Latest Discussions : Basement & Foundation


03:06PM | 04/18/03
Member Since: 04/17/03
20 lifetime posts
My foundation is over 80 years old, and has been neglected for most of its life. In some area’s the mortar is starting to turn to sand. Other areas the blocks are starting to bow out. I have dug in a few places and the footings are looking pretty bad too. Can I cut sections out of the wall and replace them? Can the footing be replaced with out taking out the blocks? Also if I replace a block that ties the wall into the house framing, how do I deal with tying it back in?


03:46PM | 04/18/03
Member Since: 01/28/03
693 lifetime posts
If you are a novice you cannot do it. You can make the problem worse.

Hire a proefessional.


08:22PM | 04/18/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1278 lifetime posts
Agree. If you need to ask here about this one, you could kill your self replacing foundation.


06:43AM | 04/19/03
Member Since: 04/17/03
20 lifetime posts
If money was not an issue here, I would just hire it out, but I have consulted professionals, and I guess since I look young, they must think I was born last night.
I realise that its not cheap to repair the foundation of the house, but to some estimates that I got just to "patch" the bad areas were ranging from 10K to 22K! I had called a man about raising the house, and digging a basement under the house and setting it back down on it. I told him I was just tossing the idea around, and wondered what it might cost. He asked the sq ft of the footprint of the house, and all that. Then told me what similar sized houses that he had done this with ran. Funny thing was, he was only 5 or 6K higher then these other fools.
I realise that its not something to be takin lightly, but you have to start somewhere. I need to atleast slow down the rate of failure. Money is a tight issue right now. So instead of watching it get worse, I want to do something about it.


07:15AM | 04/23/03
Member Since: 01/28/03
693 lifetime posts
Unfortuantely, rather than saving up or borrowing the money to have the job done professionally and done right, your and your money are going to be soon parted having the job done wrong...and with great risk to the structural stability of your home and the great risk of losing your life in the process.

Whoever said a fool and his money are soon parted could well have been thinking about you when he said it.....

Good thing there are code enforcement officers to stop fools like you from getting permits and killing themselves.


09:42AM | 04/27/03
Member Since: 11/06/02
1278 lifetime posts
I first thought you were being a little harsh calling him a fool but then realized that he first used the term in reference to legitimate contractors.

Maybe he can do the engineering, get the permits, dig it all out by hand, provide five thousand dollars worth of jacks and cribbing, erect safety fencing, haul the tons of debris to a legal landfill, pay the fees and insurance, rent concrete forms, build the forms up plumb, tie the rebar right, and pour the concrete, backfill and replant the yard, avoid angering the neighbors, and do it all for less than &22,000 and still not call himself a fool. For cryin out loud, give him the benefit of the doubt...


04:06PM | 05/01/03
Member Since: 04/13/03
5 lifetime posts
Have you thought about digging 2 foot by 2 foot square piers (3 feet deep) along the inside of your foundation walls?

If you then fill them with cement, you create piers upon which you can build new foundation walls. Tie 3 3" by 6" boards together and use 2 sets per pier. Then lay a laminate I-beam across the new 3 by 6 posts.

Set this wall just inside your original foundation wall and then lay the house on the new wall (you can break out old wall once new one is in. Just make sure the overhang is not great).

I'm contemplating doing this, but have friends in construction who will assist me. Suggest you get serious help before you try, but this idea may be cheaper than all others and could possibly be done one wall at a time.


07:48PM | 11/02/15
this is why i hate smart asses and contractors. Instead of simply answering the guys questions and trying to help him figure out how to do the process most of the replies are centered around telling him he can't do it, shouldn't do it, and so on. How about you teach the guy what you know and help him find answers to the problems without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars?


12:00AM | 02/26/16
Where there is a will there is a way!!!!! "Do not tell me it cannot be done"


03:13PM | 05/10/17
..."How about you teach the guy what you know and help him find answers to the problems...." See here we have one side of the problem, where weekend warriors and DYI "experts" dont like the price they were given and are trying to cut corners. Contractors like myself who do this everyday for years are supposed to impart that knowledge and experience to someone who really has no idea what they are doing? You are kidding yourself... Piffin and Homebild gave exactly the right advice; they are hardly to blame because you dont like the answer.


10:38PM | 09/01/17
Member Since: 09/01/17
1 lifetime posts
Old thread, but I had to chime in with my .02

OP, I'm an engineer, mechanical engineer. I hired an engineer to prepare the plan for the repairs on my 1931 craftsman footers.

He cannot develop a plenum for an industrial intake manifold application, I can. I cannot wish myself into thinking that I can construct a footer system to support 30 tons of material on top of it, but he can.

We all work inside our own wheelhouses.

With 30 credit hours under my belt and 10+ years of experience, I'd tackle the job, hell, it would be my job. But it isn't, & it's not worth it.

Get 4 estimates from referred professionals and go with the next to the highest one.

put it on a credit card.

This is stuff one does not youtube.


01:07PM | 10/24/18
Install house jacks. Jack them up every 5 it so days for about 2 months. Then get help and reevaluate.


10:48AM | 10/26/18
I have the same issue - 1920's historic area home.
WHICH type of contractor should be contacted?
Engineer? Structural? Mechanical? General? which one?

I was told by a retired mason - to hire a 3rd yr apprentice mason for advice. Unsure how to find one. Difficulty getting guidance from anyone.

Been going to home shows for years for info. Most basement contractors want to focus on waterproofing, replace the floor, cracks, French drain - everything other than the heart of the issue - my foundation walls which are extremely dry, slowly dropping pinkish sand, tiny pebbles, and wall debris.

I'm afraid the sides of the home will give in one day. A family member suggested I sell or demolish the home.

Not planning on making this a DIY, but would really love a viable and responsible contractor to refer to or advise...

Thanks on advance


05:22PM | 11/08/19
It's funny reading all the "professional contactors" in this thread talk about how awesome they are when every single contractor I've ever worked with has cut so many corners all they were left with were circles. Don't kid yourselves about the other people in your trade, while you might be willing to go above and beyond to do the job right, you are the exception to the rule. All the others are out there trying to make a quick buck and do as little work as possible in the process.

This thread being 4 years old, I like to hope the issue is resolved, but still, foundations are no joke and requires a lot of work and precautions. It is not something that can't be done, but it is bbn something that requires a lot of research and planning before undertaking and you have to be honest with yourself about your abilities and the major risks involved.


08:02PM | 05/12/20
YA NO DIYing! You MUST have a contractor do it, because its magic! Its all magic. Like the gov, you shouldn't ask where your money is going. It just goes where it goes, and you don't need to know. Thanks Jake. Jake of A trade...


02:57PM | 08/12/20
This for a regular house should cost 25-30k, you need to find first an engineer and architect to draw up your new foundation to meet rebar code in your state and to make sure it is thick enough and will hold the house correctly and where to place beam pockets for existing beams or possible changes of locations of beams because most old houses have interior foundation walls that today are replaced by jack posts today which means possible needing a ibeam. Second you need a company that will in stages hold a side of your house by pouring deep pads and removing one foundation wall digging down and pouring a new footer and then wall (or you can do it with masonry block but inferior in my opinion, I'd use ICF forms and pour) and repeat that around the house. The demo isn't that hard it required digging down and cutting the walls and taking down.


11:27AM | 10/17/20
Did it myself. Wasnt hard. Contractors tend to rip folks off.


10:13PM | 11/29/20
My brother Gher did this by himself in an afternoon. He is fed up with contractors and their bad attitudes coupled with energy drinks in their hands. They pull up in a 3/4 Chevy with sunglasses and the tunes cranked. I’m done with contractors.


10:15AM | 12/27/20
Chiming in here...I have a small lake house and need to do a similar repair. I do have a mechanical engineering degree (actually 2). I am also a "cheap yankee" and willing to put in the time to learn. That said, I respect hands-on experience.

Appreciate any constructive advice folks are willing to offer.. It is a potentially dangerous job, but we are all big boys.


11:36AM | 01/06/21
This is not some tiling or bathroom project it requires men and knowledge...Most of you guys are not contractors in fact i am a contractor and really we cannot just advice a little few paragraphs and expect magic to happen for you DIYs. I would of suggested permit hire contractor and pay cheque not cash to be on safe side. Simple


06:52PM | 01/20/21
Contractors in my area, NC, are greedy, lazy and worthless. 7 months I've called as many as I can find, and none show up to even look at the job. Lazy asses only want to work on new construction. This goes for foundation companies too.

I did it myself.

It'S tOo DAnGeRouS fOr AnYonE ElsE To DO.


06:22PM | 01/31/21
If anyone is wondering what an extreme example of this sort of foundation work would look like, investigate what Kurt Vonnegut's father did with the Western Union telephone building in Indianapolis


06:27PM | 01/31/21

An Incredible Move: The Indiana Bell Telephone Building
Kaushik Patowary

The relocation of the headquarters building of Indiana Bell Telephone Company in Indianapolis remains one of the most fascinating moves in the history of structure relocation.

The headquarters of Indiana Bell, a subsidiary of AT&T serving the US state of Indiana, was housed inside an 8-story, 11,000-ton building built in 1907. In 1929, the phone company decided they needed a larger building, but they couldn’t just demolish the old building because it was providing an essential service to the city. The building was also inconveniently located on the site where they wanted the larger structure. In the end it was decided that the old building will be moved to the back of the plot to make room for the new building.

Indiana Bell Telephone Building

The Indiana Bell headquarters in the middle of the move. Photo credit: William H. Bass Photo Company

The massive undertaking began on October 1930. Over the next four weeks, the massive steel and brick building was shifted inch by inch 16 meters south, rotated 90 degrees, and then shifted again by 30 meters west. The work was done with such precision that the building continued to operate during the entire duration of the move. All utility cables and pipes serving the building, including thousand of telephone cables, electric cables, gas pipes, sewer and water pipes had to be lengthened and made flexible to provide continuous service during the move. A movable wooden sidewalk allowed employees and the public to enter and leave the building at any time while the move was in progress. The company did not lose a single day of work nor interrupt their service during the entire period.

Incredibly most of the power needed to move the building was provided by hand-operated jacks while a steam engine also some support. Each time the jacks were pumped, the house moved 3/8th of an inch.

The building stood for 33 years at its new location, until it was demolished in order to make room for the expansion of the new headquarters building.


10:57PM | 03/16/21
If you've read this far, please note that NONE. of the experts have said the magic word.


Go to Wikipedia, read the article.

Now, search on Foundation Underpinning.

You are now learning from the masters, not a bunch of haters.

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