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32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

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Old 05-15-2007, 12:09 PM   #1
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32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

I am quoting to have a 32 x 50 pole barn put up on a customers property in southern Michigan. Diagonally the barn corner on the lay of the land drops 12-14 inches so a lot of fill is needed once sub-soil has been excavated. The question I have is this - I have had 3 excavating contractors quote site prep and pad for the barn. 2 Contractors have said excavate sub-soil down to gravel and bring in GRAVEL and compact to create foundation. The other said to excavate sub-soil down to gravel and bring in SAND and compact to create foundation. What is the normal or preferred method for the best outcome? What have other excavating contracors done on this site. Add pictures of site work if any one has any. Thanks for the help!

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Old 05-15-2007, 03:42 PM   #2
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Re: 32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

Well Ben what I would do in Connecticut isn't necessarily what they might do where ever you are from. I would also consider what the pole barn will be used for. 12 " - 14 " isn't all that much difference in elevation around here.


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Old 05-15-2007, 03:47 PM   #3
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Re: 32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

I chose gravel ........but sand would do if ya compact it well.
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Old 05-15-2007, 04:26 PM   #4
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Re: 32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

I would use gravel because it is cheaper.
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Old 05-15-2007, 07:54 PM   #5
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Re: 32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

I vote gravel. I would prefer crushed stone over those big marble shaped things but use what you have in the region.
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Old 05-15-2007, 08:55 PM   #6
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Re: 32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

I would also use gravel (crushed rock).

Sand is OK if it is enclosed and has no where to run to. But you said you have to fill one end, so sand wuld be a poor choice if it just runs out into open space, eventually it will get loose and start flowing and especially if there is any water gets on it. Whereas gravel will tend to lock together and can be tapered down to nothing and will pretty much stay put.

We helped a friend built a 48 x 32 foot shop once and he had a lot of sand onsite and wanted to use it. What eventually happened is he had a water pipe leak under the slab, and not that big of a leak just a little oozing out of a bad glue joint. Another bad decision I told him to use a seamless line of copper under the slab and not PVC. Back to the water, it eventually pushed out quite a bit of sand out from under the slab since the grade was lower on one end of the building with the footings just barely under grade level.
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:22 PM   #7
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Re: 32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

less than a foot I would say gravel. more than a foot I would say a well graded structural fill compacted at the proper moisture content. Depends on the strength of the soil underneath as well.
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Old 05-15-2007, 10:58 PM   #8
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Re: 32 X 50 Pole Barn Foundation Pad Question...

Just to add to my original post. Water is soaked up fast into the ground in this location. HO has trouble keeping moisture in the ground to keep grass growing. Mostly gravel under the black topsoil layer. I do not have any water lines to deal with so I should be good. The barn will have a 6" thick concrete in both truck bays and 4" in the shop area. Thanks for all the responses keep em coming.

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