My basement has severely bowed and shifted cinderblock walls, what kind of contractor do I call for advice?
I purchased a home that was built in the mid 50s it is a very small house and the basement has cinderblock walls, they are bowed in very badly, I never realized how bad until I stripped the walls for renovation. I don't have alot of money, but want to find the most affordable way to repair this properly. Would I call a structural engineer or who would I contact?
- 1 decade agoFavorite Answer
You need a foundation repair contractor. Most likely, you have clay soils around your house that are pressing in on the walls- possibly you have a leaky basement as well, or there are lots of trees and shrubs around the foundation?
Unfortunately, bowing foundation walls are an expensive repair that costs 20-30 thousand dollars. If you rebuild the walls, the soils that caused the first problem will eventually damage the replaced walls, and the new walls are going to be even more expensive to do.
I reccomend that you install foudnation wall anchors on the home- and be sure that you have an expert do it. The will remove a block of the wall, and send a steel shaft through the wall. On the outside, they dig a small hole in the ground and place an anchor that mounts onto the steel shaft. Another steels shaft is mounted on the wall inside. Several of these are installed and then tightened- you can straighten your walls over time by periodically retighteneing them. A good contractor should be able to give you a free estimate on what it would cost to repair them, so there's no risk to learning more. If you ignore it, it's going to get worse.Source(s): I like these guys, and they're international: http://www.foundationsupportworks.com/
- bdLv 41 decade ago
There are many ways to approach such a problem, but I think beginning with a structural engineer makes the most sense. A licensed engineer (someone with P.E. or S.E. behind their name) should be able to evaluate the wall's current condition and provide a certified repair plan that takes into account the soil that is on your property and the best way to support the house above during a repair of this nature.
Engineers are not typically associated with a particular construction company so you can be fairly certain you are getting an assessment of your structure without feeling like they are just trying to create more unnecessary work. Engineers are not cheap, but will likely be far less expensive than the actual repair work done.
If you plan to pull a permit for this type of job, which you should for everyone's sake, you will be required to have structural work approved by a licensed engineer anyway. That's why the engineer is the best place to start.
I would be careful before following advice to pursue a lawsuit because this problem was not disclosed by the seller. I caution mainly because you said yourself that the problem was not apparent until the walls were stripped for renovation. I think this may simply be a problem that you need to handle on your own, sorry, but that is the risk of purchasing any home.
In the case that you don't have the money to rebuild the walls right now I would suggest in addition to getting a detailed repair plan from the engineer I would also ask for their ideas on how to support the wall temporarily without the cost of rebuilding. They may have some creative ideas on how to support the walls from bowing any further without being as much cost as a full rebuild. This would buy you some time while you save for the full repair. I would expect the engineer to charge a little extra for this information, but it may be worth asking for if it offers a safe, but temporary repair.
I designed a support like this before that placed wood on the inside face of the wall and was supported between the floor joists and the concrete floor. The space between that wood and the block wall was then grouted to keep the wall from bowing further. Obviously the engineer is needed to tell you what size of wood, how frequently, how to connect it to the joist, how to connect it to the floor... etc.
I would expect a starting fee for the engineer to be close to $250 and up, this may vary widely depending on your part of the country and how much investigation is necessary to make a quality report. When selecting an engineer I would look for a small company or sole proprietor. Make sure they are licensed in your state, can visit the property in person, and have at least a little insurance - maybe 200,000 at a minimum? Larger companies are typically looking for large projects and would likely not service a smaller project like this.Source(s): Structural Engineer in Colorado. Feel free to email me if you need further clarification, just click on my profile.
- biscuitperifrankLv 51 decade ago
There are companies that do this work, but they will tell you the worst case scenarios to get more work out of the job. It might not be a bad idea to consult a structural engineer about this.
Also, since you just bought this house, there should have been a disclosure form the previous owner needed to fill out about what is wrong with the house (at least it is the law here in Ohio). Talk to your realtor, possibly a real estate lawyer about this. This didn't happen overnight and the previous owners had to know about it. Even if you bought the house in foreclosure, this should have been disclosed.
- How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
You need to find someone who deals with foundations. Most block layers could also help and may not cost as much. Without seeing it I would think you could find a block layer who could come in and lay a second wall just inside the outside wall to take over the support of your house. Yes, you are losing more that 16" of your basement this way but it is much cheaper than having a backhoe come in and destroying your yard, then jacking up your house while a new wall is put up, then putting in new drainage and backfill, then resowing your yard with seed.Source(s): 25+ years building and remodeling
- StuartLv 71 decade ago
The fix for this is either to force the walls back with pressure, or to dig outside the walls and straighten them or rebuild them.
Since either method requires a huge amount of experience and a monstrous amount of insurance, I'd recommend calling either a foundation repair company or a mud jacking company.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
any small masonry outfit should be able to replace the walls for you...i would jack one wall up at a time and replace it and work my way around the house...dig the outside dirt away first...
- tbshmkrLv 71 decade ago
- 4 years ago
and then hit the person in the cubicle in front of you in the back of the head? lmao no but I'll still training