Into the Void (Our Caisson Foundation)

We were very pleasantly surprised to find that the rear wall that holds back the earth bermed north side of the house has a caisson foundation.
Caisson Foundation
I had never heard of this type of foundation, and it is not generally listed among the foundation choices. It is the best foundation for expansive soils, which is why there was no evidence of cracking in the foundation of the house. Mark Benjamin suggested replacing the void as he has seen the dirt lift the walls right off the caissons. The dirt was all excavated from underneath, mostly with the claw of a hammer, and the space will be isolated with insulation. We considered replacing the cardboard forms but they are used to establish the space in the first place and since they rotted, we decided that the expense was not justified in addition to the insulation.

Corner of void and caisson

Corner of void and caisson post

There was a board under the void form that rotted. The insulation does not seem to come all the way down into the void, so the rocks at the bottom of the french drain are spilling into the void here.

Void Space under wall

French drain rocks in void space.

Close up of Void

Close up of Void

Most of the cardboard void forms were completely rotted away and dirt had heaved into the voids.

Void Cardboard

Rotted void cardboard

The void form impression at the bottom of the concrete wall has a honeycomb pattern.

Honeycomb roof of the void

Honeycomb top of the void.

Tar paper, plastic and foam on the outside. I measured the foam and it was 4″ thick.

Another close up

Another close up of the back side of the void. The white is foam insulation.

Tar paper and foam on the outside

More tar paper and foam at the outside of the wall.

After the dirt was excavated from the void, it created a clean open space to protect with the plastic and foam preparation for the new floor.

Void emptied of heaved dirt

Void emptied of heaved dirt

Wall above excavated void

Wall above excavated void

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