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Old 06-20-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


Here is my challenge.

Late 1920's brick bungalow in the Chicago area.

I am finally getting to something that has bugged me for years. The photos should explain the problem that has gradually gotten worse over the last several years.

I recently decided to work on this, and I am looking for some advice.

From what I can tell, this front porch is built on its own cinder block foundation. Under the pillar that is cracking out, there is a pretty solid foundation. At least it seems like it is.

My problem is, I just don't know what to do here.

I would really like to save the original concrete pieces and get everything back in place, but I am not sure if this is even possible?

Anyone ever deal with anything like this? Any ideas or suggestions? I suppose a new round section could be formed and poured, but I would like to avoid that, if possible.

Thoughts?

One of my thoughts is to use a bottle jack to get them back in position and then drill a hole through the pieces and somehow use rebar or some type of "pin" to pin them back in place and then fix the cracks, fill the holes, smooth and paint them.

thank you folks in advance!


PS the boards are there because I was evaluating how heavy the pieces are and how far they have fallen.

There is typically not a trench there either, I dug that in order to see what I am working with.











Last edited by oldhouseguy; 06-20-2013 at 12:35 PM.
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Old 06-20-2013, 05:44 PM   #2
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


that looks to be a ' collar ' that was formed & placed around the planter, no ?

i don't know why anyone would bother repairing it since it needs some steel in it for strength. why avoid the easiest solution ? just my thoughts

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Old 06-20-2013, 09:48 PM   #3
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


I am asking for solutions because I really don't know much about concrete.

As I look at it, you are probably 100% right, it was probably formed as a collar and added.

How would I go about building a form for something like this?
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Old 06-20-2013, 10:11 PM   #4
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


Get a Sonotube and cut down to the size you need, to form the collar, to pour the concrete in. I would build a frame of 2x4's around that planter, with eight foot 2x4 braces to hold the box placed around it, so that it does not move, while you are doing this work. Also the other problem is, can you tell if there is anything underneath that pedestal supporting it from the bottom, as a footer?
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:36 AM   #5
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


The lack of anything under the outside edge of the collar is what likely cracked it. Frost heaved the soil up under it and that lead to it cracking away from the rest of where the the porch and sidewalk are laid. The question is whether any repairs would work in ways that wouldn't suffer the same fate.

Are there any other stairs in the neighborhood set up the same way? What do those look like in this area? Because I'm guessing they don't have this collar. And if they don't then this collar was added by someone to deal with something else that went wrong with the original way the side walls were constructed.
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Old 06-21-2013, 10:54 AM   #6
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


Have you had those broken pieces out so you can see whats under that brickwork???
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Old 06-21-2013, 03:13 PM   #7
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


Let's see...

Almost every house of the brick bungalow style in my neighborhood has similar if not in some cases the same kind of collars under planter section of the stairs.

I think you are right that the frost heave probably did this damage, but I am going under the assumption that they are original to the house, and the house was built in the late 20s, so 90ish years isn't so bad.

I am with you on being concerned about repairing them and having the same thing happen much quicker this time.

I will get under there in the next few days and see if I can snap a few photos of what is underneath. I can take the front piece right out and it is sort of hollow under there, it looks like the whole stair section is built on almost a foundation coming out like a pier from the house foundation. In other words, there is no basement under the stair section, but the basement is under the top porch area that you see close to the door.

Thanks so much for all the thoughts so far!
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Old 06-21-2013, 05:02 PM   #8
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


"I can take the front piece right out and it is sort of hollow under there, it looks like the whole stair section is built on almost a foundation coming out like a pier from the house foundation."


Thats how it's supposed to be,when the foundation walls were poured those two sections you see under the stairs,were poured as an integral part of the foundation,and thats what's holding up your stairs and porch.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:16 PM   #9
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Canarywood1 View Post
"I can take the front piece right out and it is sort of hollow under there, it looks like the whole stair section is built on almost a foundation coming out like a pier from the house foundation."


Thats how it's supposed to be,when the foundation walls were poured those two sections you see under the stairs,were poured as an integral part of the foundation,and thats what's holding up your stairs and porch.
It's a concrete block foundation, just to be clear.

The point I am trying to make is that the stairs and the brick structures that hold up the sides of the stairs and the planters seem to be on another concrete block type foundation that is independent of the foundation to the house.

It doesn't really appear to me that the round part that has cracked into pieces is structural at all. The other side is intact, except for a hairline crack.

I will go outside now and post another picture in a few.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:24 PM   #10
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


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Old 06-21-2013, 06:27 PM   #11
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


ok maybe you can see better what these are like in the above photo... you can see the edge and the hole from a concrete block foundation. When I reach up inside (which I admit was a little freaky because a huge nasty looking spider came out just before I stuck my hand in there) I can't reach far enough back to feel, because there is just loose concrete and other assorted rock material in there. So, I cant tell if these brick columns for lack of a better term have anything running up through them or not.

It seems like these collars are just something to close off the bottom and are not structural. The other side of the stairs has the same thing and the collar doesn't touch the ground anywhere.

It is almost like they are meant to conceal the block foundation and just be an architectural element.

Where you see it looking like it sits on the slab, its not sitting on it, its kinda hanging there and there is probably a 1/2 gap from the flat slab to the bottom of the collar.

Last edited by oldhouseguy; 06-21-2013 at 06:30 PM.
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:39 PM   #12
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


This is only a guess from your photos and info, but I'd assume those weren't meant to be collars, but were actually poured before the brick as a post base. I'm sure they mixed that concrete by hand, so throwing some loose fill in the middle of the concrete seemed like a good idea at the time.......
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:39 PM   #13
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


Yes your right about the round part that gave way,not being structual more decorative than anything,but it looks like it's supported by the cmu's,i was born and raised in Chicago and have never seen a block foundation in the city,are you in a suburb??
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:40 PM   #14
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Yes, I am in a suburb.
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Old 06-21-2013, 07:44 PM   #15
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Old House pedestal cracking!! Help!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Canarywood1 View Post
Yes your right about the round part that gave way,not being structual more decorative than anything,but it looks like it's supported by the cmu's,i was born and raised in Chicago and have never seen a block foundation in the city,are you in a suburb??
It seems like it has an imperfect ledge that sits on the cmu. This makes me think it was poured in place. That makes more sense to me because it seems unlikely that they would pour it and then try to fit it around.

I am not a concrete guy, I am probably in over my head on this to a degree, but I am fairly handy and will try about anything.

So, the question is, what should I do?

I will admit I had to look up the term "cmu"

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