Q.: In an earth-sheltered home would it be advisable to make the floor integral with the exterior walls to avoid water problems?
A.: Water problems should be handled in other ways--by providing adequate drainage around footings and by waterproofing the walls properly. After the structure has been built and loaded with earth the walls ordinarily undergo a certain amount of settlement. If the floors were integral with the walls the sides of the floor would settle with the walls while the center of the floor would remain at its initial elevation. This would result in buckling and cracking of the floor as well as other miscellaneous troubles with finishes. Unless the whole structure is built on solid rock, the floor should be completely independent of the shell.