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Old 08-05-2009, 07:04 PM   #1
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


Hello-
I have one wall that is bowing quite a bit. See the attached photo. I'm wondering what the best thing to do about this is, and if it's much to worry about. Is there much I can do besides a new foundation wall, or even a new wall next to it?

Additionally, the walls all having some crumbing going on in places -- after months I can look around and see little parts on that floor that have crumbled off the wall. I assume this needs to be sealed up, right? But is there a way to solve this problem too, to keep the water from getting in the wall in the first place?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-06-2009, 05:18 AM   #2
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


chances're you can stop the bowing where it is but i'd recommend you replace the wall 1st at minimum,,, sounds as if the soil acids have attacked the lime in the block's cement over the years destroying its integrity & nothing was done to alleviate OR repair the issue other'n painting on a coating - idiotic i'd guess it was a ' drylock ' type of product - never my choice for below-grade negative side use.

this work is usually beyond the ability/skill/knowledge of the agv h/o-diy'er,,, next time use 5,000psi conc ( waterproof by aci standards ) & a trowel'd on coating for the exterior fnd walls incl the footer,,, IF you have water issues & you will, a toe drain to acceptable specs is recommended too.

this post should be rqd reading for all who think wtr's not an issue to be taken seriously ! ! !

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Old 08-06-2009, 09:16 AM   #3
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


Eeeek! Thanks for the reply, even thought that's not at ALL what I wanted to hear.

When you say, "replace the wall at a minimum", I'm wondering what more there would be to do than that? Do you just mean maybe replace all the walls?

Also, isn't replacing a foundation wall like a $20,000 job or am I off there?
Thanks again.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:05 AM   #4
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


I agree with what conc said, but it all depends on what your goals here are - is this a newly acquired property for rent? Is this currently or soon-to-be you new home? If so, do you plan to stay a long time? There are many ways to approach this with different goals in mind - and different ways to mitigate current and future damage, depending on how much you want to invest in this property. Do you just want it to be safe for the near term? Do you want to "fix it the right way?" Or something in-between? I'd first get a structural engineer out to the site to inspect. Then you can evaluate your needs and wants against your budget.
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:13 AM   #5
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


I bought the house 2 years ago, and don't have any plans to sell it.

I do have plans to finish out the attic into a master bedroom which would likely require a new dormer and I've been wondering about it structurally.

So, ideally I'd fix it the "right" way, but it all depends on the costs. I just don't have a clue what something like that would cost.

Thanks for the thoughts and info!
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Old 08-06-2009, 03:23 PM   #6
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


Yes, get a structural engineer out to look at it. I did on my place.

You need to address the issues that are causing it as well, or at least try and identify them. For instance, I didnt have gutters on my sloping section of roof and when I investigated, noticed a lof of water falling off the roof right next to the area of wall where I was getting moisture as well as poorly sealed areas around it.

Yes, youre talking probably at least $15k -$20K roughly to excavate around to fix the issue, which may be needed, but explore ur options and as I mentioned, get expert advice.

Last edited by rory535; 08-06-2009 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 09-26-2009, 01:13 AM   #7
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


Just thought I'd give an update here, and happily!
I did as you all suggested and got structural engineer out here. She was very smart, and pointed out a few things I had never considered. In short, it turns out that yes, the wall has a bow in it, but it looks like that's mostly just how it was made. It's lowgrade concrete from 101 years ago. There was a lot of skim coat put on the bottom half of the wall because that's where the dirt is on the other side of the wall. So that makes the bottom of the wall look fatter. The stuff that is flaking off is the old skim coat. The 2x4's you see there vertically were put there after the thick skim coat to solely run some wiring down. There were a bunch of other details (and better explanations), but long story short, everything is okay!

So, before long I'll be trying to figure out the best way to clean off the old skim coat and what sealant to use. I started searching on here but there are SO many opinions to weed through.

Thanks everyone! There's been a HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders... I was pretty nervous.
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Old 09-26-2009, 07:39 AM   #8
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What to do about bowing and moist foundation walls


Good news !!
I'm sure that does take a weight off your shoulders
Never fun worrying about a possible big problem

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