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elementx440 02-26-2007 07:44 PM

bowing walls - repair?
I have some bowing walls and have heard all sorts of contractor's ideas to repair. I like the idea of replacing the walls... it tends to be the highest price, but I'd rather spend a little more and get it done right.

One guy claimed you could dig up, support the house, drill out the grout on both sides, pull the walls in and regrout.

Is this possible? I've never heard of doing that.

Is this something that can salvaged or should I just bite the bullet and replace the walls? (one of the quotes is $19,000 for the 3 main walls)

AtlanticWBConst. 02-26-2007 08:08 PM

Re-grout a wall??? I'm sorry, but could you be more descriptive about this? Pics? .... What area of the country are you in?....

redline 02-28-2007 08:20 AM

Are these cinder block walls or wood framed walls?

elementx440 02-28-2007 08:58 PM


Originally Posted by AtlanticWBConst. (Post 34904)
Re-grout a wall??? I'm sorry, but could you be more descriptive about this? Pics? .... What area of the country are you in?....

Well the problem is I don't really know what HE meant by that either... so that's why I'm pretty much definately not going to work with them... I think he was saying that by removing the mortar joints in between the blocks on each side, he could give the wall a bit of flex, correct for the bow, then regrout them and it would hold. I'm thining, the grout is the only thing keeping the blocks from being stacked right on one another.... How can you drill it out and keep a few tons of house from sinking a half-inch per row of blocks?

here's some pictures

Everyone has been steering me towards replacing the walls... which I can do, it'll cost a fortune, but I don't want to have to do it twice... I guess I just want some other voices to reenforce my decision...:thumbsup:

sheeter 03-02-2007 07:04 AM

From the pics, you have some real problems. Is your basement floor below the outside grade? It looks like the foundation walls are giving way under the weight of the backfill, which is not good. The foundation walls were probably not solid fill walls, where rebar is used inside the cavities of the CMU and filled with concrete or grout.

What is your opinion WB?

elementx440 03-02-2007 10:42 AM

Are all foundation walls' blocks rebarred and filled inside? I can't remember clearly but I think there's blocks I can see that aren't filled inside, you can see the empty chambers?

I guess this is yet another reason to replace the walls?

Wolfman51 03-02-2007 02:59 PM

Here in New Zealand the cement floor is required to have reo bars coming out of it so that the cinder blocks when solid filled have something to help reinforce the cement and give added strenght to the wall union with the floor. From the photos that you posted it appears that you have a severe backfill problem and also from your coments it would appear that your walls have not been solid filled and reinforced.

concretemasonry 03-02-2007 03:45 PM

You have a severe problem with bad backfill and drainage problems.
The only realistic way to solve the problem is to excavate the backfill, rebuild the wall properly. backfill with granular soil and correct the exterior drainage.

It appears that the wall is unreinforced, but it is only necessary for it to be reinforced if the height, thickness and soil types dictate that it should be.

The deflection and cracks are classic signs of high soil pressure. The wall should be rebuilt and backfilled with good soil. Just rebuilding without correcting the soil problems would be a waste of money. The new walls can be either 8", 10" or 12" thick block. The amount of steel and grout spacing will depend on the wall height and the block thickness.

Don't even consider the contractor that suggested pulling the walls out.

While you are at it, have drain tile installed to eliminate the moisture - it is a cheap investment and should give you a very dry basement.

elementx440 03-02-2007 04:04 PM

the contractor I like is going to dig up, replace drainage system, replace the walls, and backfill with engineered fill all the way to 6" from the surface (at my request).

Should I have him rebar/fill the blocks as well or is this overkill?

concretemasonry 03-02-2007 04:43 PM

The amount of rebar and grout (spacing) will depend on your local code, wall height and wall thickness.

In many areas with good granular backfill, 12 course walls of 12" block were not reinforced (like mine). If you use 8" block, some reinforcement will be required. If you are talking about a 13 or 14 course basement, some steel and grouting will be required.

Some contractors (a regional practice) use heavier steel and space it as far as possible. In that way, they can put weeps (poly tubing) from block cores into the drain tile as an additional waterproofing measure.

elementx440 03-02-2007 04:59 PM

the walls are about 8' high or so, the three walls to be replaced are 40, 40, 20, or so.

The contractor plans on using 8x8x16 block. No mention of reenforcement

sheeter 03-02-2007 05:54 PM

You should ask your contractor if doing so is in his price. If not, ask him to price it as an add. You can't go to far in supporting your home. The rebar and solid fill will lock all the blocks together so that they serve as one cohesive wall unit. Try to be there when they do the work, to make sure they don't throw batts inside the CMU cells. I have seen a lot of masons do that to reduce the amount of grout required and to eliminate debris that will have to be hauled off.

elementx440 03-02-2007 06:46 PM

what's batts? you mean like debris? So should I expect him to fill the blocks up with fresh mortar, is this a standard practice? I'm dropping almost $20,000 to do this, I want it done right and not have to redo it until I'm long gone.... like in 80 years or so, I'm an optimist :)

concretemasonry 03-02-2007 07:25 PM

Sheeter -

If you had more experience in design and construction you would know that automatically dumping a wall full of grout is not always the best.

The main job an 8", 10" or 12" basement wall does is to retain the soil - that determines the thickness, grout and reinforcement. If it was not for the soil, you would only need a 6" thick block wall to support the loads from the house.

element - If you fill any cores, you fill them with grout, not the mortar that you use when you lay the block. You only have to fill the block cores that have reinforcing steel in them. Just make sure you have him embed anchor bolts to run through the sill or plate.

elementx440 03-02-2007 07:37 PM

I'm still confused,

should I have him fill the blocks or not?
should he use rebar inside?
Do you think 8" block is ok or should I go bigger?

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