October 25 , 1998
Times, Bad Times - Rubble Trench Part II
What a difference a week can make. Russ called to let me know that he was out at our building site on Tuesday and completed the digging necessary to allow proper drainage of our rubble trench. Then on Friday, I arrived early in the morning and proceeded to clean out the trench from any cave-ins, wash-outs, etc. Russ arrived later in the afternoon with a load of gravel. By the time he arrived, I was just in the process of laying down the drain tile. The drain tile is actually a cloth covered, perforated 4" plastic pipe. This pipe helps drain water away from the trench to keep the rubble trench dry. By keeping the rubble trench dry, frost heaving cannot occur. The drain tile needed to be laid down around the entire perimeter of the trench, slightly sloping towards the outlet. The outlet is a non-perforated pipe that drains down an embankment out to the road. Any water that collects in the trench will find its way out and down the embankment.
I also met with one of the local well drillers to discuss inserting an access tube into the foundation in order to run the water pipe into the house. The well driller suggested that I use a 6" PVC pipe with 45 degree angles down to a depth of 6'. The trench was already down to 5', so digging down another foot was not a problem.
Saturday was another fine, sunny, dry day! Russ was there before I arrived ready to go. In addition to doing all of the digging, Russ also used his dump truck to haul the 1.5" gravel. He made three more trips in the morning, bringing the total amount of gravel to 5 dump trucks full. This was more gravel than we first thought would be necessary, but this was before trying to dig through coffee tables sized boulders, the heavy rain washing in the sides and any corrections that needed to be made.
By Saturday afternoon, all of the drain tile had been placed, leveled and covered. The access tubes for both the well and septic had been placed in the trench and covered. And we were almost full to the top with gravel! After reviewing the site, I decided that one more truck load of gravel would finish the job. This would bring our grand total to six truck loads of gravel.
Although you might think this was rather expensive, it's still a lot less than using concrete to a depth of 4 feet. Sunday morning I spent grading the area around the trench. After all of the digging, the place was quite a mess. As it appears now, I will probably rent a skid steer to finish off leveling the area and placing the remaining gravel around the trench. After that has been completed, the building site will be left alone to settle for a long winter's nap.
Pictured here, is the finished rubble trench. Next spring, a 16 sided concrete footing will be placed on top of the pad. The center area will eventually have a slab poured on top of any necessary plumbing and heating elements for the radiant floor system.
If I had to do it again, would I do anything different? Not really. The only thing I might change is better judgment on weather conditions. The weather was just too iffy when we started digging. It prevented us from completing the job on schedule and cost a few extra bucks in lodging and travel expenses. I would also like to add that Russ Wulf who did the excavation and rock hauling really came through when I needed him. I really lucked out by hiring him to help out. He has also offered his help in pouring the footings when the time comes and has also provided a number of contacts to help with other aspects of the house construction. Thanks a million Russ.... of course, I haven't gotten his bill yet. Maybe I should say thanks and leave that million part out.