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Old 12-15-2010, 02:00 PM   #1
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


So, I just purchased a 28 year old home in Atlanta that needs a ton of work. One of the first items is a crack in the basement wall, with the bottom blocks displaced in about 1/4 inch.

I'll have a couple foundation guys come out, but I'd like to know what you all consider best practice to repair this. I like to be informed enough to ask questions.

The affected area is on a north basement wall, cinder block, with a frame and siding ranch above. The house was vacant for 1 1/2 years, and a downspout wasn't directed away properly. The gutters were also an issue. Now that those 2 things are taken care of the basement is pretty dry. Some grading will need to be done to make it 100%. I'll likely dig around the foundation outside and install drain and cover the block, but that's for another time...

So what are the options I have, and how would you all expect the wall cracks and displaced repaired correctly? Thanks in advance.


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Old 12-15-2010, 02:48 PM   #2
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


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One of the first items is a crack in the basement wall, with the bottom blocks displaced in about 1/4 inch.
Ayuh,... Looks more like Several Inches at the bottom...

That wall may have to be Completely replaced...

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Old 12-15-2010, 02:58 PM   #3
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


I'm seeing more wall movement than just that lower course of block. It looks like the earth outside in the over dig was never properly compacted and tried pushing the wall in once before, as evidenced by the painted over tuckpointed stair-like crack coming down from the right side of the photo. What kind of footing do you have? Does it look like it is cracked? Are there any cracks in the concrete floor around that lower course of block and the old crack? Is your electric service overhead or underground outside? Is that pipe in the corner water or gas? I ask all this because with the lower course blowing out you are probably looking at having an excavator, a mason, and a builder come in to dig up the ground outside to relieve the pressure on that wall. the floor above this area will need to be blocked up so the wall can be removed and rebuilt. Then they can waterproof the block outside and replace the earth, compacting it as they go. OR the house maybe alright just sitting there the way it is if the earth is dug up outside to get the pressure off the wall, but the trench would have to extend down hill 50ft from the house. Your choice.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:12 PM   #4
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


Thanks Bud. The electric service is overhead, the pipe is gas. No cracks in the floor anywhere. Not sure what kind of footing.

It's less than 5 feet under grade there, and pretty soft, I'm sure I can dig that by hand, that should help. I'm pretty sure I'd rather have that fixed properly, if it means supporting the floor above and replacing then I suppose that would be the way to go. I really wanted to do that around the front as well since I see other places where there are weep holes, like there was an issue before with water. I'd rather do that soon (dig to the footings) soon because I have to replace a front porch and have already dug up the plantings around the house. I think it would be better to take care of it all now.

So I think your option of repairing is best.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:26 PM   #5
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


That's what is referred to as a "wall shear" in the repair industry. Digging the exterior out, supporting the floor above, and replacing the effected section of wall is certainly the best long-term approach. Georgia is known for having heavy, expansive clays, much like we have in my own locale. When those soils are coupled with a lot of ground water, they can destroy a non-reinforced block wall, especially a half wall, in very little time.

The holes in the wall a few courses up could be an indicator that there is an interior "retro-fit" draintile system in place already.........
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:33 PM   #6
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


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The holes in the wall a few courses up could be an indicator that there is an interior "retro-fit" draintile system in place already.........
Thanks jomama45. So if there has been a retro-fit inside, shouldn't I see some evidence of this? To my eye it looks like the original concrete floor.

And I know I need to research more, but would digging down outside, placing drain pipe, covering the block with a membrane and back filling with gravel and then topsoil be the best treatment? Or am I way off? That was planned, but the wall bothers me more. My initial plan was to dig outside the cracked wall, have the wall repaired, then I would waterproof the outside of that wall, and the front wall at the same time.
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:55 PM   #7
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


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Thanks jomama45. So if there has been a retro-fit inside, shouldn't I see some evidence of this? To my eye it looks like the original concrete floor.

ANd that's why I said "could", because the holes could be for any number of things, such as pest control. If the floor was removed, it was likely 12-16" away from the wall. It usually is quite obvious.


And I know I need to research more, but would digging down outside, placing drain pipe, covering the block with a membrane and back filling with gravel and then topsoil be the best treatment? Or am I way off? That was planned, but the wall bothers me more. My initial plan was to dig outside the cracked wall, have the wall repaired, then I would waterproof the outside of that wall, and the front wall at the same time.

Your original plan sounds much better. There's no way I would recommend going through all that work w/o actually replacing that wall. There are other ways to address the wall, ie: steel wall supports are one, but none is as cheap & fixes the actual problem as well as total replacement. Of course, the new wall is going to need adequate re-inforcement.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:01 PM   #8
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


Okay, that's what I'll plan on. I'm sure the floor is original, there's nothing at all to indicate it's been disturbed. If the rest of the house is any indication, the previous owners did everything as cheaply as they could. I think they just drilled the holes all around to relieve any water pressure. I'd rather have the wall repaired so I can finish the space correctly.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:39 AM   #9
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Basement Block Wall Cracked


looks like a raised ranch,,, take a look on our w/site for 2 methods to repair & reinforce the wall,,, i'm partial to the invisible repairs but its your home,,, we're in atl ( e cobb ) but these methods work well for any part of the country

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