Handyman

How to fill holes near a foundation

What is the best product to use to fill a hole, approximate size 3-by-2 feet? It was caused by the downspout. Experiencing much rain.

I’m not clear on your question. Is the hole 2 feet deep by 3 feet wide or vice versa? It would be difficult for a downspout without a diverter to form a 2- to 3-foot-deep hole.

When I find a large hole near a foundation, I suspect there may be a buried pipe that has come loose or cracked and is carrying the soil away. Buried drains for the downspouts, water supply pipes, sewer pipes or foundation drains can cause major erosion at the surface of the yard.

First determine what, if anything, other than the gutter drain has caused the erosion. Using a metal probe, you may be able to locate a buried pipe that is near the surface of the yard.

If the pipe is deeper, such as a sewer or a foundation drain, a plumber can use a camera to “scope” the pipes to see if there is any damage near the eroded area.

Can’t afford a plumber? Digging a hole by hand would be the next step in locating a buried pipe. Even if a plumber finds a damaged pipe or you discover a pipe using a probe, the area will need to be excavated to make repairs.

If you think the hole was caused by the downspout only, you can fill the hole with soil similar to that found in your area. Use a dry dense soil that contains a significant amount of clay, which will compact.

If the hole reappears, then you know you have to excavate the area to locate the cause of the problem.

C. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Email questions to him at d.Barnett@insightbb.com.

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