Foundation Problems

I just purchased my first home and I have some serious foundation issues. The basement was constucted with concrete blocks. I have large cracks(one is about 1/2 inch thick), mostly horizontal. The cause of the problems appear to be lack of gutters on the house and poor landscaping, which I plan to fix very soon. I am looking for cheap ways of preventing the problem from getting worse.
The previous owner constructed 3 interior walls, also made of concrete blocks, running perpendicular to the exterior walls to support them. My home inspector said that he had never seen this technique used before to enforce the exterior walls, but that it seemed like a good idea. The one wall that is not reinforced this way is the one with the large crack.
My questions are, Has anybody ever seen or used this technique before? Is it good or bad? Should I build a wall to support the 4th exterior wall.
Thanks, Shawn
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snipped-for-privacy@elswankador.com wrote:

I hope you factored a lot of money into this when you bought the place. Personally, I either would have gotten a huge discount, or walked.
Instead of putting up more walls in the basement, which must be an unusable maze by now after the half-assed attempt to deal with the problem by the owner, why not just fix the source of the problem? Gutters aren't very expensive. Nor is the average re-grading around a house if you do most of the work yourself.
The bottom line is you need to fix the real problem, not try to put bandaids on it. With a foundation that has 1/2" cracks, I'd get a structural engineer in to give an opinion. That should have been done before you bought the place.
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you wouldn't have to build a wall to shore it up...you could pour pilasters, basically a column of reinforced concrete against the blocks. you would need some knowledge of concrete and rebar. if i was doing it to my own house, i wouldn't hire an engineer. i'd just overbuild it. that's what engineers do anyway. and definitely fix your landscaping/gutters.
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