07:49AM | 06/17/04
Member Since: 06/16/04
1 lifetime posts

I hope that you can provide answers to some questions I have regarding old foundations and repairing them.

I recently had a home inspected prior to purchase, and the home inspector indicated that there were serious problems with the foundation. Bowed walls, moisture in the dirt floor, and possible displacement in the corner of a return wall. He suggested walking away from the deal (which I can do without a problem), but also mentioned that we could hire a structural engineer to conduct a site visit and write a report.

I really like the rest of the structure and feel that a second opinion from an engineer would be helpful for getting information to make the decision. However, is it not worthwhile to spend $350 for a engineer if the inspector has already said that its a real problem?

The structure is a 2 family house built in 1915. The foundation is fieldstone and mortar, and then some courses of brick underneath the sill. Its being gut-rehabbed, and according to the builder it has not had gutters or drains for 30 years contributing to the water in the basement. However, if there is already heavily saturated soil around the foundation then is it possible to remediate the hydrostatic pressure that may ensue?

If the engineer's report indicates that a new foundation needs to be dug, what are the possibilities there? I was led to believe that lifting or supporting the rest of the structure and then rebuilding the foundation would lead to all sorts of movement in the frame of the house and result in the brand-new windows, doors, and drywall all either sticking or cracking - is that the case for complete foundation rebuilds?

Thanks for your comments,



08:08AM | 06/17/04
Member Since: 07/01/03
549 lifetime posts
You are doing everything right. An inspector is obliged to identify potential problems and point you to sources that can provide specific expertise. He has done his job well. Of course it is worth having a $350 foundation inspection report completed. The report will identify existing problems, likely causes and potential solutions. It will not likely include a design for repair, but will estimate the costs and options.

I recommend you proceed on your current course and learn what that report recommends. It certainly gives you a bargaining chip and allows you to make a sound financial decision. At this point, don't get too far ahead of yourself speculating on what is involved in lifting a house or rebuilding a foundation.

I hope you will post back and keep this thread updated on what you learn and what you decide to do. We could all learn something from this process and the engineer's insights.
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