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Old 11-02-2013, 10:01 PM   #1
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Old house with Foundation issues...


Hey all,

I'm in an odd situation. I'm currently renting a house, a 1910's "arts and crafts" style, from my mother, with my brother handling the lease and legal work.


Regarding the house itself, while it was a foreclosure, it wasn't in "bad" shape. Most of the interior living space was well-kept, most has the original woodwork, it's brick exterior, it's got a good furnace and AC unit.

The main problem comes from deep in it's history. It seems that somewhere around 20-30 years ago they had a fire break out over the stove, one that didn't completely burn out the wall, but it was enough for them to justify building-out a new kitchen wall and drop-ceiling to cover-up the damage. They also added an additional 10' to the E wall, and moved previous the exterior wall 10' further interior, creating a new 20' room out of 10' of new and 10' of the existing, this 10' only has a crawl-space.

They also much more recently added drainage tile, and I suspect they had a lot of flooding issues, we're sitting in a low trough which runs down the middle of our block, downhill from E to W, but basically we're where if things were wild a creek would form during rains.




The basement is my primary concern at the moment, and it involves most of the above....

There is a cinder-block load-bearing wall running down the median of the entire basement, and probably the bottom 2-3' of most of the length shows signs of water damage, the exterior surface is chipping off, in some areas up to 1" has been removed by this process.

The foundation itself shows signs of concrete rot under the surface, there are numerous cracks in the floorspace that if you poke around you'll find rotten concrete underneath.

The drainage tile was working well last year, a little too well actually. It was running almost continuously for a while, even after the rains stopped. I grew suspicious about it, and one day spotted the floor drain backing up while the washer upstairs was draining.

There are vent pipes coming off the washer drain line which jut of at a 90 deg angle, after dropping from 3-1/2" pipe to 2" pipe (against code). One of those vent pipes is mysteriously still connected to the old sump well via over 50' of piping, virtually everyone dismissed that the washer water could have made it to that old sump pit, which is connected to the drain tile (and covered up by fresh concrete).

Recently though the sump has stopped pumping, the well has gone dry. I was at first hopeful my grading work in the yard had mitigated the issue, but now we've had several inches of rain this past week, and not a drop in the well, and I'm getting concerned.

Turns out the floor drain is clogged with thick organic material, I just discovered this today as I went to replace the corroded pea trap.

Went looking at it again, and I'm now seeing that the floor drain is also connected to the drainage tile, you can see by the way the surface was reworked where they laid the tile.




So, I've got drain tile and a connected floor drain clogged with thick organic material, I've got about 40' of cinderblock load-bearing wall which has concrete rot on the lower 2-3', and probably over 100sqft of floor area which has visible concrete rot.

The chimney is also shot, and leaning. I suspect most of the water got into the wall via the chimney, but the vent pipes and sewage pipes also run through it.



Icing on the cake is that this is not my house, I'm renting it from family who are unwilling to even think about these issues, let alone deal with them.

Ideas?

Peace,
Dan O.

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Old 11-02-2013, 11:53 PM   #2
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Old house with Foundation issues...


Usually any water damage on the foundation walls, comes for poorly maintained gutters, and downspouts not extended away from the structure. Your best thing to do, is bring in someone that deals with weeping tiles (ie plumber, or basement contractor), that does nothing but French drains and fixing foundation undermining.

The only bad thing is, if they find that there has been undermining along the foundation under the footers, then they will have to most likely have to brace that section while they pour a new footer to brace that section, before they do either inside or outside weeping tile.

If they have a way to dig around all four sides, without removing driveway and patio, it would be better to do an outside weeping system, along with the draining fabric, which would allow any water to not get through the foundation, but go down to the weeping tile, so that it can be pumped out through the French drain via a Sump Pump.

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Old 11-03-2013, 12:07 AM   #3
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Old house with Foundation issues...


Thanks for the reply Greg,

I realize my explanation was a bit long-winded, this whole thing is a lot to work you're head around....

My main concern isn't with the exterior foundation, but with the interior load-bearing wall that runs down the median of the house, supporting the upper 2 floors.

It's an old-fashioned kind of cinder block, horizontal diamond-shaped gaps that run end-to-end with the blocks, so you can take a broom-handle and run it through the end of the wall with plenty of clearance.

My concern is that being an interior wall there were never any weepholes put in, and any water that worked it's way in via chimney, sewage, or vent pipes backflowing, never got out without causing damage. The gaps in the cinderblocks make it possible for water to run the full length of the wall from the inside, which is what I see on the outside.

I can access the ends of the wall at a few points, but the bulk of the damage has no access to these spaces, it's sealed with no weepholes for drainage.


Meanwhile the draintile, sewage, and sewage vent pipes all run through the wall as well as HVAC.

This load-bearing wall is where 10' floor joists are supported from each side of the house. The floor joists overlap by about 2' over the wall, with no joist hangers or carriage bolts. The floor is shifting and so far off-level that a bubble disappears on a level in places.

Dan O.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:31 AM   #4
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Old house with Foundation issues...


Regarding the exterior foundation...

I honestly am completely unsure of it's condition, as most of it was covered over with a moisture barrier layer when the drain tile was installed.

Most of the concrete rot that I'm aware of is in the open floor space of the basement.

The one real oddity I noticed regarding the exterior foundation, is that the floor joists are almost all propped up on the brick or cinder-block (varies) by wood shims and old scrap floor boards. Most of the top of the foundation lacks any framing material between the floor joists and the brick or blocks other than these wood ships and scrap floor boards.



Something tells me there's some fundamental problems with all this, more than anything right now I'm looking to get some feedback on just how concerned I should be, and whether or not I should find some way to take action, whether that's pressuring the homeowner (family) or moving out.

Thanks again,
Dan O.
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Old 11-03-2013, 12:48 AM   #5
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Old house with Foundation issues...


Can you post pictures of the wall you are talking about. Sounds to me that you are talking about the fact that they extended the old original basement, into a newer basement, so yes you could have issues with still foundation undermining, if any water got under that old wall, or there has been settlement.

Only real way to find out, is to cut a 18"x18" hole at the wall, and do some investigation, to see how bad it is. Now if you are wanting to remove that wall between the two sections, you need to bring in an engineer, to find out what kind of footing you will need, how many Lolly Columns along that length, and if you need a Lam beam or Steel I-Beam along there.

If you can get some pictures showing both sides, floor plan drawing of the basement dimensions, also showing floor joist, hvac ducting, (will need at least three drawings, so that you have one with the foundation and that wall, the next being the joists, and the third showing hvac duct work, along with waste drain, potable water (cold/hot), and gas lines).

You can use Google Sketch-Up for the drawings. If you can get the pictures & drawings, we do have a engineer that visits this site, that can look over the info. You have a lot of good info in your posts now, just need to add in the other, and maybe we all can come up with a solution for what direction to go on this.

What is your budget btw, for any fixes or repairs on this project, and have you gotten any bids yet on it?
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Old 11-03-2013, 06:35 AM   #6
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Old house with Foundation issues...


you're only a renter so w/o express permission from the owners, in writing, you can't do anything other'n move
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:18 AM   #7
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I realize this is a family property and you are hoping to add value to the place--so I suggest this.---Call in a foundation/waterproofing specialist--

You have listed a number of different issues--without an expert on site to assess how they all affect each other---and which needs attention first---you may waste a lot of effort---Mike----
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:49 AM   #8
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Time for a structural engineer's report. Time for a family conference on the ultimate desired fate of this house. Maybe time to move if B can't get on board with A.
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Old 11-03-2013, 01:26 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by itsreallyconc View Post
you're only a renter so w/o express permission from the owners, in writing, you can't do anything other'n move
It is family property. Read the whole post first, before jumping to conclusions.
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Old 11-03-2013, 07:54 PM   #10
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Old house with Foundation issues...


Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
It is family property. Read the whole post first, before jumping to conclusions.


I agree with IRC,he's a renter and can't do anything without written permission.



Icing on the cake is that this is not my house, I'm renting it from family who are unwilling to even think about these issues, let alone deal with them.

Ideas?

Peace,
Dan O.
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Old 11-03-2013, 08:33 PM   #11
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Canarywood1, it is his own family's home, so really he would just need to make sure the rest of those in his family are on board. I do not get where you think that the OP is renting from non-family.
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Old 11-03-2013, 09:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
Canarywood1, it is his own family's home, so really he would just need to make sure the rest of those in his family are on board. I do not get where you think that the OP is renting from non-family.


I disagree,read his own words!

I didn't say I think he was renting from non family,you did.


Hey all,

I'm in an odd situation. I'm currently renting a house, a 1910's "arts and crafts" style, from my mother, with my brother handling the lease and legal work.

Last edited by Canarywood1; 11-03-2013 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 11-03-2013, 10:10 PM   #13
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Old house with Foundation issues...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Canarywood1 View Post
I disagree,read his own words!

I didn't say I think he was renting from non family,you did.


Hey all,

I'm in an odd situation. I'm currently renting a house, a 1910's "arts and crafts" style, from my mother, with my brother handling the lease and legal work.
You are the one arguing something that the OP and I have both stated the same thing. You really need to learn how to quote another person's posts also, instead of making it sound that you are the one asking the question.

Just for your information, I never stated that the OP is renting from non-family, you are the one imagining that. Go back to the beginning and re-read everything carefully.
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Old 11-04-2013, 06:20 AM   #14
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We may have a fly by poster---he hasn't been back to answer any questions---
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Old 11-04-2013, 10:10 AM   #15
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Thanks for the replies all, sorry for my delay in responding...


Yeah, we could solve these problems, but having family on-board is the main hurdle.

The house itself is situated in a good neighborhood, so if these repairs were done the ROI would be well worth the cost, especially since it was purchased as a foreclosure. It wouldn't be far-out to expect $50k in equity from these types of improvements.

Family has the funds, but not the motivation. They have been unwilling to accept the situation as it is, temporary. They don't want to even talk about how much the house would sell for in 5 years, they seem to expect us to live her until we're old and grey, despite everything we've said stating otherwise.

It's a very odd situation, one where family has a lot of personal views regarding my character and my intentions which aren't based in reality or fact, but are creating a barrier to achieving any goals and preventing cooperation.




My main concern right now is that while at this moment in-time we could move out and the house would sell for $50k profit, we don't currently own the house. My family has stated that it's their intention we will own the house, but refuses to set any goals or requirements to that end.

With additional improvements and repairs it could potentially sell for $70k profit or more.

Despite that though, I'm worried that if these underlying issues aren't addressed it could create problems that damage the value of the house considerably.

Even if we don't have to worry about the value of the house, I have my own health issues involving migraines, sinus issues, mold allergies, among others.

The main reason we're in this situation is that I'm currently on disability for these very same health issues, and I know that these issues could be mitigated if I could distance myself from the triggers such as mold, humidity, etc.


I really want to be able to continue living here for a couple more years, build up the equity, have something to return for the efforts I've already invested. But at the same time I don't want to leave major issues addressed, or major health triggers a constant problem.


So, it's boiling down to we get these issues fixed (requiring family gets on board), or we move out.

The first thing I want to do before doing either is make sure that my view of the situation is justified. I want someone more experienced than I to give me some feedback on how large these issues really are, I don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill.


Peace,
Dan O.

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