Foundation Issues

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Posted by: from Aurora
10/12/2012 at 8:03:18 AM

Hi all,

I am interested in buying a house in the East York area of Toronto and went to see it a second time yesterday. I didn't notice how in bad shape the foundation is.

I know pictures can't tell the true picture but what do you guys think based on these photos? In the 2nd pic i can literally put my finger through the foundation, it's turned to sand.

Should I stay away or is this reasonable to fix? Any idea's of cost?

foundation issues
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Date/Time10/12/2012 at 9:55:37 AM

We looked at a recent job like this and discussed it with our engineer. You could do a patch job that would likely not last long. A repair that would be acceptable to an engineer or home inspector could be very expensive and may involve forming and pouring concrete on both sides of the foundation wall. This house was probably built in the thirties using lime based concrete and over time it deteriorates.

Difficult to be conclusive with one photo but the house we looked at needed the full expensive repair.

Paul Justice

Justice Construction


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Date/Time10/12/2012 at 6:21:47 PM

I've done some work very close to your area and judging by the photos, this house is a couple of years from needing under pinning. This process is expensive and requires cutting away sections of the foundation and replacing with block. This requires permits and a very knowledgeable contractor.

My advise is either get the current homeowner to deal with problem as a condition of purchase or get them to drop the price $20,000. If not, walk.


Dunn-Right Contracting

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Date/Time10/12/2012 at 6:23:51 PM

It looks like the concrete is deteriorating and has been patched before. There has been numerios bad batchs of concrete over the past decades. You would need to have an engineer take a look for a solution, but you could easily be around 10-20k to repair. Anything in a house can be repaired. If you love the house then negotiate the price to reflect the repairs needed, if not then keep looking.

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Andrew in Aurora
Date/Time10/13/2012 at 10:30:30 AM

Thanks for the info guys.

I thought I attached the picture i wanted everyone to see but guess it didnt upload. This one looks worse. Any thoughts?

Foundation Issues
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Date/Time10/16/2012 at 12:57:41 PM

Hi Andrew,

The second picture you posted really shows how bad the problem is.

This was likely caused by a combination of issues. It is clearly a bad mix of concrete as well as water erosion.

Unfortunately the right way to deal with the problem is to underpin the entire house. If there are areas that appear OK and you want to save some cost, you can have an engineering company drill a core sample from those areas and test their respective strength and composition but to be honest, you would be best served by replacing the foundation.

This is a serious project and the services of a qualified contractor would be highly recommended. You will need a permit for this and it is time consuming as the underpinning must be done in sections. An advantage of underpinning is that you are essentially starting from scratch as far as the foundation goes so there is a real possibility of lowering your basement for added headroom which I am certain is not there now in a house of that age.

If you do decide to go ahead with the house purchase, I would strongly recommend that you negotiate heavily with the current owners. In my opinion and experience, replacing the foundation of your house cannot be done for $20,000.00.

During the removal of the slab you will quite likely also find that the existing (probably) clay sanitary lines are in serious need of repair and could easily be addressed during the process.

Regardless, this is an expensive proposition.

Best of luck

Jason Irving

The Cedarbrook Group

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Andrew in Aurora
Date/Time10/18/2012 at 7:09:18 PM

Thank you for that information Jason, it's greatly appreciated.

I haven't made a decision yet, but the owner will be listing the house shortly for 400,000. It's in the Cosburn/Coxwell area. If i do get the house i'm thinking a complete rebuild is the way to go because this looks costly.

Due to the issues, what would you suggest would be a reasonable offer on the house?

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