Need to replace some perimiter foundations in my home. Dug down to hard
pan, placed rebar into spread footing and spaced verticals so as to use
concrete block for the stem walls. Approx. 3-4 feet high.
QUESTION: Anybody have suggestions on how to finish off the top course of
block? Do I pour concrete through a small gap (between the new block and
the old 2x6 plates)? Then do I shim with pressure treated wood, or form the
last small gap and pour non-shrink grout?
I'm sure some of you have done this. Please advise as to what is easiest.
BTW, my existing plates (double 2x6) are in excellent shape. No bolts were
used so I would like to drill up into the plates and hang bolts before I
pour concrete. I also need to level out the house. It goes up and down
about 2 inches, which is why I am replacing the foundation in the first
All replies appreciated.
I would think you would want to jack the house up in the area so the
sill plate is a bit above the expected final height, perhaps 1". Set the
anchor bolts in place through the holes in the sill suspended by the
nuts and washers accounting for the gap you will close up later. Pour
the cement / grout to finish off the top bond beam course and
appropriate finish height, presumably using a small form if needed. When
everything has cured properly lower the house and sill down to final
height and tighten the anchor bolts. Of course use all appropriate
precautions when jacking and cribbing, etc.
I'd want to add another [treated] 2x6- but it is your choice. If
you're in a dry area that doesn't have termites, then it probably
isn't a big deal. I'd still at least treat the parts of the sill
that you'll [hopefully] never see again.
Here's how I did mine a couple years ago. This old house managed to
lose 25' of foundation [100 yr old dry stone] on one wall- and 20 feet
on the adjacent wall. The corner held, and we managed to replace
the walls without even cracking sheetrock upstairs.
Cribbed the crap out of it immediately.
Replaced sill & drilled holes for 'L' bolts.
Replaced cribbing with a solid steel post every 10'- Post gets buried
in wall- and has its own footing that goes below wall footing so the
final footing is an uninterrupted, reinforced unit.
Level house to its final elevation.
Insert L- bolts in holes.
Ran wall to within block height plus 1/2".
I used bond beam block for final course. [block with one side solid so
you can fill it with concrete] Using wedges to force it tight against
sill, I placed block- then used a 'pastry bag' to fill gap with
mortar. Removed wedges an hour or two later- and filled gaps left by
Filled top of bond beam blocks.
Snugged up bolts next week.
I used 10 inch block & set the wall deep enough to allow for 2"
insulation and a parge coat on outside- so I had room to get a 3lb
coffee can up there to fill the blocks with concrete.
Good luck-- this isn't the most fun I ever had, but the end result was
Don't understand terminology. My blocks have "all sides and ends solid"
unless I buy "Speedblock" which has no ends and therefore does not need to
be 'threaded' over the vertical rebar. Are we talking about the same
things?? Everything else you mention makes a lot of sense and should be
easy to effectuate. Thanks for the good hints.
Bond beam blocks are different and are designed so that you can lay
horizontal rebar through them and fill the cavity with cement / mortar
to create a continuous bond beam. They are necessary at the top of the
foundation and at certain intervals of vertical spacing. Take a look at
(and perhaps purchase) the Taunton Press Foundations and Concrete work
book you can find at Depot / Lowe's.
Raising the house sounds easy , it isnt and will require alot of
equipment, even special foundations for the jacks. Leveling it off can
be done with screw jacks slowly, maybe 2" a month but your doors and
windows wont work right and windows wont work at all again. I dug out my
basement and put in foundation walls, For the sill to house in areas I
just cut up screw jacks to be 6" and put one in every few feet for the
house to foundation connection and used wood in areas. You could get it
up a bit higher then your decided on height and custom plane your sill
to foundation wood to just fit in and lower the house. But raising the
whole house is a much harder job.
I don't think he's lifting the entire house, just a portion of
perimeter. If the house was build level and he's putting it back to
level his doors and windows may start working properly again. Even if he
is lifting the whole thing, that book I mentioned even has that at the
very end (though they don't expect you to actually do it).
Good point. Hopefully your house was level when it began and leveling
it will make doors and windows right- not render them all useless.
Depending on a lot of things, my first thought was that "2 inches a
month is 'worst case' ". The key is to take 1/4" or so-- give the
house a few days to settle- then take some more. Ransley might have
done the math-- that works out to 8 jacking days and 24 'rest days' -
or a month. Slow is good.
I do know what a bond beam and block looks like, Pete. It's just the above
"one side solid" that still confuses me. Bond beams have both ends and the
middle web notched for the rebar. Since my main question was 'how to fill
the last row of concrete' I thought you were referring to a specially made
(one side solid?) block just for that occasion.
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