A Warning About Expansive Soils

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Editor:

This is a warning to all those who are contemplating or who are in the process of building or buying homes in Payson.

The Payson area is widely underlain by what are termed "expansive soils."

These soils, when they become moist or wet, slowly expand with enormous and intractable force -- sufficient to crack solid granite as well as concrete -- the active components of such soils are used in place of dynamite in hazardous locations.

What is more, the soil on one's lot need not be itself expansive -- such soils may be imported from elsewhere in the area and used as fill under the footings or under any slab-on-grade portion of a structure. That portion is at extremely serious risk.

If new or recent construction is under consideration in your plans, be certain that your contractor or Realtor has obtained a clean bill-of-health from a licensed, reputable and financially capable soils-testing engineering firm for your prospective home and supplies it to you

before you sign on the dotted line. If you are building, insist that the lot and any fill imported to your project has been properly tested for expansivity, or that appropriate mitigation procedures are in place. Once the structure is in place, the resources of local contractors -- however much they may wish to help -- may be completely insufficient or inaccessible to remedy the problem -- the really big bucks (the high tens of thousands) entailed in repair, if repair is even possible, then become your problem.

If anyone doubts the problem exists, see me, for our entire first floor in Woodhill is shattered and rising steadily.

Allen N Wollscheidt, Payson

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