Structural Stability and Building Soils in Greater Boston and Cambridge

If you are buying or remodeling a house in any of the historic neighborhoods of Cambridge or greater Boston, it can be useful to know about the history, and geohistory, of the building soils that underlay them. The urban landscape appears to be one undifferentiated expanse, but due to glaciation, there is some variety to the materials we find below grade. If you are noting any subsidence (sinking) or cracking in the foundation area, and are concerned about the stability of the structure, understand that this can be a function of the composition of the soils that it was built upon.

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Structural Stability and Building Soils in Greater Boston and Cambridge

Excavating More Headroom for the Finished Basement

by Doug Hanna, Principal, S+H Construction, Inc

Here in the Boston area real estate prices seem to keep climbing higher and higher. As a result, homeowners are trying to find usable space wherever they can, and naturally look to under-utilized areas of their homes such as attics and basements for the solution. Development or expansion of these spaces, whether they are finished or unfinished, can add to the livability of the home, but can also come with unique challenges.

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Excavating More Headroom for the Finished Basement

The Basement Waterproofing Solution for High Water Tables

By Doug Hanna, Principal, S+H Construction, Inc.

Basement waterproofing is especially important if your property has a high water table, such as many in Cambridge, MA or Boston's Back Bay. S+H Construction has developed a unique process for waterproofing the basements of older and historic homes and structures. Rather than allowing water to penetrate foundation walls and then redirecting it to a sump pump, as many other systems do, our method absolutely STOPS WATER AND MOISTURE from entering through walls or slabs. We have performed hundreds of jobs over the last ten years using this method and have had ZERO callbacks.

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The Basement Waterproofing Solution for High Water Tables

Lessons from English Gardens for Americans: Hardscape

By Michael Weishan, Old House, Old Garden columnist

God is in the details they say, and I can assure you that the garden deity dwells most happily where the creator has paid attention to the quality of the hardscape. Let's face it - perennials come and go, trees rise and fall, seasons pass in a quick succession of constant flux - nothing is more ephemeral than a garden. But even the landscape has some limited element of resiliency, and that resiliency resides almost entirely in its bones, the hardscape.

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Lessons from English Gardens for Americans: Hardscape

Good Drainage Key to Good Landscaping

*DESIGNED BY MICHAEL WEISHAN, FORMER HOST OF THE VICTORYGARDEN ON WGBH*

With spring here, it's time to prepare your lawn for the warm weather. S+H  is here to help with any landscaping and drainage needs, but here are a few tips to keep in mind!

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Good Drainage Key to Good Landscaping

The Key to Design Outdoor Living Areas that Work

By Michael Weishan, Michael Weishan & Associates 

To my way of thinking, a relaxing, well-designed terrace or patio is the most important feature of the entire back yard. It’s here, after all, that you get to reap the rewards of all that hard labor – hours spent weeding, mulching and planting come to fruition when you sit down in a comfortable chair with a cool beverage, survey your domain, and drink in the pleasures of a job well done. But for the owner of a traditional home, obtaining this dream space can be full of pitfalls, as outdoor living areas can quickly turn from adjunct to albatross if improperly designed. The key to success is to consider the two most important aspects of any terrace or patio – dimensions and materials – long before you move the first shovelful of dirt.

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The Key to Design Outdoor Living Areas that Work

Zoning Regulations: What You Need to Know Before Starting Your Project

By Doug Hanna, Principal, S+H Construction, Inc.  

We regularly meet with homeowners who wish to build additions, add dormers or improve undeveloped areas such as basements and attics. One of the first questions we ask them is "have you contacted the city about possible zoning issues? " Often the answer is no, and a decent percentage of those people are not clear on zoning regulations or how they can affect planning for building and renovation. 

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Zoning Regulations: What You Need to Know Before  Starting Your Project