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Old 12-13-2010, 10:15 AM   #1
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Stone Foundation 'Temporary' Repair...


Hello... I'm new here and - no surprise - in need of advice.

My older frame farmhouse is beyond the point of practical repair, but I still have hope I might get a few more years out of it (5? 10?) before I'm forced to replace it and raze it.

The stone foundation is slowly caving in... and already has fairly large gaps (now covered by hay bales and heavy plastic to keep out the weather). The house is not in immediate danger of collapse, but of course, if nothing is done with the foundation, that will change.

The house is simply not worth the cost of a proper foundation repair (raising the house and replacing the entire foundation).

So, I've been looking into a stopgap approach - stabilizing what's left of the foundation with sprayed concrete - but I don't honestly know whether the method would be effective.

I got an estimate from one contractor, who quoted me $8K to $12K for the job.

I'm wondering if - in fact - the sprayed concrete would stabilize the collapsing stone wall - AND - if it could effectively fill existing gaps in the old foundation.

I'm aware that - at best - it's a hopelessly half-assed 'solution', but if you could see the house (or foundation) in question, you wouldn't question why I'd want to explore the low road options.

Is the sprayed concrete method worth a try at the price quoted? That is, might I be able to buy a few more years for the foundation (and the house) by going that route?

Or is it a complete waste of money?

Thanks Very Much For Your Time.

Peter B.

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Old 12-13-2010, 11:21 AM   #2
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Stone Foundation 'Temporary' Repair...


Ayuh,... I gotta believe I could figure out something Cheaper than $12,000.00 for a Band-aid....

Got some Pictures,..??

Is there a Cellar in this foundation,..??
If so,... Fill it in, 'n block the house up off the fill...

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Old 12-13-2010, 11:54 AM   #3
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Stone Foundation 'Temporary' Repair...


We are having a very similar problem, we have a hole where the previous owner's son had removed some of the stones while playing in the cellar (I don't even want to know why he was down there). If you have a cellar and the problem is that the stones are coming out you can put them back in, although you may have to jack up the house a little and make sure they are secured. I wanted to know if using the hay bales and plastic has been able to insulate enough to keep your pipes from freezing and all your heat from escaping? Do you have areas of your house where one side of the house is lower than another?
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Old 12-13-2010, 12:28 PM   #4
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Stone Foundation 'Temporary' Repair...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,... I gotta believe I could figure out something Cheaper than $12,000.00 for a Band-aid....

Got some Pictures,..??

Is there a Cellar in this foundation,..??
If so,... Fill it in, 'n block the house up off the fill...
Bondo:

Thanks very much for your reply...

The portion of the basement and foundation in question is an excavated crawl space. The footings (?) were never shored up properly (not my doing). It's all under a slapdash addition to the original house, which was built well, and has a proper basement.

Part of what's exposed is layered limestone (and still stable), part is dirt and 'losing ground', and part is effectively shored up and stable.

The former crawlspace is now about 6 or 7 foot deep. Some plumbing and some wiring exist there... I've considered the suggestion of filling the space (gravel with a topping of pumped concrete?), but I haven't figured out yet whether I could 'entomb' everything (including wiring and plumbing) safely... and without wanting/needing access for repair.

At the moment, there are no pictures... I know what they're worth to understanding, and when I can actually navigate back to the basement (exterior, unsheltered steps) I'll do what I can. Currently, the temp is hovering around 0* and the steps to the basement are hazardous... covered by 8" of snow.

--

I guess my understanding of the prospects is (partly) based on the fact that sprayed concrete is used to build swimming pools... without supporting forms. And those pool walls hold back the pressure of surrounding soil. Why wouldn't a similar application (as I've described) work in a similar fashion?

Thanks Again.

Peter B.

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Old 12-13-2010, 12:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
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I wanted to know if using the hay bales and plastic has been able to insulate enough to keep your pipes from freezing and all your heat from escaping? Do you have areas of your house where one side of the house is lower than another?
Tammi:

I don't know if our situations are in any way similar, but yes, the hay bales and plastic have helped prevent the pipes from (surely) freezing if they weren't in place.

Currently, I can see daylight through my foundation at certain spots, so I may well have (more) problems with my pipes this season... and it's early yet.

I still heat with wood in an antique stove on the first floor, so it has always been touch and go with the pipes.

Peter B.

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Old 12-13-2010, 01:37 PM   #6
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Stone Foundation 'Temporary' Repair...


Quote:
And those pool walls hold back the pressure of surrounding soil.
Ayuh,... The difference is,... Your crawl space ain't Full of water, pushin' back....
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Old 12-13-2010, 05:32 PM   #7
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Stone Foundation 'Temporary' Repair...


Sprayed concrete is known in the business as shotcrete. You can google shotcrete and return hundreds of web pages discussing the application process, types of projects it is used for, and limitations.

Shotcrete is used for a wide variety of support projects, including tunnel support, temporary and permanent walls, foundations, and dams. Whether it would be effective in your circumstance is impossible to evaluate without a hands on inspection of your specific condition. Presumably the individual who quoted you a price offered some sort of guarantee or warranty, and presumably you could compare the cost against alternative methods such as partial or total replacement of the foundation, which you could get quotes for from other contractors.
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:15 PM   #8
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Depending how big your house is,you may want to tackle the job yourself. Remember the finished work should add value to your home, and the sprayed on concrete on rock doesn't quite get it, the way I see it. When the time of the year is right, and hopefully a dry spell, consider doing this. Do what you have to do to get the floors level inside, then worry about one side of the house at a time. The main thing is you need a good footer of concrete with re-bar, and holding up the house does take some thought, and labor, but get opinions, then make your move,no big deal. There's plenty of good block layers out there, that would appreciate the work. Just make sure the distance from footer to floor plate works out for the block. Pictures would be nice
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Old 12-13-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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Bondo:

An empty pool doesn't typically cave in, does it?

--

Daniel Holzman:

I don't know which is better suited for the purpose - gunnite or shotcrete. Do you have an opinion on the attributes of either?

The nature of this job doesn't seem to lend itself to a guarantee from a contractor... and I was not offered one by the contractor that came to look. He does specialize in sprayed concrete, but I'm inclined to think his business is mostly waterproofing... and not stabilization. I could be wrong and it's worth calling him back.

I guess I'm just hoping to learn here that - EITHER - some form of sprayed concrete has a chance of stabilizing the foundation - OR - it's a joke and not worth even attempting... even as a temporary stopgap.

--

bernieb:

The house has no recoverable financial value... so any/all 'real money' invested in it would never be seen again.

--

Thanks to all of you for your replies.

Peter B.

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Old 12-13-2010, 08:43 PM   #10
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I doesn't cave in, but it will float out of the ground. Shotcrete pools have massive amounts of reinforcing steel. Does this design have the same?
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Old 12-13-2010, 09:53 PM   #11
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Gunnite and shotcrete are two different names for the same thing. In both cases, the concrete is mixed very dry, with very small aggregate, and a large cement to aggregate ratio, and is sprayed onto the surface using a spray gun, hence the term gunnite. Shotcrete is potentially very effective in stabilization of walls, however only an experienced shotcrete applicator could venture a guess as to whether it would be effective in your case, and only after a hands on visit. This is a tough topic to get intelligent opinions on over the internet.
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Old 12-14-2010, 07:45 AM   #12
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Stone Foundation 'Temporary' Repair...


It seems you have to face two issues: preventing further degradation and falling-out of the stones - and structural support of the house.

Shooting the walls with cement may prevent disintegration of the wall, and will look better - but I think that over time, the walls will continue their downward spiral (probably exponentially) because of the lack of structural support.

I imagine the contractor you saw offered to build a CBU wall on the inside of your existing wall, with proper poured concrete footings and run beams to give greater support for the house itself. That seems to be the underlying cause. No-one else would offer a guarantee unless that was seen to.
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Old 12-15-2010, 11:50 AM   #13
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My thanks to all those who replied...

I have to concede this point that Daniel Holzman made:

"Shotcrete is potentially very effective in stabilization of walls, however only an experienced shotcrete applicator could venture a guess as to whether it would be effective in your case, and only after a hands on visit. This is a tough topic to get intelligent opinions on over the internet."

I hoped someone might have a 'definitive answer', but that's pretty tough to provide if you can't see what you're up against.

My ignorance is so complete about what sprayed concrete can and can't do that I thought I'd ask here... anyway.

Best for me to look for two or more local contractors to weigh in and take it from there.

Thanks Again.

Peter B.

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Old 12-15-2010, 06:05 PM   #14
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Thanks for your considerate comeback to inform us on your thoughts. But to conclude my own, and doing a little armchair problem solving myself I might say,I'd stay away from the quick fix, and out with your money, so to speak. If your considering living there for the next 5 to 10 years the house can't be all that bad, but you know better than anybopdy else. If you have level floors now,the O'L girl can't be all that bad. A lot of people nowadays wish they had a barn to sleep in. It always takes a lot of labor to do it right. Good luck and thanks for your inquiry.
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:14 PM   #15
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If you could get a picture or two of what you're really up against, I'm sure a few on here could give you a few legitimate ideas, most likely costing much less than Gunnite.

You may actually be amazed at how long an old stone crawl space can be in dis-repair before it literally fails..................

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