9
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    Default Project done

    Ended up having Newman's put down Typar topped with packed gravel about surrounding grade. Turned out nice. He does good work!
    I'm going to let it settle this winter and build on it next year.

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