Crumbling basement walls in 1911 house how to fix?

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Posted by: from Saskatoon
9/9/2012 at 9:53:17 AM

The walls in my hundred plus year old house are crumbling. In some places the crumbles smell and look like dirt. The floor is also cracking in multiple places. The previous owners patched the walls and floor somewhat haphazardly and their repairs are now falling out.

I am concerned about the structural integrity of the house. Also it is so dusty eels cannot use the basement.

How would I go about fixing this issue permanently?

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Date/Time9/11/2012 at 3:30:09 AM

Sounds like you have a rubble stone founsation, which is random size stones and mortar. The most proable causes are water infultration or the mortar is breaking down. You really need to have someone take a look, the sooner the better.

As far as the dust, until the walls are closed in by a wall or sprayfoam insulation, you will have dust.

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Kerry from Tucks Contracting in Calgary
Date/Time9/16/2012 at 3:39:34 PM

Sounds as though you may have a stone and mortar foundation wall, which in its day was okay, but over time will start to break down do to the nature of the product.

1. Ensure that the outside area has no defined water penetration, usual if the walls are contained and kept dry they will stay intact.

2. Look at the upstairs walls and entrance ways, (also windows) look for spider cracks or defined cracks. Check to see if the doors close okay, and the windows open and close okay. This will determine if the the walls them selves are having a structural affect on the entire building.

3. Check your support beams/posts. Is there breakage around the base of the post (jack post) ? If there is you may want to to consider breaking open the floor nearby and check the depth of the floor, and perhaps pour a new support pad so that you can put in a new support post (s) and start shoring up the walls.

4. You may want to get a structural person in to investigate the walls, and shell.

5. As for the dust, it will settle once you have r/r the walls and or damage. * Sections of the wall may have to be broken out and replaced, which means building up support before wall removal.

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Date/Time10/6/2012 at 10:33:41 PM

Kerry has it right.

Those old foundations are rated around a 100 year lifespan. Do your best to follow Kerry's advice now. Ensure your grading on the property is sloped well away from the foundation walls. Make certain that your gutters and downspouts are performing to shed the water as far away as practical. As long as you don't need to finish that basement into living space, if you follow this advice, you won't have much to worry about.

I see the same issues daily during my Niagara home inspections. A structural engineer should be consulted, especially if the floors are no longer level or the doors and windows are no longer square enough to close.

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