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Foundation Repair

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Posted by: from Toronto
5/23/2013 at 12:26:11 PM

I have a house that was built roughly 80 years ago. It is on a brick and mortar foundation that is starting to let in quite a lot of water and looks to be deteriorating in some spots.

Is it dangerous to dig alongside the foundation to repair it? Should the joists inside be jacked up while work is in progress?

REPLIES (6)
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Date/Time5/23/2013 at 1:12:37 PM

Hello Lawrence,

It would depend on the current condition. And it is hard to say without seeing it.

I would reccomend a contractor that specialize in this type of work look at your foundation and you might even need and engineer depending on its condition.

Another thing you need to think of, is your foundation would have been built with lime based mortar. The same type should be considered/used for the repair.

Regards,

Mike

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Date/Time5/23/2013 at 1:12:54 PM

Yes, I would have it jacked up or have a expert structural engineer come in and take a look before you decide on an expensive adventure.

Also look for signs like doors not opening properly or cracks in walls or gaps between the floors and wall etc these are signs that u potentially could have a problem.

On the other hand tare down and build a new house.

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Constantine from Constantine in Toronto
Date/Time5/23/2013 at 1:21:21 PM

Hello Lawrence,

Please do not do anything without an opinion from a structural engineer and a LICENCED contractor. Better safe than sorry.

By trying to fix a small problem you can create a bigger one.

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Date/Time5/23/2013 at 2:18:21 PM

Hello Lawrence,

There is always a risk with such projects. As many have already suggested, it would be wise to consider engaging a structural engineer to examine the conditions and specify a repair. They may recommend shoring but equally important, may conclude that more extensive structural repair is needed which would typically require a building permit; both of which, an engineer would be able to help.

In addition, an often overlooked benefit of hiring an engineering firm is that many are not simply designers but also project managers, meaning they work with qualified Contractors on a regular basis and could certainly recommend a few to price your project as well as oversee the execution of the work. An engineer's carefully considered opinion ensures that 'unforeseen conditions' are minimized and your repair is successful.

You can find hundreds of firms, just be sure to cross-reference your respective regulatory body or ask for licensing information; in Ontario, Certificate of Authorization holders are listed on the Professional Engineers Ontario website.

Hope this helps.

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Date/Time5/23/2013 at 10:20:56 PM

My opinion only, but I would love to do this job. Or, you could do a lot of it yourself over the summer.

A skilled operator with a Bobcat could excavate along the walls without smashing against them. Maybe do one outside wall at a time. You would scrub and clean the outside wall. You probably need to put in a drain tile.

I don't know where you live, but a construction supply house could reccomend a polymer modified cement product to trowel over the entire outside wall and of course fill any holes you find. This is very strong stuff but rather easy to apply but start with small amounts ok. You will also want to trowel over and fill holes on the interior later on as well. I would only do a jack job on the joists to do upstairs floor leveling and only after you have restored the foundation walls.

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Date/Time5/23/2013 at 10:21:11 PM

No, it isn't dangerous to dig beside your foundation unless the bricks are loose or can be wiggled. If the bricks are loose, you can build a temp wall on the inside of the foundation to support the joists as a precaution while you make your repairs. If you digging deeper then 4' make sure you create a 2' ledge to ensure that your hole doesn't cave in on you.

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