Lowered Footings

Got this E-mail from a friend yesterday.

**"****We noticed that the sump pump was running more than normal and it wasn’t even raining or wet out side of our home. We called the builder who sent someone to look at it. The service person made a simple adjustment to the float of the sump pump and said things should be better now. Well, after that adjustment the sump pump cycled cycled every 2 hours instead of every 15 minutes . Bravo! Big improvement! **

**I decided to take out my shop vac and vacuumed out all the debris and water that was in the bottow of the basin (this should have been done by my builder). Amazing how many rocks and how much dirt was in the bottom of the basin. After doing the cleaning I noticed that the water was not entering the basin via the weeping tile as one would suspect. Hmmmm… **

**I discovered that my sump pump basin had a cut in the bottom, which must have been there from the time we moved into the house. I called the builder again and told them that the basin had a cut in it and would he send someone to look at it again and if possible replace the basin. **

**A different person came to the house this time, he was more specialized in concrete work and advised me to keep the basin as it was. His opinion was that my footing of the home was dug very deep and he remembered that when they backfilled our basement with stones before the pouring of the basement concrete floor that a larger volume of stones was used than normal. What I learned from this person was when they dug our footing the ground was soft and the inspector wouldn’t allow the footing to be installed or poured unless the ground was harder in that area where they placed the footing of the home. So the ground was dug deeper until the ground was as hard as required by the inspector. It ended up that our footing was around two feet deeper or around 0.7 meters deeper than normal. Having the cut in the bottom of the basin would allow water that is deep under the home to come up and be pumped out. **

**With all that being said, does anyone know if this is normal? **

**Should I allow my sump pump basin to have a cut in the bottom to allow water under my basement floor to be pumped out? **

**The weeping tile is most likely installed higher than the footing. Since the weeping tile is normally installed at the lowest point of the footing, then shouldn’t my basin also be installed lower than the footing. **

**Since my footing goes much deeper below the basement floor than what would be normal, how will my footing ever be to the point of not being saturated in water all the time? **

**I also think I get a lot more water under my home than the neighboors homes because I now get more run off. **

I understand that the basement walls will still be dry and that’s what they use the sump pump for, but isn’t it bad to keep water all the time at the footing, and what about the long term, will my footing suffer from erosion?"

Does anyone see a problem. Would the footings be down beside the lowered footings or would the builder have raised thenm to floor level.


As long as they footing contractor got to solid ground then it should be fine.
Here in the Carolina’s I have dug footers where part of the footer was 12 inches and other parts as deep as 10 feet in order to get to solid ground. It is often cheaper and acceptable to fill the footer with a gravel (stone, usually #57 or equivelent) and then pour the last section with concrete. Depending on the stone used, such often has about a up 90’s compaction rate; 610 is even better.

What is important is that the water does have a means to escape, either by sump pump or an approved draining system.

Without really knowing the soil under your footings and foundations its hard for anyone to truly assess what you have. My recommendation would be to contact a soil engineer to truly determine if it is adequate. Better yet, having the builder, foundation contractor and soil engineer all together can help alleviate or confirm your fears.


It is likely that the home is built on or close to a natural spring. Have you noticed any settelment? or cracking? doors sticking? Make sure you have a back up pump if the power goes off.