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criss9567 08-14-2010 04:58 PM

Leaning/Bowing basement foundation wall
Hi, Looking for advice for a diy fix for an below grade basement wall that has a lean. The house had significant settling when built 50yrs ago. I have read about steel box and Ibeams being used as reinforcements. The wall has a horizontal crack about 25' long and is about 3" out from plumb at the worst spot. I plan on having the outside of the wall professionally waterproofed next year. But struturally is it a matter of setting 8' steel beam into the concrete floor and fastening to the floor joists. (more or less) ??? Advice welcome. Thnx

Stillwerkin 08-14-2010 06:08 PM

I'd suggest an engineer of course, before anything.

There are two things that can hold up a wooden structure and a heavy roof. 1). External perimeter bracing(i.e. foundation),
2). Internal structure(i.e. adding sufficient support beams set on pads in the basement set under load points).

Three inches out of plumb could be a bit scary. You don't want the entire structure falling down in a pile with people within....

Just like retaining walls, often there could be hydrostatic pressure pushing the walls in. This should be part of the fix.

Aggie67 08-14-2010 06:39 PM

Is it a bulge, or a lean?

I don't wish to alarm you, but if you have a 25 foot long horizontal crack, and the wall bulge is 3 inches out from the rest of the wall, your foundation wall has failed.

Also, it would be a bad idea for you to attempt a repair if you've never done this before. Heck, a lot of times it's a bad idea for pros to try and repair certain types of foundation wall failures. A bad situation can be made worse by trying to fix it, particularly with basement walls.

The best course of action to take is to engage a foundation repair firm that has a PE on staff. Second best course of action is to engage in a PE to evaluate it, then take the report to an experienced contractor.

I've seen foundation walls - in similar condition to what you describe - completely collapse after a rain storm. You need to treat this seriously.

bernieb 08-15-2010 09:43 AM

Is this a single , one floor home and a concrete basement floor? wood siding or brick outside? how close is the next house? are you friends with your neighbors? This is the time of the year to tackle this job, if you have the blood and guts to work hard and fast. First thing to consider is when all the block are removed ,do you have an area where the new 4 inch plastic pipe can drain to? If yes, and you have a couple of 2x12's 16 feet long to lay on the basement floor, and 24 2x4's for the prop up the house wall ,3 feet back from block tear out. One has to consider if your house has a good band board connecting to the floor joists, should be at least a 2x8, as it will be supporting the external wall. You need a backhoe to get the dirt out in a day, but have the temp. support wall in place. Providing you have a place to drain wall water ,you can start laying block right away and fill with gravel as you come up with the block and stick short lengths of rebar in block cores and get wall wire to embed in mortar layers. The only thing to be afraid of is rain. You can hire all the pros if you want ,but they won't get dirty. If the wall is bowed in the middle, its because the water had no where to go. If still no where to go ,put in a poured wall with plenty of vertical rebar, and into the footer also. Yes, I have done this before.

bernieb 08-15-2010 10:33 AM

You don't fill the block with gravel,you fill the block with concrete ,not the mortar. You can also put stiff legs under the band board to footer, and take them out as the block gets that far. Yes, use string to keep wall straight and plumb. This job can be done in four days with the help staying off the phone.

Why do you say the house is settling? When you put a four foot level on a 12 foot 2x4 how many inches are you out? Width and length. Are you on a steep hill?

concretemasonry 08-15-2010 11:45 AM

Does it lean or is it a "bulge". - That is the first very, very important piece of information that is necessary for a good answer/solution.

A history of past settlement make the possibility of leaning very definite from a rotation of the footing.

A horizontal crack, especially near the mid-height or slightly above indicates a wall failure due to to high lateral soil pressures (possibly because of high moisture in the pooor soil used in the backfill.

The weight of the house is a minor factor because of the light weight of a frame home with a brick veneer. is a minor factor. If it was not fot the soil behind the wall a 6" block would easily carry the load if the wall was only 8' high.

Without any additional information all you can get is guesses.


jomama45 08-15-2010 12:18 PM

First off, where are you located?

Second, I assume you have the typical wall deflection at 2-3 courses down, possibly with some slide on the floor joists. I should mention in all of the foundations that I've repaired, whether it be with steel restraints, internal "retro-pilasters", or complete wall replacement, 3" of deflection is at the upper end of the spectrum.

I would not neccessarily install the wall restraints before the waterproofing is done. If the exterior is going to be excavated to waterproof correctly, it would be best to straighten the walls at that point before permanent bracing.

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