This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
The next visit finds the excavation of the cellar well under way. The earth has been removed, care being taken to make the outside walls conform to the dimensions of the foundation, and the cellar dug to the bottom for a great part of its extent. We proceed at once to examine the nature of the soil and find that while it is in the main a good coarse gravel, there is evidence toward the bottom of a clayey deposit which will hold water, and indeed, in the trenches directly under the wall, which are required to be eighteen inches below the bottom of the cellar, there is water standing in several places. Remembering that the specifications have foreseen that the bottom of these trenches should slope to the corner of the cellar, we direct that the slope shall be made toward a hollow in the lot and that the trench shall be extended until it meets the surface of the ground in the hollow some thirty feet or more from the house. This trench, as well as the slope of the trench under the wall we must make with a very slight pitch lest the run of the water should wash away the soil under the wall and cause settlements, and for greater security we must see that the lower foot of the wall which, according to the specifications, is " to be laid in dry the trenches", is well laid and not dumped or thrown in. (Fig. 8.) These stones should be neither large enough to choke up and prevent the flow of water through the trench nor so small as to be crowded into the ground by the weight of the walls over them, and it will be well in any case to anticipate possible settlement by ramming the first layer of stones well into the bed of the trench. In a case where the nature of the soil seems to be somewhat soft or the weight of the building is to be more than usually heavy, it may be desirable to start the walls on broad footing stones carefully bedded upon the bottom. In this case it will be necessary to make the drain entirely outside of the wall, where it may be made of tile or stones. Indeed, but for the added expense of excavation and the increased cost of large footing stones, this method would be preferable in all cases. (Fig. 9.)
Fig. 8. Dry Wall in Trench.
If on the completion of the excavating there should be found any wet spots in the cellar bottom, these must be connected by trenches filled with stone chips, with the main drain under or outside of the wall and in extreme cases the whole cellar bottom under the concrete should be filled with loose stones for about one foot of depth.