09:22PM | 12/20/12
Member Since: 12/20/12
3 lifetime posts
Hi there - new here, with a serious bowing foundation wall. I've lived with this wall for 7 years now, and when I noticed (for the first time) mice living and scurrying along inside the large crack, I decided it was finally time to do something. Went to the bank to talk about home equity financing the very next day.

I'm looking at 2 options on fixing this right now, but I'm at a standstill because I don't know what's better - to fix the bad walls with an anchoring system, or to completely replace them with new blocks laid. Please help!

Here's the situation:

Modest home, southern Michigan. Full basement, 8' cinder block walls, concrete floor.

Bought the house from my grandparents, who built it themselves. They built the foundation in 1950, lived in that basement for 5 years until they could afford to build the house itself in 1955. When grandpa was alive, he said the worst wall had been bowed "like that for 20 years".

One wall (the "bad wall") is significantly bowing inward, and its pressure on the rest of the structure has caused cracking, stairstepping, and even small gaps between blocks from the corners of the other two adjacent walls.

The bad wall is 33' long and has a crack at the frost-line, which is the farthest bowed inward. The crack itself, at the worst point, is about 1" wide (gaping open, you can look into it and see the hollow interiors of the blocks). The wall bows in 3" at the worst, as measured by one of our estimating companies.

Possible solutions:

We've had 5 estimating companies out here, and we're down to considering two.

Company A is run by the Foundation Supportworks corporation. Their plan is to use Geo-Lock wall anchors (8) along the bad wall, excavate the exterior along that wall, and pull the wall back into place, and of course anchor it so it won't move again. They also plan to use 6 Powerbraces (reinforced I-beams) along an adjacent wall that needs some help (though not nearly as serious). Lifetime (structure) warranty. Total price around $14,000.

Company B is a local contractor (reputable, years of experience, legit, insured, etc.) who proposes excavating around half the house to tear out the bad wall and the adjacent wall, then lay all new blocks and build new walls (with steel bars reinforcing the insides of the blocks). As a local contractor, he cannot offer any sort of written warranty, but would likely come back out to fix any problems in the future. I do not have his final estimate yet (likely tomorrow) but he sounded like it would be in the same ballpark, not too much higher.

...So, let's say price is not a factor in this (anticipating both methods to be in the same ballpark price-wise). My burning question is - what's the better long-term solution?

Anchor and fix the bowed walls (which also installs a metal plate on the outside, curved at the bottom, to divert water away so the problem doesn't happen again), or build new walls?

It seems like a no-brainer at first - why fix old when you can build new? But what if we end up with the same expanding soil, or water pressure, or frost heave, etc. etc. that bowed the wall in the first place? Wouldn't that just ruin a newly built wall eventually too?

Sorry for writing a book here - I sincerely appreciate it if you're still reading. And thank you in advance for any and all advice, experience, or information you may have!



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.



Post_new_button or Login_button

Who says festive lights are just for Christmas? This Halloween-scape illuminates the possibilities with well-placed lights... Filling an underutilized area beneath the stairs is a smart way to save space. Doing so with a stash of wood, however, is ... The Audubon Society inspired wallpaper in this Adirondack-styled entryway will get you in the outdoor mood. Grab your coat... Chalkboard paint opens up endless possibilities for customizing your dresser time and time again. Use chalk to label the c... A fireplace in the bathroom creates the ultimate setting for relaxation. Homeowners often choose electric or gas over wood... Yes, a freestanding garage can become its own tiny house. Artist Michelle de la Vega has all the comforts of a modern resi... There’s nothing like a new set of cabinet hardware to refresh a room. The possibilities are endless: Go modern, rustic, or... A kitchen in a greenhouse—who wouldn't enjoy spending time in this light-filled space? Details that enhance the conservato... Chalkboard paint features prominently in this elegant yet unpretentious headboard design. Add a new message daily to reflec... Twine lanterns add pops of crafty—but sophisticated—flair to any outdoor setting. Wrap glue-soaked twine around a balloon ... The indecisive homeowner need not fret over choosing one (or even two) cabinet colors. The kitchen cabinets in this artist... Incorporate nature into your lighting scheme by securing a dead tree in a concrete mold and draping your pendant lamp from... Simple and striking, a couple of pieces of "lovingly used" furniture creates a special kind of charm. A weathered chair fo... The Infinite Artisan Fire Bowl from Eldorado Outdoor is made from glass-fiber reinforced concrete, and offered in Oak Barr... The vibrant green of Granny Smith apples make a beautifully natural alternative to the traditional evergreen wreath. Brigh...
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon