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Old 09-03-2008, 07:54 AM   #1
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


I have a walkout basement that was built in the 70s. The walkout wall is entirely exposed, no back fill. It is concrete block. I want to knock this wall out and frame in a stud wall so I can insulate it and install a sliding door and some windows. The joist in the house run parallel with this wall. Has anyone had any experience or knowledge of how to do this properly? The span is 28 feet, I want to use 12x6 construction but would also go to 2x8 if needed.

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Old 09-03-2008, 11:01 AM   #2
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


No point tearing down a good block wall and building a stick wall unless you're just looking for something to do. I would just open up the door and window openings just big enough that 2x PT lumber will frame the RO, install windows, insulate on the inside with foam board, add furring strips and drywall. Depending on the opening span and height you could insert a steel lintel to hold up the blocks above the opening or remove the block above the opening and frame it in. Finish the outside as desired.

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Old 09-03-2008, 11:10 AM   #3
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


Installation of windows and the door are very possible in a block wall as Jogr said. Simple installation of 2x or LVL headers or steel lintels above the openings would normally suffice. If you're wanting sheetrock on the inside, simply building a 2x3 or 2x4 stud wall on the inside would facilitate that, as well as give you a place to install electrical.

Although its a lot of work, and is arguably senseless, you can demolish the wall and frame in a wall with dimension lumber. 2x6 will work provided your house isn't taller than 2 stories. You'll have to go to great lengths to properly support the house to the footing while the new wall is framed. The new wall will have to be properly anchored to the foundation with anchor bolts and may need to be properly braced and sheathed for wind load resistance. Additionally, if your patio or yard doesn't have a great amount of slope away from the house, you're likely to have rot issues due to runoff and splashback in a framed wall. There's also the issue of termites in some areas.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:14 AM   #4
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


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No point tearing down a good block wall and building a stick wall unless you're just looking for something to do. I would just open up the door and window openings just big enough that 2x PT lumber will frame the RO, install windows, insulate on the inside with foam board, add furring strips and drywall. Depending on the opening span and height you could insert a steel lintel to hold up the blocks above the opening or remove the block above the opening and frame it in. Finish the outside as desired.
What I didn't mention was that the edge of the concrete slab has been cracking because of negative 30 degree temps over the years. The footings were only about 10 inches deep along the wall where they should be at least 4 feet deep I would think. Last winter it cracked real bad and now the current door will not open. There was no header built above this door either so this may have contributed to the problem.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:35 AM   #5
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


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What I didn't mention was that the edge of the concrete slab has been cracking because of negative 30 degree temps over the years. The footings were only about 10 inches deep along the wall where they should be at least 4 feet deep I would think. Last winter it cracked real bad and now the current door will not open. There was no header built above this door either so this may have contributed to the problem.
What is your location and what is the official frost depth? Did someone excavate to make the basement a walkout or was it planned that way?

I think you should google and read up on Frost Protected Shallow Foundations. You might be able to retrofit your foundation using this technology with below grade exterior foam insulation.

You could also waterproof and backfill some areas of the wall to get enough frost depth and still have plenty of window space. This is where having the block wall is a benefit as it is easy to waterproof. You could also extend your footing deeper but this is a big project.

And lastly, you could do a combination where you extend the footing deeper in the area for the door and waterproof/backfill in other areas and/or insulate as a FPSF.

The missing header may be because it is not a load bearing wall and the rim joist above is adequate. Or it may be another problem. It's likely that the door jammed when the slab heaved. You can probably tell by observation whether the door is being pressured from above or below.

Last edited by jogr; 09-03-2008 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:44 AM   #6
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


I am in northern Minnesota where it is about as cold as it gets. New homes here would have a 4 to 5 foot footing. The house was built on a slope that walks out and overlooks a lake. I want to keep the walkout. and finish the basement, but the movement of the wall has to be addressed first.

So far the process that I am considering is to scrape away about a foot of dirt next to the foundation, bring in a skidsteer with a auger and try to drill some deep holes in close to the foundation but at a slight angle to get under the slab, then wallow out the top with a shovel so enough of it supports the foundation. Then poor these (maybe 7 evenly spaced) with concrete. Then, knock the blocks out and frame it. Not sure if this process would work or not and still open to ideas. If I could salvage the block wall, I may do that, but I don't want any more movement.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:52 AM   #7
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


Drilling angled piers isn't adviseable. You need smooth vertical piers or (even better) a conventional spread footing. If the piers are angled or have sides that are less than vertical, they'll be subject to frost heave when the soil inevitably swells as it freezes.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:58 AM   #8
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I don't think that would work. The ground between the piers would still heave. You either have to underpin the whole thing, use FPSF technology and/or backfill or use some combination. The block wall is not causing the problem, leave it alone.

If it was me I'd underpin the door area down to below frost depth and use a combination of FPSF and 2' -3' high backfill designed as a raised planting area that extends maybe 4' to 6' out. So you'd have a walkout door to a patio that wraps around raised garden beds on either side.
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:02 PM   #9
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Drilling angled piers isn't adviseable. You need smooth vertical piers or (even better) a conventional spread footing. If the piers are angled or have sides that are less than vertical, they'll be subject to frost heave when the soil inevitably swells as it freezes.
I don't know how then to get footings put in to anchor the wall. I have thought about digging them with a shovel, but even this would be difficult to do and have straight footings. What if I undermined the shallow footings some and poured a deeper spread footing further out from the wall? The footing would not be directly under the house but close?
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:05 PM   #10
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I don't think that would work. The ground between the piers would still heave. You either have to underpin the whole thing, use FPSF technology and/or backfill or use some combination. The block wall is not causing the problem, leave it alone.

If it was me I'd underpin the door area down to below frost depth and use a combination of FPSF and 2' -3' high backfill designed as a raised planting area that extends maybe 4' to 6' out. So you'd have a walkout door to a patio that wraps around raised garden beds on either side.
There is a deck above the wall, and on the north facing slope. I don't want to backfill it, I want to have a concrete patio under this deck.

I am reading up on the FPSF right now and this may be my best option.
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:11 PM   #11
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


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I don't know how then to get footings put in to anchor the wall. I have thought about digging them with a shovel, but even this would be difficult to do and have straight footings. What if I undermined the shallow footings some and poured a deeper spread footing further out from the wall? The footing would not be directly under the house but close?
After you dig out you can use forms to get your footing vertical. But again it would need to be the whole wall not just piers. It needs to be done in sections and the house supported. It's tricky, hard work and potentially dangerous which is why I'd keep it a last option.
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Old 09-03-2008, 12:27 PM   #12
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After you dig out you can use forms to get your footing vertical. But again it would need to be the whole wall not just piers. It needs to be done in sections and the house supported. It's tricky, hard work and potentially dangerous which is why I'd keep it a last option.
I know it is a messed up situation. I need to do something though. I have had professional contractors out here and each one has a different opinion. Not sure who to believe anymore.

The joists do run parallel with the wall, so much of the weight is supported by the other walls and bearing wall in the basement. Seems like this would be a good thing
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:15 PM   #13
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Concrete wall replaced with stick frame?


I'd really suggest spending $300-400 on an engineer and having them come out and consult with you about the easiest and most economical options. They can take several things into account including soil bearing capacity, freeze/thaw, imposed loads from the structure, anchorage, reinforcement, etc.

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