upgrading red block foundation walls

Our old victorian farm house circa 1888 has foundation walls put in in 1919. The walls do rest on a concrete footing and there is drainage tile laying on the footing to the outside of the walls. The common problem with the red block walls is the cement mortar was never applied well enough to stop all leaks. Hence, we have a damp basement that is basically only used for storage. I have thought about a reasonably priced repair for many years. There are no breaks in the wall but some areas are sloughing off a little. Would it be possible to excavate the dirt back from the walls, then seal with maybe black tar and use some kind of sheet plastic on the outside before backfilling? I've also thought of pressure treated wood walls. We happen to be in the midwest. Any ideas about successful solutions to this problem? One side of the house is a lot worse than the rest and would be nice to just do part of the house at a time. I question whether jacking the house up and pouring new foundation walls would be cost effective as far as ever getting a return on investment. Thanks for any responses.
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<JW> wrote in message

they are just skirting? Or did they replace the piers on the outer edge? Can't see from here, but first thing to check is yard grading and gutters, to keep water from heading toward the house. If an engineer or even a competent mason says the walls are sound, I'd recommend that foam+gravel layer board stuff for the outside, from the siding down to the footer, with suitable sealing at the seams and flashing along the top. That will keep water from coming through, and warm the basement up a little. Your method, similar to how foundations were waterproofed from the 1950s till recently, would also work, but wouldn't add any insulation, and would look ugly above grade level unless you also skim-coated the visible part with stucco mortar or something.
And yes, jacking up the house and putting a modern foundation under it would be the 'forever' solution, but it is quite expensive. In most areas, only used for historical or heirloom houses. Unlikely to pay back on resale.
aem sends...
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ameijers wrote:

yes it would be possible to excavate it and apply a foundation coating. i would also add a barrier such as a dimple membrane (google system platon). but all this isn't going to be that cheap, and you can imagine what it will do to your yard for awhile. i guess it comes down to how bad you want to fix the moisture problem.
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