I have a 1920s home with a basement garage. On either side of the
driveway leading into the garage, there are retaining walls which are
about 3-4 feet high. The retaining wall on the left basically continues
into the house and becomes the outside foundation wall.
This left side retaining wall shifted at some point due to improper
drainage in the backyard, resulting in a 1/4 to 1/2 inch crack in the
basement garage just inside the garage door. It's obviously the
retaining wall that is moving, even though the crack is in the
foundation wall inside the garage just inside the door. The crack is
diagonal running from outside the door to a low point inside the
Anyway, what would be the best method to fix this kind of crack? ANy
suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
Dig under retaining wall and jack it up then pour new concrete
underneath. May not help much as the crack will still be there but
might only be a hairline crack at that point. This is the cheap and
Other option is to demo the wall, set up some forms, rebar and pour a
new retaining wall. This usually isn't feasible since most walls are
higher but a 3-4 foot wall is a piece of cake. Once the wall is taken
out, you need to drive some rebar/anchors into the remaining walls that
stick out about 4+ inches so that the new concrete will attach to the
I don't have a good mental picture of the problem.
If the retaining wall has moved, you will need to excavate all the
soil behind the wall to be able to put it back where it belongs.
It may not totally close due to debris in the crack or other
deformations due to time.
If you just want to stop it from going further and to waterproof
the crack you would still need to excavate the exterior, but only
in the area of the crack.
You can use or hire structural repair to the crack using epoxy.
The failure can have heavy steel angle and/or plate reinforcing
bolted to or through the walls. It may be better to cut the
retaining wall away from the foundation, so that a failure in one
does not cause a failure in the other. The wall can be
waterproofed on the exterior after the repair work is done.
As in so many of these issues, I hope you are just looking for
ideas that you might discuss with the appropriate engineer.
(top posted for your convenience)
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
I know almost nothing about masonry, but just offer a couple of
thoughts. First, what area of the country do you live and how deep does
the ground freeze? The problem may be more of improper draining along
with freeze/thaw pushing the wall. Fix that, and perhaps the crack can
be mortared? What is "uphill" from your retaining wall? Does the wall
have drainage holes? Soil type?
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