Foundation settling- bolting blocks


My garage was built about 20 months ago. It was on top of what had been filled in about 5 years earlier. Big problem was that the excavator had to dig down 6 feet before reaching the buried tree stumps, plus digging deeper yet to remove the stump, he had one hell of a hole. It is very heavy clay and he said he filled it in layers packing it down the best he could with the excavator. He actually turned the footing a bit to stay off of most of that giant hole he had to dig and fill in.
OK, withing a few months the block wall cracked at the joints, not bad some places, but worse where the mason forgot to put the wire between courses. I fixed the cracks when they were about 1/4" but they came back, maybe another 1/8". I was starting a plan to get rebar in at angles and add concrete when I had another idea. I picture a long "bolt" from one corner to the other. It's not easy to describe how I would attach the bolt at each end but it would be going into a block cell at each end that already has rebar and is poured solid. BTW, the "bolt" would be rebar welded together and then a turnbuckle or two welded in the middle section. I could easily go through the wall with the bolt and add a big 1/4" plate on each end as a washer, but I don't know how well the future stucco would look trying to hide these bolts. Or I suppose I could use a small tube around the bolts so the stucco doesn't touch them and I could tighten it in the future if needed.
That's a lot of variables, any ideas?
Ever seen anything like this done? Any pros and cons?
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That will try to hold the walls together, but they could still sag at the midpoints. I would try getting a lot of water under the slab to promote the settling, lert it alone for a couple of months to let it dry out, and then see how bad things are. You may be faced with a huge problem that even bolting together the corners will not be able to fix. What does the contractor suggest?
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hr(bob) snipped-for-privacy@att.net wrote:

I think the sagging is at the corner because the cracks are wider at the top and pretty much non- existent at the bottom of the wall. They are 6' to 8' from the corner. There is also a window at the cracks and with the lentil there is a space I would have liked to rebar and fill with concrete top to bottom but couldn't due to the solid lentil being in the way. None of the other walls have more than hairline cracks. I am the contractor. In the last 6 months we have had lot's of rain, extreme cold and snow and more rain, way above average. It may be done settling, I don't know. I have a feeling it's something that most would just mud over and see what happens but I'd like to be sure before studding and insulating... that will hide the "bolt". I've seen many retaining walls and exterior house walls with big bolts through them so it's not that uncommon. If worst comes to worst, I can have some concrete jacking done, I don't think this is enough to be a serious problem. For now I have it marked and it hasn't moved 1/32" in over 4 months.
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Warranty? I mean we're talking a few months and ongoing.

When my former place was built it had a basement. They just dug the entire depth of the basement for the entire perimeter. This was in sand. After all footers and walls were poured, sand was put back in the garage area in layers and compacted with gasoline compaction tamps. Never had any issues in the 15yrs I was there.
Based on that comparison, packing it down the best he could with the excavator was not a good idea.
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Tony wrote:

It may be better to hire some "midnight pier" people. Or buy a jack and a mess of concrete plugs and do it yourself.
The way I understand it: 1. You dig a hole under the foundation big enough for one concrete plug and a jack. 2. You heave-ho on the jack, pushing the concrete plug down. 3. When the plug is out of sight, you remove the jack and add another plug. 4. Ultimately, the plugs quit going down and the foundation starts going up. 5. When the foundation is level, or maybe a bit higher, you remove the jack and shim the distance between the last plug and the foundation. 6. Cover the hole.
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HeyBub wrote:

I would put this is the Life Is Too Damn Short category- either bite the bullet and get it fixed right, or live with it. And by right, I mean a foundation repair company with the big auger, that can snake holes under the footers and pour a proper piling down there, into undisturbed soil, and somehow tie it to the existing foundation and jack everything halfway square again. That may or may not be cheaper than traditional fix, which would be jacking up the garage, supporting it on cribbing, and building a new foundation under it, correctly this time. (Sometimes it is easier to just set the garage off to the side while you do this, if the jacks you use have wheels under them...)
On a job less than 2 years old, I'd be talking to whoever built it, and/or their/my insurance companies. There were approved plans, permits, and inspections, right? Including inspections of the dirt work and the compacting? One of my jobs as a kid, was sitting on an empty job site waiting for inspector to sign off on footings poured the day before, so the block laying crew could get scheduled in. Along with foundation page from blueprints, had to have to the order for the concrete delivery to show the PSI strength, and he'd jump down in the hole to measure the width of the footing, how deep it was, and in general to see how sloppy the dirt was (poke it with a stick, see if his shoes pulled off, etc), until he had a warm fuzzy that the footers would hold a building up.
-- aem sends...
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I don't know how it holds up, but many years ago (as a young newly wed) my wife and I noticed just about EVERY building in "old" downtown Charleston, SC (which is on a wraparound waterfront) had large bolts/washers/nuts on the outside at several levels. We presumed they were structural reinforcement for these pre- (or, at least, early) USA buildings.
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snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

Earthquake rods. http://earthquakes.suite101.com/article.cfm/the_charleston_earthquake_of_1886 http://www.charlestonlowcountry.com/about/awalkingtour.html
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On Feb 6, 7:09pm, snipped-for-privacy@triton.net wrote:

This may sound a bit odd but I believe that the "large bolts/washers/ nuts" you saw are retrofits to attach the floor diaphragms to the wall, most likely an earthquake or high wind retrofit.
Los Angeles had a program / method called (IIRC) Division 88 (promtped by the 1987 Whittier earthquake).
OP-
I would suggest either letting the foundation settle (& stop moving) and then grout or institute RG's jacking / pseudo-pile repair. The unfortunate situation is that the soil under the foundation at that location is incapable of supporting the applied loads. Attempting to tie the whole thing together will be difficult, the loads are large and unless the steel tie is sized correctly it will not not be able to control the cracks
btw most rebar is too high in carbon the weld reliably unless oyu use weldable rebar (ASTM 706?). Large diameter threaded rods are available from McMaster and can be used in conjunction with large turnbuckles. If oyu decide to use coupling nuts make sure you get the "large hex" type, most "normal" coupling nuts have very little "meat".
cheers Bob
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DD_BobK wrote:

I know this is late, but I just found this thread again and wanted to reply about welding rebar. I don't know what kind of rebar the local Lows carries, but it is very weldable. I had been using scraps to practice and with my little mig it seemed like some of the easiest metal to weld. One test piece was two 5" pieces of 1/2" rebar welded together at the ends into an L shape. I put it in the vice and hammered away spreading out the L. The rebar bent and the weld didn't suffer a bit. If I was going to do what I had been planning I would have "cheated", overlapping the rebar and giving it a few inches welding the two together side by side and I'm confident the rebar would stretch before the weld failed.
And on a side note, last summer I needed 3 new bolts for my lawn mower blades and was referred to a place I didn't know about. They carry HEAVY hardware. As my bill was being rung up I was looking around and saw that they have "all thread" up to 2"! If I were ever to need a big turnbuckle, I'm sure they would be the place to go. And only a few miles away.
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Tony-
Just because the welds look decent doesn't mean that the rebar is "weldable grade rebar".
Weldable rebar is ASTM A706 vs the typical ASTM 615 used for concrete reinforcement.
In the grand scheme of things, it probably won't make any difference in your particular situation but "regular" rebar is not supposed to be welded.
cheers Bob
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Tony wrote:

Well since everyone here sounded like I had a huge problem, I called 2 places that do foundation repairs. The first one said a vertical crack of less than 1/2" on a non-bearing block wall wasn't anything to worry about. I asked if it would be OK to rebar and fill the cavities that aren't already filled and he said yes it if makes me worry less, but it doesn't need anything but pointing since it hasn't moved in 4 months of extreme temp fluctuations and record rainfall, it's probably done most of its settling.
The second guy was in my area and stopped by this morning. He sort of smiled and said "It's not going anywhere". Pretty much agreed with the 1st guy and added that it's not load bearing, *and* it's not even backfilled against, so don't worry. He said that since it hasn't moved any more with the last 4 months of extreme weather, if it was his wall he would wait until spring, then knock out the mortar and re point. Also asked him about rebar and filling the empty cells and he said yes, he would probably do that too if it was his house, although it probably doesn't need it.
So I can stop inventing all kinds of creative ways to fix a problem that isn't really a problem and get back to my insulating. But I'll be watching it from the outside just to be sure. I'll wait a while before doing the stucco just to be sure.
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Glad to hear that two knowledgeable folk said not to worry. If the weather has been that bad and things aren't shifting, it should be ok.
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