basement wall coming in...options?

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Old 05-22-08, 10:13 AM
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basement wall coming in...options?

I live in an Old home, about 100 yo.
the foundation is red brick, then glazed block from about ground level up to the sill plate.

construction is rough cut oak, storm boxed. 2 stories.

basement is 1/4 full 3/4 crawlspace. there is a working sump hole/pump that pumps outside.

the longest outside wall in the deep part of the basement, about 15ft long (rough est.) and is red brick, and is bowing in badly, no mortar left anymore, i think if we keep having the wet weather we have been having recently (near st. Louis) it may cave in. what can i do? I'm not a man of huge income, and dont want to hire an expensive contractor. Id rather do this myself if i can. It dont have to look prety, just keep from falling in.
 

Last edited by ahsahee945799; 05-22-08 at 10:20 AM. Reason: additional thought added
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Old 05-22-08, 02:39 PM
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don't want to rain on your parade(no pun intended) but you seem to have a serious problem that may not be suitable for a DIY'er without experience. a house that old was never intended to withstand the time and pressures put on it. seems like you need to support the house in this area with a beam and jacks/blocks and build a proper foundation under the house(maybe the whole house). in any event, you need to get the water away from the foundation on the outside as soon as possible. if it is already bowing badly and the mortar is gone, i believe i would go ahead and support it now while deciding on a method of repair.
 
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Old 05-23-08, 08:02 AM
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Thank you for the swift reply.

it's a good idea to support it i agree, how is the best way to do that?

a little history:
this old house was given to me when i got maried, and I sunk $60,000 in it, fixing it up. striped it to the studs inside and out, new windows, new roof, new porch deck, add a side door, take out some interior walls, re-wire, re-plumb, put in a bath upstairs, subdivide upstairs into 3 bedrooms. re-do bath downstairs, replace floor joists and two walls on back porch,(enclosed).
trench in water line, already had a sewer hook up.
hang drywall, hang siding, textured walls and paint, lay carpet and flooring. install new cabinets and counters.

I did most of this work myself (with help from my dad and brother in law)except for the plumbing, and insulation that was contracted out.
I think I can handle a high degree of technical work
I'm willing to try anything i can myself. options?
if i could aford it, i would like to have a new full basement poured in, but i cant get any more money for it.
so unless I can fix it, i need to unload it, and move.

in retrospect, I should have made more intensive repairs to the foundation before spending so much on the rest., but 60 big ones was all i could get, and I still had to make huge cuts. I didn't get to do any finish interior work, like doors and trim and such.

I don't know if you are aware or not, but there was a major earthquake nearby in illinois, close to the indiana border recently that could have accelerated the walls condition. it cracked basements as far away as st. Louis, and I live about 60 miles closer to the quake.

I don't know if i have quake insurance, but even if i did i don't know how much it would cover, as it was already bowing in before but not as bad. even then it may be too late to make a claim.
 
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Old 05-23-08, 05:55 PM
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This is not going to be cheap and definitely not something you can do yourself unless you have serious foundation repair experience.

Get a structural engineer to inspect and determine what is causing the problem and what needs to be done to fix.

I can tell you you'll need to have reinforcing beams installed along that wall, plus tuck pointing the cracks, at a minimum. You probably will need to have the ground excavated and grading beams installed. You may also need to have new drain tile installed, because you have serious water problems.

The basement of the house I'm moving into has that problem all around, but it's not leaking, so I only need reinforcing beams and tuckpointing. The esitmate is about $10,000.
 
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Old 05-24-08, 11:42 AM
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If you're not sure if you have quake insurance - then you don't have any... It's a special policy with outrageous conditions that you would be sure to know if you had it...

Take the advice given.. this is not a DIY project... Save the house- and the $$ you've invested so far.. and hire a structural engineer to give you some ideas.
 
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Old 05-24-08, 07:08 PM
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I've gotten some advice on how to "support" the floor joists above the affected wall just in case it falls in.
using 2x6 wood to laminate a beam and place on top of 2 to 3 pole supports spaced evenly between walls, and to set the poles on top of solid concrete blocks.

here's my delima... I have two young children, the oldest is 4. and this house is too small for our needs. I have a lot of property, room to build a large out building, but it's located at the base of a long hill which is farmed all year. my property is low and flat and receives a lot of run off from the hill that extends a good mile to the south of me.(water problem)
my whole property does not drain well. I want to either expand on my current home, or get a larger one elsewhere.

I'd rather spend many thousands of $$'s on a new home than fixing up this wreck. I've lived here for about 8 years, and have owned it for about 10.

this wall is not the only foundation problem, the whole thing needs replaced to do it "right" the "ledge" in the basement along the center support wall is also about to "wash out" and that's an interior wall! dirt crawl space on the other side.
so i only want to spend what i have too. i consider any money i put into this home a loss right now but how can i sell it like this? I cant get the money it would take to do it right.


ideas?
 
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Old 05-24-08, 08:58 PM
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Sounds as if you might have a Historic Place. Valid suggestions have been shared on your behalf. With the assistance of your dedicated family members go ahead and stabilize the house as recommended. Then decide which option to pursue. I do have a major concern that no doubt you have considered; the apparent instability of the structure in proximity to small children. TrueWench
 
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Old 06-02-08, 08:15 PM
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Just been there, just done that!

I just (today) finished work waterproofing my basement which had walls bowing badly and some cinderblocks already fallen into the stair well. I used a contractor by borrowing the money out of my (former) retirement fund who installed drains on all 4 walls, 2 sump pumps with battery backup, replaced cinderblocks which had literally disintegrated, leaving gaping holes between the other blocks, AND installed carbon-fiber strapping every 4 feet to reinforce the walls.

Iknow you cant afford that, but I found this article somewhere else on this site which may give you the info you need to at least do basic rescue work. After all, a house which literally falls down is worth way less than nothing!

Here's the path:
Home How-To Information Interior Home Improvement and Remodeling Basements Basement Waterproofing How to Waterproof Your Basement

Good Luck!
 
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Old 06-03-08, 01:19 PM
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Definitely not a DIY job.

I am going with the vast majority in this forum.
Foundation repair is serious business, to be done by experienced people.
Mainly because to know what needs to be done, you need to have a structural engineer take a look at the situation.
No DYI article or online advice will do. Specially if, as you say, you suspect that the wall is about to cave in.
You will need to fix it properly whether you are going to live in the house, or sell it.
This very website has some information on foundations problems and its impact on real estate transactions as well. You might want to read:

http://www.doityourself.com/scat/foundationc

Some foundation repair and basement waterproofing contractors can give you a free consultation (so it will cost you nothing to find out how serious the problem is) and have experience working for real estate transaction purposes, in a way that will benefit buyer and seller, with things like transferable warranty.
That might make things easier for you.
 
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Old 06-04-08, 04:55 AM
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if the center supporting wall is ALSO deteriorating/falling in, then in order to sell it you are going to HAVE TO repair the structural damage requardless of what you do. DO IT NOW! some things can wait; others can not! PROTECT THE CHILDREN!!!!!
 
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Old 06-11-08, 05:52 AM
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Sadly, I'm guessing this guy is long gone.

Also sounds like he isn't going to have the money to do serious repairs like everyone is suggesting - maybe we could make some suggestions based on temporary ideas to assist with stability? It sounds like that's the road he's going down anyway, and while it's not "The Right Thing To Do," sometimes that costs so much as to be impossible for an average person who doesn't have thousands in the bank to raid.
 
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Old 06-17-08, 01:22 PM
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Concrete is cheap. <$3 an 80 lb bag

Rebar is cheap < $10 for a good pile

Treated 6x6 timbers are also relatively cheap at <$30 for 8'

20 Ton Hydraulic jack is < $100

Wheel Barrow, ho, shovel, pick, post digger... < $200

Making the house safe for children (so the building won't fall down) can be done easy, but these fixes are temporary. Permanent 'good looking' fixes take money.

It takes a few minutes to teach someone how to use concrete out of the bag. If they are motivated, and have a strong back, there'd be no stopping them.

I witnessed a guy building a solid concrete wall using nothing but old lumber (for forms) and bagged concrete.. He must have manually mixed and poured a couple yards (100 bags). 20 years later, it still stands strong. Some folks are like that - hard headed and strong backed. Carried the bags from his pickup truck right to the wheel barrow. Had gallon jugs filled to the right amount of water for each bag. Dump-Mix-Pour.

Might want to invest in a rental mixer for larger amounts of concrete. And look for used plywood and timbers to build your forms. For some reason, concrete loves old wood forms. Make sure they're anchored and supported well. I've had several wood form 'blow-out's or collapses in my time. That's how you learn.

Lots of resources on the Internet for learning Concrete. It's much easier than drywall.

Can a DIY'r replace the foundation of their house? With enough time, learning, and effort, of course.
 
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