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Old 07-06-2012, 10:13 PM   #1
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Cost/benefit of basement repairs?


Hi guys,

I have a bit of a complicated question so any help or advice would be very much appreciated. I'll try to make this as brief as possible...

Basically, I bought a house in 2010 that was a bit of a handyman's special. I figured I would save on rent during grad school and could even rent out the other bedrooms - this has worked so far, I have roommates and their rent really helps with expenses. I have done a lot of work on the place - finishing the floors, plumbing, painting, exterior work, etc. However I'm going to be really, really busy for the next few years and the basement - the last area I really need to fix - is kind of beyond my experience and equipment level.

Essentially the walls are "moist" - the previous owner(s) clearly tried to make things look better with a layer of waterproof paint (or several), but this just made the walls bubble and a lot of the mortar is disintegrating due to the dampness within the walls. I've made an effort to dry the place out by running a dehumidifier consistently and scraping the old paint off of the walls. The wall along the front side of the house is bowing slightly, as are those along the side, and there are some "stair case" cracks in the wall (which is cinder block).

Basically, I would like to leave the house in better condition than I found it, but the time I can devote to it personally is limited - and I plan to use my time to finish redoing the kitchen, backyard fences, etc. I had Everdry waterproofing out today, and the sales rep recommended their fanciest "Multi-Step" service (of course), which would involve exterior and interior work and some steel beams for the worst bowing, at a cost of about $9500. This was significantly less than they quoted me last year but it's almost half of what I spent on the house itself. Recent sale values of houses in my neighborhood are in the $30-40k range, and although I don't care about making a profit per se, I really don't know how much this improvement would add to the value of the house. Does anyone here have advice? I was planning on hiring someone for this job regardless of the approach I take...

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Old 07-06-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Cost/benefit of basement repairs?


nschulz,

I would highly recommend that you contact a local structural engineer to come and evaluate your basement. Remember, a structural engineer has no product to sell you, no fancy systems that will end all of the world's evils. The only thing they sell is their knowledge and experience.

A structural engineer is knowledgeable in foundation design and construction, soil engineering and issues with ground water. They can advise you on how to properly shore-up or repair your foundation and how to handle the water intrusion problem.

Of course their time is not free, but will certainly be well worth the money. Check with the local building department and they will probably give you the name of structural engineers they are familiar with.

Good luck!

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Old 07-07-2012, 07:32 AM   #3
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Cost/benefit of basement repairs?


I totally agree with GBrackins. You can get half a dozen contractors in, they will each have a different solution, and of course each of them thinks theirs is the best. This will be confusing and not too useful to you, while an experienced structural engineer can offer you unbiased solutions.

As to increasing the value of the house, unfortunately mandatory structural improvements needed to correct damage do not in general increase the value of the house. Much like replacing a deteriorated roof or a broken window, it is difficult or impossible to sell a house with structural damage, but the value of the house is generally a function of location, size of house, and style of house, and the value is normally figured based on the house being in good condition.

You may want to discuss potential home value with a realtor. It would be unfortunate if you undertook an expensive project only to discover later that there was no payoff for it.
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Old 07-07-2012, 04:05 PM   #4
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Cost/benefit of basement repairs?


Thanks for the advice! I have contacted a structural engineer and have a more locally-based waterproofing agency to give me another estimate on the work next week... this stuff hasn't been at the top of my list, but only because I don't deal with the basement every day - it's definitely at the top of what the house actually needs.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:05 PM   #5
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Cost/benefit of basement repairs?


nschulz,

please post back and let his know what the results of the engineer's evaluation was. always great to find out and most posters do not give the final verdict.

Good luck!
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