Foundation Follies

I'll try to keep a long story short.
This 1939 2 story brick hovel sits on an 8" poured foundation on the side of a hill/cliff and time and gravity and water are doing what time and gravity and water do. The slope is so severe the foundation sill is at grade in front and the basement is a walkout, so it falls about 8' in 33' (and keeps going).
The previous owners had a window opening in the foundation enlarged to accept a fixed 5.5 x 42" window, by a nitwit who managed to cut through 2 horizontal lengths of rebar, effectively nearly severing that corner of the house.
I've been looking at this for years, but I didn't know the extent of the damage until we got new windows and they yanked that one.
I suspect the same nitwit did the halfass tuckppointing job to hide the deterioration. He cut 1/8" W x 1/2" D slots in the mortar, crammed them half full then tried to smear the mud over the whole joint.
We had an engineer out in '08. He recommended a steel "staple dowel" be recessed across the header re-tying the unsound foundation to the semi-sound foundation. We tried for 2 years to get anyone to bid on it, without succcess; they either never showed, or showed and we never heard from them again.
I was thankful, I didn't have an ounce of faith in any of them.
We happen to know the orginal niwit so we called him in for a bid. $9000. Even my laydown "whatever it costs is whatever it costs and I want it" SO laughed at that. Given a number that girl will usually stroke a check for the full amount and not think twice.
At this point it probably doesn't seem I'm trying to keep a long story short...
While this work was ongoing we're had quite a bit of rain. I sealed that opening watertight, or so I thought untill water started pouring in the header. It wasn't coming from the opening, it was coming in at a HOLE in the sill of the window above and running down INSIDE the wall.
I got a 3/8" x5" x10' steel plate and mounted it across the header with 5 5/8" redheads.
Today, the minute my digital thermometer indicates that wall is 49F I'm injecting epoxy in the cracks, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best...
Caution- Not for the squeemish: https://picasaweb.google.com/114080623026617922560/Wall # -----
- gpsman
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Not pretty. An alternative approach would have entailed removing the brick above the opening and engineering a steel solution above the window where the height limitation would not be as problematic, then redoing the brick. Another one would have been to build a structural steel frame for the window opening out of COR-TEN channel setting it in non-shrink grout and bolting it to the foundation. R
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I'd try to sell the house and move
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

It's appraised at $209. Taxes are 1.579%. It's worth less than nothing. Make me an offer.
We're going to take a big hit, but we're lucky we can absorb it with little other than the emotional pain.
I think what I'm going to do is get our insurance agent out here and see if we can't find this hovel "totaled".
If not, I might create a website to showcase the nitwit's work. That whole family is in the home "improvement" business... -----
- gpsman
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Oily rag fire????????
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I like that idea. I did a lot of thinking, but I never thunk of that. Makes sense to me, because there isn't much mortar holding those bricks anyway.

Another good idea I never thunk of, and I may use it.
I started to post this here weeks ago, but my mind was spinning around the few ideas I could muster myself. Another idea would have just confused me further.
Last night's rain leaked through the wall, somehow, after I epoxyed and caulked all the holes and cracks I could find yesterday. Didn't leak a ton, about 10% of what was penetrating before.
There are a lot of hairline cracks, the wall above the window needs to be re-tuckpointed.
It seems I'll end up doing it myself. Of the hundreds of contractors in the area there couldn't be more than 6 that aren't fronts for criminal enterprises.
On top of that, I have a flat-tile roof. The last roofer in the area with "real" tile roof experience probably died around 1950.
On top of that, I have a pool that needs replastering. I've been trying for over 3 years to get the one guy within 100 miles that "says" he replasters out here, but I've yet to lay eyes on him.
Thanks for the input.. -----
- gpsman
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On 3/9/2011 8:46 AM, gpsman wrote:

What no Mexicans? The ones I know can do any kind of tile roof, and I know another that is very good at masonry and stucco. They may be lost arts here, but not in the third world.
Jeff

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I was going to suggest the same thing before I got to the steel plate part. Except I might have tried to go longer than 10' :-) What about going all the way through with bolts and putting another plate on the back side?
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I'd be up in the 1st floor joists above the header, and even if not I think it would be overkill, for my purposes.
I think this house is becoming more and more like a boat and it's in our best interest to cut our losses. Ms. Moneybags, and her family, and her friends, and her acquaintances, all think we should have continued to ignore it and hoped it went away since the worst damage is hidden.
The structure is worth less than nothing, as is the lot. I'm about a bitch and a half from saying fuck it and slapping the new window in there today... -----
- gpsman
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On 3/9/2011 9:59 AM, gpsman wrote:

Would the house be worth anything if you had it jacked up and a new foundation built under it? Is the brick veneer over studs, or an old-style 3-layer wall? (Still pretty common in 39)
--
aem sends...

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On 3/9/2011 7:05 PM, aemeijers wrote:

I don't know much about this, but I had a foundation problem here and just nailed up a mold out of plywood, filled it full of rubble and then concrete. Solid as a rock, so to speak. And cheap.
Jeff
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I don't think it's worth what that would cost... $50K...?
I think I'd need a few thousand yards of fill and a retaining wall to boot.
The -other- issue with that I think might be the storm drain that runs within 10' feet of that corner of the house. Here's a shot that doesn't do the grade justice.
http://oi52.tinypic.com/m7ure1.jpg

Brick over what I think is "speed brick", then plaster, where the previous owners didn't replace that with drywall... -----
- gpsman
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I'll try to keep a long story short.
This 1939 2 story brick hovel sits on an 8" poured foundation on the side of a hill/cliff and time and gravity and water are doing what time and gravity and water do. The slope is so severe the foundation sill is at grade in front and the basement is a walkout, so it falls about 8' in 33' (and keeps going).
The previous owners had a window opening in the foundation enlarged to accept a fixed 5.5 x 42" window, by a nitwit who managed to cut through 2 horizontal lengths of rebar, effectively nearly severing that corner of the house.
I've been looking at this for years, but I didn't know the extent of the damage until we got new windows and they yanked that one.
I suspect the same nitwit did the halfass tuckppointing job to hide the deterioration. He cut 1/8" W x 1/2" D slots in the mortar, crammed them half full then tried to smear the mud over the whole joint.
We had an engineer out in '08. He recommended a steel "staple dowel" be recessed across the header re-tying the unsound foundation to the semi-sound foundation. We tried for 2 years to get anyone to bid on it, without succcess; they either never showed, or showed and we never heard from them again.
I was thankful, I didn't have an ounce of faith in any of them.
We happen to know the orginal niwit so we called him in for a bid. $9000. Even my laydown "whatever it costs is whatever it costs and I want it" SO laughed at that. Given a number that girl will usually stroke a check for the full amount and not think twice.
At this point it probably doesn't seem I'm trying to keep a long story short...
While this work was ongoing we're had quite a bit of rain. I sealed that opening watertight, or so I thought untill water started pouring in the header. It wasn't coming from the opening, it was coming in at a HOLE in the sill of the window above and running down INSIDE the wall.
I got a 3/8" x5" x10' steel plate and mounted it across the header with 5 5/8" redheads.
Today, the minute my digital thermometer indicates that wall is 49F I'm injecting epoxy in the cracks, crossing my fingers and hoping for the best...
Caution- Not for the squeemish: https://picasaweb.google.com/114080623026617922560/Wall # -----
- gpsman
IF it was me I would call a real estate agent and find out what it would bring if fixed compared with what it could bring not fixed...I would also call a reputable General Contractor and have him call his concrete guys , jacking guys , dirt guys , pool plaster and put together a price , it might cost a bit but it's worth it...Compare and make your INFORMED decision..Trying to get the good ones to return a home owners call is a waste of time as they are busy with the General's work as I found out when I had my garage and breezeway built...I spent WEEKS trying to get dirt and concrete guys to return calls to no avail...One call to a General I know and they were there that next week...Lesson learned...The ones who respond to homeowners tend to be hacks IMHO....Good luck and let us know how it works out...
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That sounds like good advice, except we have no reputable GC's or pool replasterers, or anything else I know of, within 100 miles, for sure, and it's probably closer to 1000.
This is the land where Bill Erpenbeck set the standard of luxury construction by building shacks.

I haven't found anything different, yet.
....Good luck and let us know how it works

I have to get the leak/s in that wall stopped before I can install that window. So far I have 2 bids for repointing that corner of the house; $5300 from an onsite hack who promises to rut up the yard, and $337.50 from a local "celebrity", but that was by picture and email. He hasn't visited yet.
I'm suspecting it won't be long before I'm renting some scaffolding, and not looking forward to it.
Thanks, everyone, for your interest. I'll continue to update the saga. -----
- gpsman
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