Hi, our gutter on our roof has been leaking. It has washed away a lot of soil from our front porch and near the house. The porch is starting to crack away from the house. I caulked it up. I am going to replace the sand that was washed away with plain soil from the garden shop. My question is, is it ok to put plain soil around the foundation of the house and under the porch to fill in the spaces? The reason I ask is because sometimes the soil in the bags can be moist and I was wondering if it is ok to put that under the porch. Someone told me to use gravel to replace the soil that was wash away because soil can compresses when it gets wet, and will damage the foundation over the long run. My question is if I use grave to fill up the holes and space between the porch and the house can I then cover the gravel with soil? I just want to do what is best. Thank you

I have heard of many problems associated with a neglected gutter and downspout.
Gravel is not a bad choice for fill material.  I like to use gravel because it falls into place rather easily and I can move it around with my shovel compared to anything that likes to stick to my shovel.  Pure sand is bad and expansive clay (bentonite) is the worse fill material.  But a sandy-clay material is what my soil engineers have determined to be the best fill material for this part of the Midwest.  Regardless, the fill material must be free from organic material (roots, grass, leaves, etc.)  I believe that compaction of that fill material is most important.  Every layer of fill dirt should not exceed twelve inches (referred to as "lifts") before a solid compaction.  Six inch lifts between compaction would be better.  And then top everything off with 4 to 6 inches of black dirt that will provide nutritious growth.

The caulking that you did recently will likely need to be examined in five years and should be replaced in ten or fifteen years.  Just like painting, the caulk joint becomes a maintenance item.

Richard Burton, AIA
Registered Architect
ICC Certified Plan Reviewer
NFPA Certified Fire Plan Examiner


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Richard Burton AIA


A combined total of 25 years experience with construction, architecture, and building code enforcement. Ask me about residential and commercial design. Ask me about design aesthetics, structural methods, and building something that will withstand severe weather conditions. Ask me my opinion about YOUR design ideas and I will tell you the merits of good design and challenge your thinking about practical issues. Ask me how to best find and work with your local architect and approach general contractors to get the most value for the least amount of headaches. You can ask me about improving your energy efficiency and things that are both green and practical. But don't ask me about solar panels and wind turbines unless you are currently paying your utility company 35 cents per Kilowatt. Otherwise the math does not justify the initial cost and return on investment. Ask me any building code question and how to get a building permit from the most difficult enforcement agencies.


Here in the midwest, we design and build "green" in ways that make sense. My construction methods prioritize weather resistance, ease of maintenance and durability. While a graduate student in San Diego, I taught drafting and history of architecture. After working ten years for other architecture firms, I have started my firm Arrow Architecture in 2008. More than half of my work involves commercial office buildings. But my portfolio of work also includes custom homes, residential additions, home remodels, and second story additions.

President-Elect of American Institute of Architects - Lincoln, NE

B.S. Architecture - (Interior Design) University of Nebraska Lincoln 1997 Master of Architecture - (Urban Design and Professional Practice) NewSchool of Architecture - San Diego 2004 Graduated Summa Cum Laude ICC Certified Building Plans Examiner

Awards and Honors
AIA Henry Adams Medal and Certificate

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