Author Topic: Crazy foundation repair idea?  (Read 810 times)

affordablehousing

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Crazy foundation repair idea?
« on: June 21, 2018, 11:34:21 AM »
So here's an esoteric question for any engineers out there. My wife and I are looking at buying a house that, at least within a few years, should have the hundred year old concrete perimeter foundation replaced. There is a very awkward basement with little access, and given the landscaping around it and access issues in the basement, it will be a logistical bear to do the typical thing of digging out around it, bracing, cutting out the old foundation, putting in rebar, forming and pouring new and sliding a mudsill above. The basement by the way is awkward, very low in height and has no working equipment in it. The furnace there could be left to rot and ductless heat pumps used mounted on the roof.

A friend told me he was in a similar position once and just pumped the basement full of concrete. Expensive in material as it was a ton of concrete, but it left him feeling secure. On the one hand this sounds ludicrous to me, but I want to make sure I'm not missing a potentially more straightforward way to address this soft foundation. Anyone try this?

ncornilsen

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2018, 10:50:46 PM »
pumping your basement full of concrete is not a good idea. it will be about impossible to fix any pipes that go bad, pouring against untreated wood is a recipe for rot, and that much concrete might started making things settle again until a new equilibrium is established.

An engineer might be able to evaluate it and suggest less extensive but equally effective repairs. Or, make sure to buy it with enough of a discount to pay for someone to fix it.

Fishindude

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2018, 06:40:37 AM »
I'd either get a professional involved that could give you a rough cost on proper repairs, or look for another house.

Linda_Norway

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2018, 07:01:12 AM »
I know of old houses that have been lifted slightly up and gotten piles inserted under them, to support the house. You should indeed contact an engineering company to find out what is possible for your house. It could be a good investment to do it properly.

Dave1442397

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2018, 08:22:10 AM »
I know of old houses that have been lifted slightly up and gotten piles inserted under them, to support the house. You should indeed contact an engineering company to find out what is possible for your house. It could be a good investment to do it properly.

That's what I was thinking, too. If you have to replace the foundation, you might as well get a proper basement while you're at it.

https://www.homeadvisor.com/cost/foundations/raise-a-foundation/

Jon Bon

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2018, 12:10:23 PM »
I like the out of the box thinking, but holy shit why would you do that?! Do you happen to own a concrete company? Because that would be so much concrete!

As others stated it would work until you needed to access any of the mechanical systems in the basement, and until your joists rotted out in a few years.

I think your most cost effective way to do it would be to do some posts and beams in the basement. Honestly its not terribly difficult to do. It is somewhat hard work and you would need to get an engineer to develop a plan for you but it would be a good solution rather then digging out and redoing the entire foundation.

craiglepaige

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2018, 04:41:23 PM »
1st - Talk to an engineer.


With that out of the way, what exactly is happening with the foundation that makes you think it will need replacing?

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pecunia

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2018, 07:42:26 AM »
Well - crazy as it sounds, I had something similar.  When I was younger, I bought this house in Minnesota.  It had been a one room school house.  The basement, such as it was, had been hand dug.  Some walls were poured, but others were mortar troweled over dirt.  It was my first house and I didn't understand what i had bought.

I expanded the basement somewhat.  I used house jacks and timbers for temporary support.  Then I broke the concrete, dug out the earth and put in blocks.  I hauled many buckets of earth from the basement.  I've wondered to this day whether the neighbors thought I was burying a body down there.   It was a man-hour intensive use of my time.  I did not do the entire basement.  Perhaps, you could do something similar and only replace the bad sections of concrete.

If you lift the entire house, you may get cracks in old plaster and other problems.  Sewers, wiring, plumbing, etc will need isolation disconnection.  Green field construction is often preferred to Brown Field.

Would I do it again?  No.  If I had to do it again, I would have shopped around and found a house with a decent basement and foundation.  In addition, my time would have been better spent with other activities.

If I had spent that time learning about finance and money instead of digging in the basement years ago, well,......

Roadrunner53

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2018, 07:54:33 AM »
So here's an esoteric question for any engineers out there. My wife and I are looking at buying a house that, at least within a few years, should have the hundred year old concrete perimeter foundation replaced. There is a very awkward basement with little access, and given the landscaping around it and access issues in the basement, it will be a logistical bear to do the typical thing of digging out around it, bracing, cutting out the old foundation, putting in rebar, forming and pouring new and sliding a mudsill above. The basement by the way is awkward, very low in height and has no working equipment in it. The furnace there could be left to rot and ductless heat pumps used mounted on the roof.

A friend told me he was in a similar position once and just pumped the basement full of concrete. Expensive in material as it was a ton of concrete, but it left him feeling secure. On the one hand this sounds ludicrous to me, but I want to make sure I'm not missing a potentially more straightforward way to address this soft foundation. Anyone try this?

Maybe someone has a solution for you but if it were me, I would not walk but run away from that house as fast as I could. My Hub and I built our house brand new in 1975 and even though it was new, we still had issues. The septic installer didn't install the fields correctly and we had septic failure when it was about 7 years old and had to replace the system. We have had the pump in the well die and had to replace that a few times. One time it got hit by lightening. Insurance paid that time. We have now installed new siding, a new deck a new roof, new gutters, repaved the driveway. Also, sidewalks and a small retaining wall. All these things are expensive. Rethink this house you are interested in because this most likely will not be your only problem to deal with.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2018, 09:29:06 AM »
I would look elsewhere. Out of curiosity what about the house, its location, or price, makes it worth even considering the time, frustration, and expense of undertaking such a significant undertaking.

lthenderson

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2018, 06:44:30 AM »
I have a friend who pours new basements for a living. Essentially they can do it one of two ways. If the location is tight, they simply cut away part of the old foundation, insert large beams through under the house, jack it up and them demo and repour the new foundation before setting it back in place. If there is more space on the lot, they actually jack up the house and move it to one side so that they rebuild the new basement easier at a significant cost savings. Both methods however aren't as expensive as one might think especially if you end up with a watertight usuable basement. Like others mentioned above, I wouldn't fill in the basement.

affordablehousing

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2018, 10:52:07 AM »
To answer a few questions, yes it would be a lot of concrete and yes we would check with an engineer before we proceeded. The friend who filled it in did protect the joists with a moisture barrier and in this particular case in our house, there are no mechanicals that run through the basement. The furnace down there is shot and will be replaced with a ductless heat pump on the roof.

The house is in an ideal location for us, does need a lot of work, but in this market, due to foundations typically being unreinforced concrete and a hundred years old, they crack, and create issues with floors, walls and doors getting out of plumb and are a fairly common job. We got the house at about a $150K discount, and after comparing to a couple of jobs I'm assuming a foundation replacement in the traditional way will be about $90K, so an expensive repair, but worth it to us.

Just wondering if there are any creative solutions I'm missing. The site is at least flat, and a smallish house.

lthenderson

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2018, 03:41:10 PM »
I'm assuming a foundation replacement in the traditional way will be about $90K, so an expensive repair, but worth it to us.

Depends greatly on location and size of the house, but here in the rural midwest, I would guess the average cost to jack up a house and put in a new basement is closer to the $30 to $40k range including the cost to jackup the house. Up until a handful of years ago it was closer to $20k but concrete prices have almost doubled in that time frame.

Jon Bon

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2018, 03:50:57 PM »
yes we would check with an engineer before we proceeded.

That is a good step 2.

A good step 1 would be to call around to a few GC or basement specialist, they should be able to give you a few general ideas over the phone. Worst case its a free estimate.

Although I am kind of changing my tune, like 30 yards of concrete pumped into a basement I just want to see it!

affordablehousing

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #14 on: June 25, 2018, 04:01:44 PM »
Yeah, the friend who recommended filling in the basement had worked as a concrete contractor, so he wasn't worried about emptying the yard! I too would have loved to see that pour!

We'll probably go the traditional route for replacing the foundation, just thought we'd check with the crowd. And like others suggested, we're going to see what "fun" improvements we can roll into this "unfun" repair work by bringing an architect in to give us some ideas for how to get the most out of the job as possible.

pecunia

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #15 on: June 25, 2018, 07:24:37 PM »
If you are going to move the house to put in a new foundation, you may consider one of these new foam insulated foundations.  The foam serves as the form for the concrete.  The energy savings and greater comfort in the basement will make it worthwhile.

Don't forget about drainage.  If you are in clay soil, consider elevating the house a bit to keep moisture from the basement.  You may want to look at a drainage system to route the water away and hauling in stone backfill for better drainage.

affordable housing:
Quote
there are no mechanicals that run through the basement.

Isolate the wiring.

You will solve your ceiling height issue.

I hope the house isn't on a Native American burial ground filled with artifacts.

affordablehousing

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Re: Crazy foundation repair idea?
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2018, 11:25:03 AM »
Drainage is a good point, this would be the chance to get it right. Thanks for reminding me.