I have an entry walkway that's 9ft x 4ft by my front door that I need to fix so it is solid ground. I was thinking of putting concrete down and then laying tile on top of the concrete. I have some reservation about using concrete because the floor is currently just uneven sand/dirt. Would this cause a problem where the cement would crack?

Is there another more efficient solution for a project like this instead of concrete?

Edit: The old flooring in this area was just loose bricks that were placed into the sand, some of the bricks were very uneven and I was worried it might be due to settlement. There is evidence of settlement in other areas of the house such as the basement.

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  • How deep is that sand pit, and what's underneath it (like gravel). Also, keep any cats away from your front door!
    – Niall C.
    Sep 7 '12 at 20:28
  • It looks to be about 6 inches of brown sand and then there is an inch of a grey sand/powder (possibly some type of dry concrete mix?). And then underneath that is a hard redish/purple lava rock. This type of rock is all around my neighborhood/area and is a common type of natural rock here in Flagstaff, Arizona. Sep 7 '12 at 20:41
  • what's holding up the walls? Is there a foundation? I've never seen a dirt floor in a finished house.
    – DA01
    Sep 8 '12 at 3:33
  • cinder blocks I think, if you look closely you can see elongated holes along the sides which are cinder blocks that have been stacked. Sep 8 '12 at 18:18

I see deeper problems here. What is the foundation for those walls? Why is all that sand there, and why is it just inches below the door threshold? What is with those gaps in the second picture, that you can see a void behind.

I see the spray foam scraps, which tells me you just closed up those walls, and I see the plastic sheeting that tells me "vapor barrier ends here". Also, the edge of that subfloor is suspiciously clean for the last 6", which tells me a wall was there.

Is this by any chance a porch that you are closing in? Is there a concrete slab under that sand, or soil. If it's just soil, then your are allowing moisture and insects access to your framing.


I believe this was a porch that got "annexed" into the interior space of the house.

The right way to do this is to dig all that sand and soil out, and also excavate under the walls (they will need to be temporarily supported). Then prep the excavation (I'm not sure if a vapor barrier is called for, but you have one coming out from your existing foundation, so ask a local builder) and then pour a slab under the whole deal - walls and all. You would probably be replacing the bottom plates of the walls in the process.

A concrete slab is going to be cold in the winter, and I might worry about condensation in that area - plus, the fact that it is sunken, and kind of small - is it really that useful?

If the ceiling height will allow it, wouldn't it be nicer to bring the floor up to match the rest of the house? This will mean re-installing the door, but the you could just frame in a subfloor, put a vapor barrier down, and end up with a MUCH nicer space there.

  • This is a new house and I'm not sure what the old owners were really doing. There used to be loose bricks that have been placed into the sand prior and they used spray foam on some of the bricks.The gaps in the second picture are holes in the middle of cinder blocks that have been stacked next to each other. I don't think it's a converted porch but I couldn't know for sure. Sep 7 '12 at 21:01
  • THe sand is about 6 inches deep, then there is a grey sand that looks like it could be some type of concrete mix, then there is lava rock that is really common here in Flagstaff, Arizona. There is a basement to the house (which has a concrete slab) but no part of the basement is underneath the walk in area specifically. Once you step up and out of the sand area you enter the main living room of the house which is above the basement. Thanks for the help! Sep 7 '12 at 21:02
  • Adding more to the answer instead of here - see above.
    – dbracey
    Sep 7 '12 at 21:20

Since you are inside, if you properly compact the sand prior to pouring (rent a compactor) there's no reason you can't just pour the concrete right onto the sand as far as I know.

If you were outside, it'd be a different story.

  • Does being outside have to do with settlement concerns? Also would I need to seal up the cinder block openings that are exposed with something? Maybe that insulating foam spray? And for the concrete, can I just buy bags from home depot and mix it myself? Is there a specific type I should get? Thanks a lot. Sep 7 '12 at 20:47
  • Is suspect is it basically outside...
    – dbracey
    Sep 7 '12 at 20:48
  • It's inside. See other question by same poster. Being outside concern is to do with freezing. If you pour concrete in an area that can freeze, the foundation must be deep enough that the concrete won't heave. Sep 7 '12 at 21:03
  • There's no foundation :) - but it is on rock, below all the sand and dirt. The walls are built on stacked CMU's (probably 1 layer).
    – dbracey
    Sep 7 '12 at 21:36
  • Oops - I take it back - there is mortar in the picture - it's just cracked.
    – dbracey
    Sep 7 '12 at 21:39

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