bowed in basement block wall

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  #1  
Old 10-30-11, 06:28 AM
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bowed in basement block wall

i looked at a house yesterday. its a fixer.

block wall basement.
one wall is bowed in about 5" at its apex, and about 3" at the top.
wall is about 25' long.

it looks like when the asphalt drive was rolled out, it pushed on the wall. the drive has not settled at all, unless it was fixed years ago. the floor joist run parallel to this wall, and there is a steel beam on this wall.

now. i am thinking that this wall would need to be taken down and rebuilt. but is there a way to fix this wall ? like pushing it back ?

thanx
 
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  #2  
Old 10-30-11, 07:20 AM
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If you really want this house, have an engineer inspect it and render an opinion before you buy. If you buy you are going to want that opinion anyway. The $350 or so spent before hand could save you a bundle if it turns out to need something beyond what you are prepared for.
 
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Old 10-30-11, 07:31 AM
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Just a guess, but you probably will end up excavating the exterior and rebuilding the wall since pushing a wall straight still will not give it the strength it initially had or should have.

You should also have your engineer to inspect the blocking between the joints that run parallel to the wall. You should have at least 3 bays solidly blocked and adequate anchor bolts to tie the wall and floor system together. With 3" movement at the top, the connection between the wall and floor failed or never was there.

Get an opinion from someone that has the opportunity to see it in person (not a contractor that is cheap and wants a quick job).

Dick
 
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Old 10-30-11, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by drooplug View Post
If you really want this house
this house is this = as mick jagger says
"you can't always get what you want. but you can get what you need "
it is only a 2br, but the basement is large enough that i could put a nice br down there, if need be. AND still have a very nice "man cave".

and. the houses :
in this town, my price range and house type. are few. so i am either going to have to wait and/or compromise.


Abe Jack System for Bowing Basement Walls
see the pics at the bottom. the wall is not that bad. and i could live with those beams.
 
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Old 10-30-11, 07:45 PM
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ya know guys. i am thinking i can do this myself. replacing most of that wall.

call me crazy. and maybe i am. but it doesn't seem to be much more than a bunch of work. being SURE the house is supported, is the big thing.
basicly. after supporting the house. i would start taking out 1 block at a time. working my way down. and cleaning up the backfill that comes down from behind. untill it was all down. then clean up the area and start laying blocks. 2 days, lower the house and bolt it down. then do whatever it needs on the outside (i didn't think that far yet).

i was reading a thread, that said "pushing the wall back straight. and then filling the blocks with cement is not a good idea ". i was thinking of doing this.

what do ya think ?
 
  #6  
Old 10-31-11, 03:10 AM
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How would you water proof the exterior of the wall if you do all the work from the inside?
 
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Old 10-31-11, 04:52 AM
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Check with you building inspections department. A major repair like that might require a permit and inspections.

I would excavate the area outside the wall before attempting to take it down. With the wall gone there is nothing to support the soil on the other side. Dismantling the wall you risk getting buried alive in a cave-in. Also, I don't know how you will "clean up the back fill" from the inside. You may be dealing with many tons of dirt. Repairing the driveway will be minor compared to the other work you are planning.
 
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Old 10-31-11, 05:37 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
How would you water proof the exterior of the wall if you do all the work from the inside?
to begin with, who says any of the foundation was water proofed in the first place.
did they do that back in the 50/60's ? if so, how ?

but. when the wall comes down from the inside, of course some dirt will come with it. this will leave space to get down there from the outside.
 
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Old 10-31-11, 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
Check with you building inspections department. A major repair like that might require a permit and inspections.
i would. not just for the permit/inspection. but to possibly get some info from them. as i am sure they deal with this now & then.


Originally Posted by Pilot Dane View Post
I would excavate the area outside the wall before attempting to take it down.

With the wall gone there is nothing to support the soil on the other side.

dismantling the wall you risk getting buried alive in a cave-in.

Also, I don't know how you will "clean up the back fill" from the inside. You may be dealing with many tons of dirt.

Repairing the driveway will be minor compared to the other work you are planning.
that would make for a ton more work. try throwing 500 shovels of dirt 4-6-8' up to grade.

indeed. and gravity would help me, by putting the dirt at my feet. i then put it in buckets and carry it outside.

a cave in. yeah, there would be some of that. but to bury me, i don't think so. you see, when some dirt come down, it is going to be "some" dirt. not the whole driveway caving into the basement.

buckets, and some people helping.

perhaps. on fixing the driveway. i will have to deal with the settling of the backfill.
 
  #10  
Old 10-31-11, 06:03 PM
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oh. this house looks to be on high ground. and the basement looked to be bone dry.
 
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Old 11-01-11, 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by condo-owner View Post
to begin with, who says any of the foundation was water proofed in the first place. did they do that back in the 50/60's ? if so, how ?
I can't say for sure about the 50's and 60's but for long as I can remember, the outside of the foundation [below grade] was stucco'd and then a coat of tar applied. It might be possible to do this as you go but it wouldn't be easy. I'm not sure when it became common practice to install drain tiles.

While the basement might be 'bone dry' now, it might not stay that way if you comprise the way the foundation was sealed to start with.
 
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Old 11-01-11, 05:09 AM
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Originally Posted by condo-owner View Post
that would make for a ton more work. try throwing 500 shovels of dirt 4-6-8' up to grade.
Think excavator or track hoe. Put diesel power on your side. In a couple hours an excavator can cut a clean channel along the foundation. The dirt can be piled on the driveway where it's easy to shovel down into the trench when you are finished repairing the wall.
 
  #13  
Old 11-01-11, 02:09 PM
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Before touching a single block, I think a few things should be evaluated:
1. Make sure your lender will be willing to finance something as questionable as this (mute point if you're a cash buyer).
2. Your first post mentioned a steel beam on top of the wall--is it 25' long, full-length? Or is it pocketed into the wall, perpendicular to it, for supporting floor joists? Its orientation is important for how you approach your correction plan.
3. Does the wall have any pilasters (vertical "bumpouts", floor to ceiling, where thicker block were installed to form more substantial load-resisting columns)? A bowed wall with pilasters is indicative of serious deficiencies.
4. If any of the mortar joints in the wall are cracked and separated, it's important to know if the cracks are "growing", which would indicate the wall is moving. Install a few extensometers to see if that's the case.
5. I don't like the sound of your initial plan, but then I'm an engineer, and not fond of doing things the hard way, or taking risks that can hurt or kill people. But you should at least consider calling a few foundation repair outfits that have been in the business a while, requesting a free estimate. You might learn a few things from them, even if you choose to go ahead with your own repair plan.
 
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Old 11-01-11, 04:23 PM
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hey dick ! i want to see that jack in operation pushing a wall back to vertical against 20T of soil backpressure,,, you can probably stabilize the wall w/invisible wall pins as on our w/site but i expect your best bet is to rebuild the wall ( competent labor & budget permitting ),,, we have done several where the walls have collapsed ( imploded ),,, the most difficult part is assembling the right equipment ( cribbing, jacks, beams, stabilizing pipes ),,, that's why hiring the work is probably best 'cause you'll have someone else to sue rather than listen to nagzilla for the rest of your life,,, having a structural pe peek at the house is a good idea but ixnay on a i-net qualified house inspector
 
  #15  
Old 11-01-11, 05:28 PM
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I appreciate your enthusiasm for doing this yourself. I would think about doing it if I were in your shoes. However, this ain't kindergarten. Getting this right is imperative. Getting this wrong is going to be a disaster. The warnings about being buried alive should be taken seriously. Guys die in trenches all the time. Get an engineer to come in and tell you how it can be fixed. You may wind up doing things far more complicated than they need to be done. I once saw an episode of Holmes where they had a bowed wall in the basement. He had an engineer some in and tell him what to do. They solved that problem by building a second foundation wall inside against the old. I believe the gap between was filled with concrete. The engineer spec'd the size of the footing and block needed. Get pro advice on this. Seriously.
 
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Old 11-02-11, 07:36 PM
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thanx for the input, guys. this is why i come here = to learn.

as it turned out, someone else has a contract on that house.

and i am going to look at another one saturday. and i am now going to be sure to take pictures.
 
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Old 11-06-11, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by condo-owner View Post

and i am going to look at another one saturday. and i am now going to be sure to take pictures.
3rd house
the layout/design of this house is near perfect. but the house was trashed.
all new basement/foundation, gut the main level down to studs, new roof and garage. they have it listed for 105,000. it is worth about $40,000, if that.
i think i would break my camera if i took any pics.


i know it varies with the area. but what would it cost to replace a basement foundation of a 1200sf(ish) 3 br ranch ?
 
  #18  
Old 11-06-11, 08:00 AM
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Well. I know to excavate and to waterproof a foundation of a home about that size here in NJ would be around $20k from what I have heard. So I would think at least that much money. What's wrong with the foundation?
 
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Old 11-06-11, 04:58 PM
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wow ! just to waterproof ! i am in the wrong business.

the walls were bowed in, and leaking. this house looked to be on low ground.
 
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Old 11-06-11, 05:04 PM
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  #21  
Old 11-06-11, 05:11 PM
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Pics!
 
  #22  
Old 11-06-11, 05:33 PM
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Most of what I saw was shoddy construction that had failures due to deferred maintenance (a politically "correct term for neglect) and failure to correct problems. Possibly rentals or default buildings.

When that situation continues , the best correction is a bulldozer to improve adjacent property values.

Dick
 
  #23  
Old 11-06-11, 10:24 PM
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And some of the shoddy construction is directly responsible for the wall's failure. Noticed a lot of block ribs and flanges that didn't have any sign of mortar ever being attached. Either the block layers were skimping on material (knew they were running out of mud before block), or the mud was applied to dirty, dusty or possibly oily surfaces, or even using contaminated mud. Don't laugh--had a "professional" show up on a job once with 55-gal. barrels of mixing water that had so much diesel in them that at first I thought they were fuel barrels for his dozer and compressor.

The only mystery to me is why there aren't more building failures.
 
  #24  
Old 11-07-11, 04:08 PM
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I am way confused about what is going on here. The pics you linked us to. They look like they are from this house: http://www.thegulottafamily.com/Images/orighouselrg.jpg that now looks like this: http://www.thegulottafamily.com/Images/bluehousebig.jpg
 
  #25  
Old 11-07-11, 08:33 PM
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i had my wife talk to a contractor that does foundation replacements, today.

3 br ranch, full basement, concrete = 30-35k.
brick house would be more, of course.
 
  #26  
Old 11-09-11, 05:09 PM
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' deferred maintenance ' - dick, i like that
 
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Old 11-09-11, 09:54 PM
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I am no contractor but I once saw a duplex something like that on This Old House. The roof was literally gone, there were holes in the flooring and the plumbing and electrical had been stolen from the house. Not to mention the foundation was shot and they had to redo the foundation as well as remove a poorly built addition on the back. This was for low cost housing and myself I am all for saving old houses but that thing really should have been completely demolished. Oh the house was nice after it was fixed but the expense wasn't really worth the cost. Anything though to waste taxpayers dollars, there are better ways to provide housing.
 
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