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Old 10-02-2009, 05:23 PM   #1
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Basement wall issues. Need rough idead of fix.


While having a structural engineer evaluate our roof for tile, he noticed what appeared to be one of the basement walls bowing inward. It's about 1" in 3 feet as measured outside above ground level.

The house is 60 years old.

Measuring inside the basement would have required removing tongue and groove paneling from the finished walls and been beyond the scope of his already expensive reason for visiting.

The previous owner had flooding issues several decades ago. It seems that a gutter drain either broke or clogged. Combine that with several weeks of inattention and he wound up with about 8'" of water in the basement. There were several obvious cracks in the stucco that were indicative of something going on (since patched) that the home inspector glossed over when we bought the house 3 years ago.

Anyway, the cause has been rectified and there's been no flooding since. And, for what it's worth, we have 3' eaves and the house sits on a level lot.

The wall is about 40' straight run and is entirely below grade. It is made from the old style block, the lightweight cinder stuff.

I understand that these straight runs are prone to this sort of bowing.

My question is, assuming that it's, indeed, 1" in 3 feet, how much should I be concerned this instant and roughly what are the steps needed to rectify it..professionally, of course. I can then approach contractors and start getting an idea of how much to budget.

And yes, a structural engineer is the best source for advice. But we're still recovering from the roof expense and we're not eager to have him drop by for another visit just yet.

Thanks!

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Old 10-02-2009, 05:46 PM   #2
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Basement wall issues. Need rough idead of fix.


do some investigative digging,,, i wouldn't be surprised to find block degradation/damage from soil acids attacking the block's cement's lime,,, 1":3' is not good as you've already theorized.

broken/clogg'd gutter drains COULD be the cause of the problem but, if so, its been happening over YEARS, not weeks, in my experience,,, i suspect the real cause's down near the footer,,, you could have some wall pins installed but the REAL trouble's outside - the cheap ' repair ' is done inside.


Last edited by itsreallyconc; 10-02-2009 at 09:15 PM.
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Old 10-02-2009, 08:02 PM   #3
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Basement wall issues. Need rough idead of fix.


Thanks for the reply.

The engineer wasn't too concerned getting it fixed immediately and signed off on the tile. So, I'm not overly concerned that my house is going to collapse tomorrow. But I would like to deal with it in the next 2-3 years.

Do you know what some of the repair methods you mentioned were called? This will give me something to Google.

Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2009, 09:23 PM   #4
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Basement wall issues. Need rough idead of fix.


we're currently replacing 30' of a collapsed back wall inside the garage,,, look'd fine from the inside til it ' blew in ',,, fema visited & concurr'd the front wall was bow'd about 1" in 6',,, they authorized funds for i-beams & ' wall pins ' rather'n soil tiebacks,,, some pics're post'd here: New basement in high water table

i's suggest a different engineer just to be sure you're got ' 2-3 years. '

Last edited by itsreallyconc; 10-02-2009 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 10-03-2009, 09:13 AM   #5
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Basement wall issues. Need rough idead of fix.


Quote:
Originally Posted by meltdowndave View Post

My question is, assuming that it's, indeed, 1" in 3 feet, how much should I be concerned this instant and roughly what are the steps needed to rectify it..professionally, of course. I can then approach contractors and start getting an idea of how much to budget.


Thanks!

In a nutshell, this is how I would approach the wall:

- Brace the inside of the wall to be repaired.
- Excavate & dispose of the existing soils to the footing outside.
- Straighten wall from inside to original position. This will require removal of any patches in the mortar made to "bed joints". (the horizontal ones)
- Once straight, re-inforce the wall with either steel wall restraints or by pouring rodded pilasters inside the block cores. The approach will vary on a few conditions. Usually, code, local "best standards of practice", or an engineer will make this determination.
- Re-coat the wall with a water-proofign agent & install either a drainage board, foam insulation, or something else to protect the coating from damage.
- Flush all bleeder tile (if you have them) & install new draintile around the exterior.
- Install 1 foot min. #1 washed stone over draintile. We usually use #2 stone for the remainder of the backfill, to within 1-2' of grade. Soil for the remaining backfill.
- Tuck point interior as necessary.

NOTE: I left this as vague as possible, as the OP is only looking for an idea at this point, & stated this would be done by a professional, who sure as heck should know what he's doing.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:22 AM   #6
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Basement wall issues. Need rough idead of fix.


Ok. I'm an idiot.

For some reason, I distinctly remember the engineer saying that it was 1" in 3'. I worried and sweated all night until, bright and early this morning, I picked up a 4' level and ran it over the back of the house (above ground portion).

I checked for plumb at 5 or 6 spots and not one was out greater than 1/4" in 4'. And that may be due to stucco irregularities. Several were perfectly plumb.

That would be 1/2" over 8 feet and, assuming equal bowing from the foundation to the roof, about 1" over 16 feet at the worst spots.

I'll know more later when we remove the knotty pine basement wall for electrical upgrades in the basement.

I tell ya...the availability of so much information (and some disinformation) available at your fingertips these days can make chronic worriers like me lose their sanity.
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Old 10-03-2009, 11:24 AM   #7
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Basement wall issues. Need rough idead of fix.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jomama45 View Post
In a nutshell, this is how I would approach the wall:

- Brace the inside of the wall to be repaired.
- Excavate & dispose of the existing soils to the footing outside.
- Straighten wall from inside to original position. This will require removal of any patches in the mortar made to "bed joints". (the horizontal ones)
- Once straight, re-inforce the wall with either steel wall restraints or by pouring rodded pilasters inside the block cores. The approach will vary on a few conditions. Usually, code, local "best standards of practice", or an engineer will make this determination.
- Re-coat the wall with a water-proofign agent & install either a drainage board, foam insulation, or something else to protect the coating from damage.
- Flush all bleeder tile (if you have them) & install new draintile around the exterior.
- Install 1 foot min. #1 washed stone over draintile. We usually use #2 stone for the remainder of the backfill, to within 1-2' of grade. Soil for the remaining backfill.
- Tuck point interior as necessary.

NOTE: I left this as vague as possible, as the OP is only looking for an idea at this point, & stated this would be done by a professional, who sure as heck should know what he's doing.
Thanks for the details. Wish I'd have posted sooner to save you the time.

Still might be useful, though. Who knows what we'll find when the walls come off.

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