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Thread: [OT]Ideas for split-level shed/workshop built into hill

  1. #21
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    When I tore out the floor of the "kitchen" of the house, adjacent to the big sycamore, it exposed the dirt floor under the crawlspace, and I found (and cut) some roots from the tree. When the septic system was installed (1991) I'm sure they must have cut some as well, including those from the maple at the edge of the road. Some images from 27 years ago:









    The photo with the blurred car taillights was taken near dusk, with my Nikon Coolpix L22, auto mode, and probably a fairly slow shutter speed (maybe 1/8 seconds). If the car was going 30 MPH (44 feet/sec) and the the lights moved 5 feet, that would be 0.113 sec. The septic installation pictures were taken with my (now long gone) Minolta SRT-202 using, probably, Seattle Film Works slide film.
    Last edited by PStechPaul; 08-04-2018 at 05:17 PM. Reason: cameras

  2. #22
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    Just a thought for what it is worth: If you are just using 715 for storage you could frame in the front porch up to the man door. Build some steps from the side or front to access the man door and house. It would then just take three walls of framing and siding for a storage room. Maybe beef up the floor from underneath if required. Access the new storage from the Sycamore tree end.

  3. #23
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    Thanks for the idea, but that would not work very well and it would be rather ugly. The houses are very visible from the road and they are historic, although not officially so designated. I have some ideas coming together for immediate and longer range plans. Here is maybe a better view of the existing shed base and vicinity:



    I removed the plywood floor to reveal the frame of 4x6 timbers and 2x4 and 2x6 PT lumber. Most of it is in good shape, but the wood on the ends is fairly rotten:





    I have determined that a 10'x10' portable shed will not fit very well where the old woodshed is.



    The plastic fenceposts are placed on the four corners of a 10x10 space. My thought now is to dismantle the wood framework and see how well I may be able to lower the floor, and then build a shed about 12'x8' with a concrete floor and a ramp where the two rows of concrete blocks are. Maybe even a hinged ramp that doubles as a door. I might install a person door around the side where there is a fairly easy slope from ground level. Mowers are just 24" wide so will easily fit through a standard 32" door. The tractor is only 28" wide, but I'd probably bring it up the ramp, with a 36" or even 48" door.

    I also will eventually rebuild the woodshed, which is only 77" x 32". That would give me more convenient storage for the mowers and small tools, as well as some firewood and compressed wood bricks.

  4. #24

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    Paul,
    Like others earlier on, I really would find someone local in the small ad's with a bobcat or backhoe, and have them come out and cut a flat out of the hillside a little unless your up to manual work and enjoy it. Scraping a flat into that slope is half a hours work max for a reasonable operator and machine but will save masses of work. I had to do the same for a garden shed and the kids pool/trampoline areas because everywhere is on a slope in the garden and it took me longer to check the fluids on the backhoe and bring it up to temperature than do the jobs.
    You could have them dig about and pull that cut off tree stump out while they're in there too.

    Don't forget about a membrane or something down under the slab to stop the damp when your lower than grade at the back of course.

  5. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrFluffy View Post
    Paul,
    Like others earlier on, I really would find someone local in the small ad's with a bobcat or backhoe, and have them come out and cut a flat out of the hillside a little unless your up to manual work and enjoy it. Scraping a flat into that slope is half a hours work max for a reasonable operator and machine but will save masses of work. I had to do the same for a garden shed and the kids pool/trampoline areas because everywhere is on a slope in the garden and it took me longer to check the fluids on the backhoe and bring it up to temperature than do the jobs.
    You could have them dig about and pull that cut off tree stump out while they're in there too.

    Don't forget about a membrane or something down under the slab to stop the damp when your lower than grade at the back of course.
    Agreed. I'd excavate into the hill then have a retaining wall built and plenty of space behind the shed to walk between the shed and the retaining wall.
    Work hard play hard

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3 Phase Lightbulb View Post
    Agreed. I'd excavate into the hill then have a retaining wall built and plenty of space behind the shed to walk between the shed and the retaining wall.
    +1

    If the retaining wall is also the back shed wall, then you will have water problems. You can seal as much as you want, you will still have water issues, if not now, then later.
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  7. #27
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    I've done a lot more work on this. I dismantled the wood frame, and exposed the original (and modified) foundation:



    I removed some of the front wall:



    I used a hoe to do some excavation, trying to find the original foundation, and seeing how difficult it might be to excavate down to ground level. There does not appear to be a back wall, and there is a large root from the cherry tree that needs to be cut and removed:



    It looks like I could dig out the dirt within the old foundation, and use it to raise the level of the ground so that there might be just 12-18" from the ground to the floor of the shed. It also looks like it would be easy to make a clear path to the right rear of the shed for easy access with mowers and maybe even the tractor, but it would also be possible to use a small ramp for front access. The original foundation looks to be in pretty poor shape, so I may see about getting someone with a Bobcat or small backhoe to demolish it and excavate to ground level, and build a proper concrete block foundation and cement floor. I don't think there will be too much of a water problem if I leave some space behind the rear wall. Maybe some drain pipes and gravel. There will not be much below grade, and I also might be able to lay 4x8x16 concrete blocks so that the holes will provide drainage rear to front.


  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Tiers View Post
    +1

    If the retaining wall is also the back shed wall, then you will have water problems. You can seal as much as you want, you will still have water issues, if not now, then later.
    It would need to be something other than a stacked block wall for sure. But if a suitable slab were installed and a construction block wall erected and filled with concrete and then the whole thing well sealed with products typically used on cast concrete building foundations and provided it was filled in with a suitable drain rock and below grade drain pipe to direct the water around and out on the lower side of the shed life would be just rosy.

    But it DOES need to be done with suitable thought and care to both give any water an escape path around the wall and to seal the outer surface of the wall as well.

    Paul, for what you're thinking I figure that a slab with filled block rear wall would be just fine. What I'd do if it were me is pour your slab but include some foot long stubs of re-bar sticking up around where you want to do the wall. Mortar the wall in place then fill with concrete. Around the top course of the wall after the mortar was cured well I'd also bust out part of the webs so I could lay in a single length of rebar to tie the top well and truly together. That'll more than ensure you avoid any issue with the pressure on the dirt pushing the wall inwards and cracking it.

    And ya, you'll want a drain line like big O that is below the floor level around the back edge of the slab that comes around one side of the shed to drain the water away that will collect on the uphill side. And I'd use filter cloth and be fairly generous with the pea gravel or other drain rock you use around the drain pipe so it keeps the silt from the dirt back quite well. And taper the gravel well up the wall before you fold the drain cloth over it and backfill. Between these steps and coating the outside of the wall well it'll last the rest of your life and that of the next two owners.
    Last edited by BCRider; 08-10-2018 at 02:28 PM.

  9. #29
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    Since I want to make the shed 12'x12' (144 sf), I will need to get a permit (100 sf max without). The guy who did the tree work has a Bobcat and he says he can prep the site but not sure about the permit. So I figure I really need to draw up some specific plans to submit for review. Here is what I have in mind for the foundation and floor:



    I think laying the blocks sideways for the floor will provide adequate drainage and air space that will reduce moisture and even provide some thermal insulation. I might not even need to pour concrete if the blocks are set solidly on packed earth or some gravel. With mortar poured into the joints between blocks, they should interlock pretty well. I might need to run some PVC or ABS pipe or tubing through the holes before adding the mortar, and that will enhance the drainage and overall strength.

  10. #30
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    Are you building a shed or a bunker? All you need to do is have your bobcat guy excavate into the hill. Build yourself a retaining wall to hold back the hill. Then drop ~6" of crushed stone down for the base. Build a PT floor leveled over the crushed stone with pavers/blocks and build your shed.
    Work hard play hard

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