Hi everyone. I'm building a high retaining wall on clay soil, so I need to make strong foundations. I've read up on it, but also I've consulted a neighbour who is a retired builder.. My problem is that his advice seems to be based on his cutting corners when he was in the trade. For instance, he says that in the present wet weather, the foundation trench being wet as well as the sand and chippings, there is no need to add water to the mix in the cement mixer. He proposes to lay the mix dry and, presumably, to let the water in the trench seep through it. I'm worried about this, because he's also offered to do the foundations with me, and he wants it to be his way, not mine, because of all his building experience. Please could someone confirm my suspicion that what he proposes won't work? But also, he wants to lay the foundation, which will be 10 metres long, without driving stakes into the ground first and getting them all at the right level. Perhaps he is so expert that he can dispense with level markers, or perhaps not. Am I right in thinking that I should ignore what he says? Thanks, laurencewithau
Ignore him completely. The correct way to do this is dig a sump hole at one end of the foundations, pump out the water and lay the concrete properly as per the correct instructions shown on this site. Then get a very high wall up between you and the neighbour so he cannot interfer again. Level the footings out properly using pegs and a level and you cannot be wrong because it is vital that the concrete is the same thickness throughout the length of the foundation
Thanks to the doctor. You've confirmed my suspicions, as also about much else that he's advised me to do. I'll build that boundary wall you mentioned, between him and me, but I shan't ask his advice as to how to do it. Thanks again.
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