HELP! House has Slab Foundation without Footer

I recently purchased my first home, which was built in 1969. I live in central Florida. After Huricane Frances blew through, I noticed that there was some water seeping into the front bedroom from beneath the wall caused by the fact that there was a lot of standing water on the outside of the house where that bedroom is. While addressing this issue by running some drainage pipe from that area out to the edge of the yard, I discovered that the the house does not seem to have a footer at all. It appears as though the foundation is just sitting on top of the ground with nothing at all to 'root' it in place and to distribute the weight of the house.
Now I'm at a complete loss as to what to do. Was this building practice normal in 1969? If not, what recourse do I have? It would seem that every house in my subdivision was built like this, as I have talked to a few neighbors who have had similar leakage problems, and another who explicitly said that he discovered his house had no footer either.
Any input at all would be great. Just buying the house was nerve racking enough. The prospect of possibly having to pay for repairs or modifications that I quite simply cannot afford is enough to give me ulcers.
Thanks in advance. Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You should have a "bell" footer. How deep is the concrete around the perimeter of the slab? The rule is 8" deep 12" wide with 2 #5 rebar, then 4" deep for the slab, hence the bell. It really works pretty good here in the sandbox.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Greg) wrote in message

That's just it. From looking at the outside of the house where the exterior wall meets the ground, I can't see that there is any concrete going beneath the ground at all. I can pull back about an inch or two of dirt from the wall and literally see the bottom of the house.
Maybe I'm just not understanding you correctly. (As you can probably tell, I'm totally ignorant regarding all of this stuff)
Is there a way that you could point me to an illustration of the 'bell' footer method of construction that you mentioned. I searched around but couldn't find one, at least not one that seemed like how my slab was laid.
Sorry for the trouble, and thanks much for your patience. Jeff
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If the slab appears 12 inches thick to you it should be ok. What he is say is that it is 12 inches thick at the perimeter all the way around. You could have lost dirt so it no longer appears 8 inches deep outside but in the middle it thins out to a 4 inch slab with dirt under it. Do not undermine the slab or you will have real troubles.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
btw, I must apologize for the fact that there is a duplicate of this post out there. My news server was giving me fits last night, and I thought that the first message didn't get posted.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Jeff wrote:

Slab-on-grade construction is very common in Florida. The slab is thickened under load bearing walls. No footings are needed.
I doubt that your water intrusion problems have anything to do with the slab design.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

You may not have footers, but do you have headers?
You have two choices. 1. Tear the house down and build a new one. 2. Continue to live in an inferior shack, and spend the same amount of money for ulcer surgery.
Of course could always find a sucker to buy the shack and move to Alabama or Texas.
Warning: They do not let anyone into Texas without a wide brimmed hat and a cow or bull in the back of the pickup.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.