Concrete block bowed and water problems


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Old 08-21-08, 03:47 PM
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Concrete block bowed and water problems

I bought a 1940ís house near Des Moines, IA with a concrete block foundation 9 months ago. The front basement wall is bowed inward around an inch or two horizontally around 2/3 from the floor. Most of the cracking is along the grout lines, at the ends some blocks are cracked through their corners. The corners of the wall appear to be stable and square. This wall has joists resting on it. Thereís a concrete block dividing wall running down the middle of the basement parallel with this wall, but the joists on each side only go half way (not from one end of the house to the other).

A structural engineer doing the home inspection suggested that we should reslope the ground outside and tuck point it. I canít tell if the wall has moved any since weíve lived in it. The seller indicated that there are no basement water problems. We were surprised to find that water runs through the basement at this wall every time a normal to heavy rain comes.

An outside concrete pathway runs against the house at this wall and it has sunk against the house. This leads to water pooling against the house until it gets in between the crack of the walkway/foundation. I have a feeling this water is entering concrete blocks of the foundation that are not far from the surface that were cracked from the wall bowing inward. The front yard slopes toward the house. The dirt is only a few inches below the siding so I canít build up the ground along this side of the house. The only way to regrade would be to dig out earth from the middle of the down sloping yard to make a shallow trench a few feet from the house. The gutters are routed a few feet from the foundation. Mainly I want to stop the water entry and reduce the possibility for the wall to continue bowing. Secondly it would be nice if the wall was straightened.

I would like to do anything I can myself, money is an issue at the moment. After plenty of reading here and from other experts I think I have a plan but Iíd like to hear your idea for my exact scenario. The plan is to expose the foundation to below the footing and install drain tile leading to a sump pump on the other side of the wall. Iím not sure how but I read that the bowed wall can be pushed back to plumb without the weight of the earth against it. Then seal the entire wall from the outside, sealing method unknown. I would use styrofoam to protect the sealant from rocks. I would regrade the front yard by removing soil in the middle of the hill to create a V so that water falling from either end of the front yard finds itís way to the channel and is directed through the side of the house to the back yard hill. Does this sound like a plausible solution?
 
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Old 08-21-08, 08:59 PM
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Since it's only an inch or two, you may not have to push the wall outwards but stablizing it is a must.
I searched google for "straighten bowed wall" and there was a lot of information on straightening and stablizing.

No matter which one you do, you have to dig outside to a few inches below the footing. There is a membrane that comes on a roll for sealing the foundation. I worked for a waterproofer once and we did a lot of them. Dry the outer wall with a torch and spray it with the glue the comes with the membrane. Remove the paper on the back and apply the membrane to the wall convering the footing. Use some tar at the top of the membrane and where any pieces overlap. Throw some #8 gravel at the bottom before you backfill. Make sure no dirt is thrown between the membrane and the wall. After that make sure your pitch is correct. The sump pump is your call. You may or may not need it.
 
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Old 08-22-08, 07:48 AM
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Thanks for your advice, that sounds like a great product. Where can consumers pick it up, is there a brand name? I can see how it would resist the ability for water to push through the wall, but any water that does get against the wall just runs to the gravel pit below to seep into the ground. Does this work okay in clay soil too? Did you work there long enough to experience if it was a permanent fix?
 
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Old 08-23-08, 06:50 AM
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You can buy that product at a building supply house. I never had to work with clay but you may be down past the clay. It's a permanent fix.
 
 

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