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Old 07-27-2009, 07:47 PM   #1
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Structural integrity question


Posted is a top view of the layout of my garage (attached). It is a typical wood stud structure on top of cinder blocks. The big opening is the door and the red is compromized cinder blocks. They are all cracked and I can take the peices out. I've been attempting to fill them with cement but the top part is very tricky as I cannot really physically pour that high from the side. In a typical situation where a new foundation is poured it would be poured from the top and the walls would not be in yet.

My question is, how bad is it for all the front to be pretty much unsupported? Can the other 3 walls take the slack ok, or will it cause some pressure that could cause the rest of the structure to start giving way? The whole foundation itself is not in really good shape. Some pics here.

Water does not seem to be a huge issue (the black is not wet) but the mortar is in really bad shape and some bricks are even poping out.

I've been told to keep a heater in that crawlspace (this is under the garage) as it had issues where it would freeze up and crack in winter. This foundation is no more then 6 feet underground so it's all within frost level.

While this is probably not a DIY project, what are some ways to fix this? For now I'm trying to pour cement and fix the bricks but I don't know if that will suffice as a structural fix. It will help to keep bugs out and insulate a bit from the cold. (there was direct air gaps where I could see outside from the crawlspace).

How would I go about pouring cement all the way to the top? I can build a form, but the form should go right to the top, so how do I pour inside it? The only thing I can think of is to do it from inside the garage and just make a hole in the 2x4 that is over the brick, should I do that?

This is how it looks like from outside.


Now another thing I just realized, is brick equivalent to siding, as in, it's non structural and just for looks, or does it play a role in the structure? I'm guessing not. The biggest issue I see here is that my brick could start to crack, but I could technically take all of it down without affecting structure right? I am guessing (hoping) the wood structure can hold ok without any good front integrity. I've seen houses that "stick out" a bit on one side and they're ok... so maybe I'm just worrying too much. Also, there are no visible cracks on the small bricks on either the front or side of the garage (the other side is inside the house, so it's just cinder block and no brick, with a chimney, no damage there either).
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Last edited by Red Squirrel; 07-27-2009 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 07-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #2
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Structural integrity question


yikes. I'm by no means qualified to assess the situation... but to me, I'd probably get a few contractors or a very good home inspector, to look at the situation, figure out why the blocks are cracking, and then fix the blocks and the underlying problem.

In a worst case scenario, the underlying problem isn't getting resloved, and the roof load creates stress on other parts of the garage or home... causing the situation to spiral.....

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Old 07-28-2009, 01:15 PM   #3
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Structural integrity question


Does it have to have cement walls there? If not, why not pour a little kneewall out of concrete a foot or two tall. On top of that you can frame the wall from 2x dimension lumber up to the header. Just be sure to imbed two 1/2" anchor bolts in the kneewall to secure the framed wall to the concrete wall.

Whether the walls that are coming down are important or not depends on the framing. I presume that the garage door has a header that picks up the roof framing members, so there's good odds that you'll have serious structural issues with the roof/ceiling if the header isn't supported before the walls move any further.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:43 PM   #4
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Structural integrity question


I need to check better but think the bricks don't hold anything, they probably just end at the joists and the joists are held by the studs which are behind the bricks and laid on the cement blocks. At least one block in front is strong enough but yeah, this is a scary situation.

I'm totally out of cash, but idealy I'd like to get someone to check it out. Probably a structural engineer or maybe even a brick layer.
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Old 07-28-2009, 02:52 PM   #5
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Structural integrity question


hopefully, a pro can tell you the problem and ideally also the solution. With any luck, you can DIY it and save $$!

I feel your pain on being tapped out and seeing a big repair that needs to be done. we are getting our windows/siding done... and just a couple weeks ago, saw a wierd bulge under the pool liner . We're keeping our fingers crossed that it's not a huge expense.
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Old 07-28-2009, 05:27 PM   #6
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Structural integrity question


I've reinforced existing CMU foundation walls, using rebar and pumped grout.

Core down below, core at the block just before the top, then slide rebar down through the cells to the footer, and pump the grout in. It took me 3 days, and I did about 16 linear feet of wall. I had it inspected by the town as well. It also helped that in 1963, the builder didn't see fit to fill the cells every 3rd course and add durawall.

Why not take all the block out and start fresh, or is that too involved? I'd like to see photos of those returns on either side of the garage door, too.
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:26 PM   #7
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Structural integrity question


I would love to do that but $$ is the issue. Maybe in the future.

My mom is the biggest culpit here as while she is trying to help she's also spending all my money on things that could wait maybe a year or even a few months. But w/e.

I actually thought of throwing a rebar down before pouring but figured it would not do anything if it's not attached to anything, would it still help? kinda too late, but at least I can keep that in mind for next time.

Also I figured I would need to somehow pump the cement in, but how is this done? Pouring sideways is very tricky. I made a form with a 1/2" slot on top and poured in,but that did not do much, still need to fill all the way to the top, and it has to be solid so it takes the slack. Need expanding cement LOL.

Another thing, if I make my next batch very thick, and just shove it in with my hands as much as I can, would this help? Or would thick cement not cure well? I am making internal walls with old peices of brick in hope they take part of the slack once it cures. If this can at least last me a few years I'll be happy, then I can get it fixed professionally.

Also after 1 day some of the cement was not cured properly, but it's been raining for months straight (not directly there, but still very damp given it's outside) will this be an issue in the curing process or should I be ok? I don't figure this will cure for a while, or at least until we get a day that it does not rain (very rare here during the summer).
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Old 07-28-2009, 09:57 PM   #8
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Structural integrity question


What I suggested is just about the least expensive structural reconstitution you could do yourself on block that is still together, plumb, but merely cracked at the joints (step cracks). The job below was partially hand packed (openings) and partially pumped (rest of cells). I own a grout pump, but you can rent a hand pump for less than $50 a day.

That wall and a wall on the adjacent facade with about half as many cells opened up took 4 days: 1 day to set up jack posts, core, set rebar down to footing, and wait for inspection; 1/2 day on day 2 to fill up to bottom hole, 3rd day to fill rest of the way up, 4th day a week later to return and paint, break down jack posts.

It's cheaper than replacing all the block. But, depending on how bad those returns are, you might have to replace the block.
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Structural integrity question-cmu-reinf-inside.jpg   Structural integrity question-cmu-reinf-outside.jpg   Structural integrity question-cell.jpg   Structural integrity question-cmu-reinf-after.jpg  

Last edited by Aggie67; 07-28-2009 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:02 PM   #9
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Structural integrity question


Interesting. Do you lift the house off of it completly while doing that or are those posts just extra supports? Does lifting of the house cause lot of other issues such as wall shifting?

When the cement level gets to the holes how do you fill higher, do you need a special pump tool, then you cap the end to stop it from pouring out?

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