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Hi folks. I've never really done a thread like this, but thought it could be interesting for anyone entertaining the idea of doing some drainage around a building. The goal is, ultimately, to rehab this detached garage/barn. The home was built in 1959, so the barn is sometime afterwards and we've owned it since 10/2015. I had the pole barn in the back built in Spring of 2017, in preparation for 2018's purchase of the JD 2025RClassic. :good2: Here's what I'm working with:

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We had the overhead door replaced in 2016, but this year will be new gutters, soffit, entry door and double-upper doors replaced and all white trim getting re-done with a clay color to match the pole barn. Also, in the back is a window upstairs that is getting pulled out and changed into an entry door. I'll build steps up to a landing for that door. Right now, access to the second floor is a set of steps that hinge down from upstairs. So, an entrance in the back will be a welcome upgrade! The trim is all bunged up from years of life in the woods, previous owner's kids hitting doorways, etc...it needs to be done over.

My task right now: French Drain installation. Since we've moved in, I have battled high moisture / mildew inside the garage. I painted the 3 foot cinderblock wall inside with DryLok Extreme and still get a fair amount of water inside from heavy rains. This is due in large to a poor gutter and shallow overhangs on the gambrel style roof. However, the soil around the garage is red, thick, sandy clay. Its nasty...and holds LOTS of water. This lays in against the foundation and just keeps things wet.

First step: Get the existing gutter drain opened up and cleared out

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Next up: Start digging down to the footer. I'm going to the footer and then one shovel width beside the footer. Trench width is roughly 16 to 18 inches.

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Keep Going: I've finally rounded the corner to the back. (Oh, and that chimney just had the top 4 blocks replaced and new concrete cap installed. Old top block had a hole large enough to put my fist through.)

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Made it to the corner!: Sunday evening, I finally made it around the chimney and to the corner. I hit a road block, though. Two big rocks, easily weighing 200 lbs each, are in my way. Tonight, my wife will operate the tractor and I'll get straps around them to lift them up and out with the KennyD gold hooks. :bigthumb:

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The last part of the dig, and I hope the easiest, is now from the corner towards the front. If you look at the top, first picture, you can see how the yard slopes and will be a much shallower dig. The back wall was the deepest at 42 inches. I'm digging this all by hand, by myself. I've got 25 hours invested so far.

This last pic is just crazy for me...I don't have a picture for you all to compare to, but the woods was literally right up to the garage up until a year ago. I felled trees and cleared a wide path and put the stone lane in to reach my firewood pile up in the back there. Lots more work to do, to make it all look pretty!!! But the garage is priority yet.

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So, the rest of the project will keep going. Here's my plan right now:

1. Finish the dig on the last side of the garage
2. Buying a new Stihl RB600 pressure washer this week to then begin washing the concrete walls down
3. Seal up the cracks in the concrete/block wall
4. Paint on BlackJack Rubber #57 foundation paint
5. Lay in 2-3 inches gravel
6. Lay in the pipe (HOLES DOWN!!!) * using pipe sock as well as wrapping the 3 inches of gravel, pipe and 12 inches top fill of gravel in landscape fabric - this should mitigate dirt infiltration into the pipes
7. Back Fill with minimum 18 inches gravel. The back wall will probably get backfilled 100% gravel since that is how I have it finished between garage and pole barn.

Once all that's done - I may take a day off, kick back and drink a cold beverage of my choice. :cheers:

I'll post pictures of the progress as I'm going. I really hope to wrap this up by May. The contractor who is doing the new doors, gutters and re-flashing all the trim is going to be working sometime in May/June.

Anxious to check this project off the list!
 

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That looks great. A ton of work but that will make a huge difference!
 

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Nice looking buildings. My back hurts just looking at those trenches. I did a 70 foot electrical conduit last summer 30" down with just a pick and shovel it seemed like it took forever.

If you want to save some of the back breaking work of installing the drain, the HDPE EZ French Drain Pipe has worked really well for me. You don't need any gravel when installing the pipe. It's not going to save you money but it will save a lot of time and work. When I priced it out it was even money between this stuff and buying gravel and drain pipe. That is going on 6 years ago now when I built my house. My basement stays dry as a bone.
 

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Nice! Sounds like you've got a good plan for getting water away from that foundation. Whatcha gonna do with all that water? Is the plan to let it drain down alongside that driveway where you've got hose laying in the pic? If so, will that eventually wash out the driveway?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Nice looking buildings. My back hurts just looking at those trenches. I did a 70 foot electrical conduit last summer 30" down with just a pick and shovel it seemed like it took forever.

If you want to save some of the back breaking work of installing the drain, the HDPE EZ French Drain Pipe has worked really well for me. You don't need any gravel when installing the pipe. It's not going to save you money but it will save a lot of time and work. When I priced it out it was even money between this stuff and buying gravel and drain pipe. That is going on 6 years ago now when I built my house. My basement stays dry as a bone.
Thanks, CJadamec. Doesn't sound like I'm doing too much more than you did! 70 foot, 30 inches down is quite a trench. I think I'll be around 80 linear feet and a varying depth....getting to the corners really is tough work. You gotta dig past your corner and then turn. But you keep digging the dirt into the corner until you're actually PAST the corner...so, you end up working in a corner twice as long. Its just a head-game, mostly. And then the jog around that chimney was like 4 corners in 4 feet...that was tough.

I looked at doing that pipe, which is an awesome looking product...not cheap! But, you're right, it would certainly save from having to do gravel. I decided to go the gravel route because I think it will drain any moisture and water to the piipe rather than holding in the soil against the building. If the soil drained a bit better, I think I would have easily gone with that pipe. Also, if I didn't have a 2025R with FEL, I would be doing as little gravel as possible. Actually, I have no idea how I'd do this project without the mechanized wheelbarrow. Some dirt is piled 25 yards away, other dirt is probably 75 yards away. I'm only one man...that would add significant time to the job.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Nice! Sounds like you've got a good plan for getting water away from that foundation. Whatcha gonna do with all that water? Is the plan to let it drain down alongside that driveway where you've got hose laying in the pic? If so, will that eventually wash out the driveway?
That second picture from the top is a 4 inch PVC pipe coming from the downspout (and possibly the floor drain in the garage - the elbow down in the dirt is encased in concrete so I can't tell for sure.) Initially, I thought I'd tie into that same pipe, but after seeing the elbow in the concrete, I decided against it.

My plan will be to just run a second line of solid (non-perforated) pipe down along the existing drain pipe. I don't think I'll wash out the driveway, but that is a concern I have to some extent. In that same picture, if I spin around 180 degrees (behind me), the driveway continues about 80 yards down to the road where there's a storm drain/gutter. Along that 80 yard length of driveway is about a 4 foot wide swath of grass and then woods, basically.

At the end of the day, the run-off can't affect the house or anything else except maybe damage that swath of grass along the driveway. I'll happily take this situation over a damp, wet garage.
 

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Thursday evening, the trench digging was completed! :doorclose:

So....waiting for my lawn & garden place to get their order of equipment in this week - they're supposed to have a shiny, new Stihl RB600 pressure washer. Soon as I get that, I'll get to work blasting dirt and mud from the walls and start patching cracks. Then, its a waiting game for some warmer weather so I can get the tar/rubber paint going....that'll be fun.

But it sure was relaxing not having to dig this weekend! Took me 30.25 hours to dig roughly 80 linear feet...18 inches wide...varying depths, but mostly around 3.5 feet. I even wore the tip of my shovel...that's a first! (and hopefully the last one I do that too!)
 

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Thursday evening, the trench digging was completed! :doorclose:

So....waiting for my lawn & garden place to get their order of equipment in this week - they're supposed to have a shiny, new Stihl RB600 pressure washer. Soon as I get that, I'll get to work blasting dirt and mud from the walls and start patching cracks. Then, its a waiting game for some warmer weather so I can get the tar/rubber paint going....that'll be fun.

But it sure was relaxing not having to dig this weekend! Took me 30.25 hours to dig roughly 80 linear feet...18 inches wide...varying depths, but mostly around 3.5 feet. I even wore the tip of my shovel...that's a first! (and hopefully the last one I do that too!)
Nice work there.

Could you have done this with a BH or an excavator?
 

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Nice work there.

Could you have done this with a BH or an excavator?
Great question, and one I went back and forth on...to answer it, I'm thinking "yes." However...the BH would have built piles of dirt, which would need moved by the FEL to get them out of the way. Then, between the two buildings it is only 10 feet, which would have made it even more difficult to get rid of the dirt. The area between the two buildings was sort of "finished" with rice gravel. I would have made a mess of all that with piles of dirt.

In the end, I honestly don't think I'd have saved an hour of time. I would have saved manual labor, but no time. Plus, renting a BH for a couple days or 2 weekends would have been a bit of a hassle. Also, i would have been tempted to take a vacation day to make a long weekend so I could more efficiently utilize a rented BH.

In the end, I got a great workout for 2 weeks, saved several hundred bucks and didn't lose any vacation for the project (yet.) :laugh: And man, 2 to 3 hours per day for almost 12 days straight sure firms up the arms, back and torso. I gotta grip that can crush walnuts.... :laugh:
 

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Great question, and one I went back and forth on...to answer it, I'm thinking "yes." However...the BH would have built piles of dirt, which would need moved by the FEL to get them out of the way. Then, between the two buildings it is only 10 feet, which would have made it even more difficult to get rid of the dirt. The area between the two buildings was sort of "finished" with rice gravel. I would have made a mess of all that with piles of dirt.

In the end, I honestly don't think I'd have saved an hour of time. I would have saved manual labor, but no time. Plus, renting a BH for a couple days or 2 weekends would have been a bit of a hassle. Also, i would have been tempted to take a vacation day to make a long weekend so I could more efficiently utilize a rented BH.

In the end, I got a great workout for 2 weeks, saved several hundred bucks and didn't lose any vacation for the project (yet.) :laugh: And man, 2 to 3 hours per day for almost 12 days straight sure firms up the arms, back and torso. I gotta grip that can crush walnuts.... :laugh:
Nice work and you are doing it right! I have a backhoe and would have been there to help you if you had asked but kudos for doing it manually! You are young , aren't you?:laugh:
 

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I have a Struck MD 750. Works great for jobs like that. Nice to know now ain't it.:lol:
Looks good, also looks like way more than I want to do by hand.
 

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Nice work and you are doing it right! I have a backhoe and would have been there to help you if you had asked but kudos for doing it manually! You are young , aren't you?:laugh:
Out of curiosity, would your 46BH have gotten in against or would you need to dig away a bit?

Well, I'll be 43 in May....so, young-ish...holy crap.....I'm going to be 43? :cry:
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
I have a Struck MD 750. Works great for jobs like that. Nice to know now ain't it.:lol:
Looks good, also looks like way more than I want to do by hand.
I have no idea what that is, but I will be looking it up! :laugh:


Edit: Okay, yeah....that looks like a handy little machine! Very cool!
 

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I have no idea what that is, but I will be looking it up! :laugh:


Edit: Okay, yeah....that looks like a handy little machine! Very cool!
I was going to post a pic but, forgot by the time I got home. Happens to me a lot these days.:unknown:
 

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I was going to post a pic but, forgot by the time I got home. Happens to me a lot these days.:unknown:
No worries - I won't hold it against you....as far as you know. :laugh:
 

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Out of curiosity, would your 46BH have gotten in against or would you need to dig away a bit?

Well, I'll be 43 in May....so, young-ish...holy crap.....I'm going to be 43? :cry:
Ahhh, 43! Those were the good old days when I was young. Just a forwarning - - later 40’s is when things start falling apart with injuries/re-injuries that never quite heal up and your body just doesn’t bounce back like it used to. Dig now while you still can!!

Again great job there and with your explanation I can believe how a BH would have been a lot messier and probably not saved any time.
 

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Just a bit of a weekend update.

I had this nice, little 16 ton (and whadya get) pile of 2B stone delivered the other day. This will be base layer and backfill to provide drainage in the trench. Thank goodness for the 2025R and FEL.

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For the next big part of this project, I needed a new tool. We borrow my Dad's pressure washer (small, electric Kaercher unit) quite a bit at this home. Lots of shade provides moss and whatnot growing on the driveway, the retaining wall out front, etc. It was time to just buy our own, so I went with a gas-powered Stihl RB600. It's got 3200psi at 3 gpm of wet fury. What a great machine. From everything I researched, 3 GPM is a very good flow rate to get to the next level of cleaning capability...which, unfortunately, does come with a price tag. However, easily justified since I'm doing this whole project on my own. Next project is painting this garage as soon as the draining is completed, so the pressure washer will get a good workout there. I also wanted a more commercial grade unit just because it's built quite a stronger and should provide many, many years of regular use.

As a side note, for anyone looking to buy a pressure washer: Prepare ahead of time and make sure you can provide the necessary water flow. For instance, the RB600 requires a 3/4 inch hose, no longer than 50 feet. I didn't really think about extension hoses, either. I have roughly 150 feet of garden hose and figured I was all set since my project is over 100 feet from the hose supply. However, that makes no sense to put it on the Supply side of the pressure washer. Extensions go on the pressure side. I know....common sense. Anyway, I spent Saturday morning buying 100 feet of pressure washer extension hose.

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The Stihl made short work of the mud covered walls. I think I spent roughly a half hour and had all 3 sides very clean!

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Last, but not least, was the Black Jack Rubr-Coat #57. The temps today reach about 70 degrees. The 5 gallon pail of coating was in the house over night trying to warm it up. I opened it up to find a solid, congealed blob of tar in the bottom of the bucket. So, I cranked up the Reddy Heater in the garage, placed the pail about 10 feet away, in front of the heater. We went to Lowe's to buy a few odds/ends for the piping that I still needed and also picked up one of those stir sticks for the drill. Came home and had a light lunch....the heater and the drill/stir stick was just the ticket. Total painting time along with my better half, roughly 1.25 hours. This went WAY smoother than anticipated. Got 2 coats on today! DONE!

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This is a bit of a tangent but how do you like the RB600? I want to replace my 20 year old cheapie and I’m a big fan of Stihl products.
 

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This is a bit of a tangent but how do you like the RB600? I want to replace my 20 year old cheapie and I’m a big fan of Stihl products.

The RB600 worked incredibly well. I ended up using it for about 45 minutes and I might have burned half a tank of gas. Seems very fuel efficient. Also, the cart is wide and very stable, which is a feature I liked from the get-go. The cart also holds the hoses and the pressure wand very conveniently for storage. The components seem good quality, although all the fittings are Chinese....

The wand is very comfortable. I love the adjustable 90-degree side handle for your other hand. The trigger lever is easy to keep ahold of, too. It doesn't require much grip strength to hold it in the "on" position.

Either a gorilla put the fittings on the hose or that Chinesium metal is absolute crap...I finally got the thing all hooked up Saturday morning and turned the water on only to see the male fitting on the pressure hose was fractured and pissing water out of it. What a run around! The dealer swapped it for me, but the annoying part was, I had already been to the hardware store and actually had bought that same part...only the one I bought was for my extension hose. Why didn't I just pickup three fittings right away?!?! The rule of three: Buy one to lose; one to break; one to use.

All in all, great machine. Should last a very, very long time.

Ah, one thing I'm not too impressed with is the oil drain method on the Kohler engine. Basically, you need to tip the machine on its side and somehow catch the oil coming out. That'll be fun. I'm not sure how the Honda GX200 engine is....that was the other common engine I was seeing on pressure washers...

Hope that helps....a lot of rambling thoughts ... not very organized tonight.

For reference, I was comparison shopping a BE 2700 psi (made in Canada) and a local brand: Beco HV3025.

:cheers:
 
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