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Kellxr7 08-05-2013 11:09 AM

Serious foundation issues, can't afford to repair, suggestions?
I am stuck with a serious problem & I don't know how to fix it or where to turn, I am looking for options and hope somebody can provide some helpful information or different options.

I would go through my whole backstory to explain how this happened, but there is no point in wasting time on the past so I will get right to the point..

5 years ago I purchased a home built in '56 a small 600sq ft home that has a concrete block wall basement with MAJOR bowing issues. I had a structural engineer draw up plans on what is needed to repair it, I then had a foundation contractor do an estimate on the repair... $95K (that's the minimum, if they did the tear out, as well as exterior landscaping and electrical etc it would be approx. 160k) I cannot afford to fix this, but if I want to sell the house, it has to be done. My only hope is that being the city I live in is booming right now and property is an easy sell that I can find a home building company that will buy my home, demolish it and plop down a duplex or something (I say that because it seems to be happening a lot in the area) & it is a good neighborhood that I live in. If I could find a more affordable way to fix the basement I would, but it is in terrible shape, the contractor that looked at it and shook his head saying he can't believe the home inspector passed it. I was told my the home inspector that it had some 'minor' foundation issues, but not uncommon in the neighborhood & no major concern... well that was completely untrue when I tore out the drywall to renovate the basement I got sick to my stomach seeing how bad the walls actually were. I don't know what to do without putting myself neck deep in debt. Please help.

joecaption 08-05-2013 12:10 PM

How many estimates did you get?
Need some pictures!

Gymschu 08-05-2013 02:09 PM

Wow, that's an expensive fix!!! If the walls are bowing, obviously you have other issues as well. Is yard graded towards the house? Is there a hill nearby that is pushing up against the foundation? Are there drainage issues with rainwater runoff from the house? This is a delicate fix because the house will need jacked up, the old walls torn out and new put in. I've seen friends of mine do their own fix doing poured concrete walls. Yes, it was a lot less than $95,000! But it is backbreaking work.

ccarlisle 08-05-2013 03:02 PM

"5 years ago I purchased a home built in '56 a small 600sq ft home that has a concrete block wall basement with MAJOR bowing issues..."

I hope you didn't pay much for it.

kwikfishron 08-05-2013 04:31 PM

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:eek: $950 a lf. Something ain't right, I don't care where you live.

123pugsy 08-05-2013 04:39 PM

If you have a decent sized lot and your area is booming, it may be worth something just for land value.

Fixing a 600 square foot house, selling it only to have the buyers knock it down and build a bigger house is a waste of money.

Daniel Holzman 08-05-2013 05:56 PM

I certainly am not going to diagnose your problem over the internet, especially since you have no photos, and at best a sketchy description of the problem. A couple of points come to mind. First off, it is NOT the inspector's job to "pass" your house. They are simply there to report on visible conditions within the scope of their contract. Any inspector who offers opinions on structural integrity of a foundation would be way out of normal practice, so I have to question exactly what you mean by the inspector "passing" the house.

Second, I have designed several bowing block wall repairs on larger than 600 square foot houses, and the cost was well under the quotation you apparently received. Since you apparently have an engineer's report on how to repair the house, you should get several more bids from reputable foundation repair contractors. Generally is more than one way to repair a foundation such as the one you describe, so presumably your engineer has offered alternatives. By offering the contractor alternative solutions, you may be able to get a more favorable bid.

jomama45 08-05-2013 08:26 PM

I'm with Dan and Ron, I can't fathom how it would be possible to complete $160K, or even $95K, of work on such a small basement, unless it's on the side of a cliff and has something like 20 courses of block on one side. I bid similar (all bigger than 600 sq. feet) projects out on a regular basis, and none have come close to that. Time to take the engineer's recomendations and get additional bids from a few reputable contractors..........

cjm94 08-05-2013 08:35 PM

I would get some bids from house moving companies. I moved a 1000 sq ft house. And had a basement built under it for $30,000

TarheelTerp 08-05-2013 09:45 PM


Originally Posted by cjm94 (Post 1225611)
I would get some bids from house moving companies. I moved a 1000 sq ft house. And had a basement built under it for $30,000

Even if the move is only 20 feet deeper into the same lot.

Msradell 08-05-2013 10:07 PM

For the price of that quote you could demolish the house and build a new one in the same property for less! I like the idea suggested earlier about moving it slightly on the lot onto a new foundation/basement!

Kellxr7 08-06-2013 08:27 AM

Here are a couple pictures, I can try to get better detailed pictures if anyone wants, but I am pretty sure it doesn't take a second look to get a good idea of whats going on in the pictures. It appeared that somebody along the line attempted to fill the gaps with mortar and knew they were wasting their time.

As for what I stated about the home inspector 'passing' it, it might have just been a poor choice of words, as I was only stating what the contractor said to me. I assume what he meant was if he saw the walls (which were framed and drywalled,) did show signs of slight bowing and when I asked him if this was of concern he said it wasn't anything out of the ordinary and there was nothing in the home inspection report, I should have known better, but I was young and stupid, but he was an expert and should have suspected something, that's all that meant. (I am not blaming my crooked house on him.)

As for the engineer, he only offered the suggestion of bracing from the inside, no other options. My personal original plan was to dig it up from the outside temporarily secure the house while the walls were straightened out. ...And no, I did not pay a lot for the house which is one bonus & since we bought the house, prices have gone up substantially which I am thankful for.

Looks like I need to get some more quotes, the problem is that it has been extremely difficult to get anyone to even look at it because the city I live in is booming there is so much new residential and commercial construction going on I assume these contractors would prefer to build new than deal with crappy jobs like mine (I don't blame them though) ...

I don't know if this just me worrying, but the condition of the basement I am worried that if a few contractors take a look at it & realize how bad it is, that they will report it to the city and have my home condemned (I only say that because, the last contractor that gave me the 95k quote asked if the city was aware of this.),

I am not sure why the walls have bowed so badly, yes there grade is a minor part of the problem, but it appears to me that this was a problem since the home was built, maybe it was lousy construction and backfilled too soon & it started there? (just speculation, I am obviously no expert) secondly, there is a 3' pony wall above the concrete block with 2 fairly large windows on the front and one on the side, my house and neighbors house are identical other than mine is 3' taller, maybe when they built it this was an easy way to have a basement with 8' ceilings.

I can take more pictures of the outside if anyone cares to see what I am talking about. Thank you for your help and suggestions so far.

123pugsy 08-06-2013 11:51 AM

WOW! :eek:

ccarlisle 08-06-2013 02:57 PM

Read up on the various options you may have. Good luck!

Amateuralex 08-06-2013 03:02 PM

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I am no expert, but my friend's house (larger than yours) has similar issues in his basement, and the quote he got to jack it up , dig out and remove the walls and rebuild them was about 35k. The one quote you got seems ridiculous. Get more.

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