Block wall in the basement is bulged out a couple inches. Horizontal crack
about 30 ' long. Am getting estimates on putting wall anchors in. The
anchors consist of 9' threaded rods which are ran through the wall and
attached to a plate inside and an anchor plate in the yard. This sounds like
such a simple job that I was thinking about attempting it myself. Think I
should try to do this myself? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.
After you are done with the anchors you might consider leveling your wall
with mortar and then painting with drylock, etc. It won't do anything
structurally to help you but you will be very glad you did when you go to
sell the house.
IMHO, if you are gonna be digging up the yard anyway, better to do the job
right and rebuild the wall, adding proper backfill and drainage this time,
and fixing whatever grading/gutter/sloped porch problems led to the bowed
wall. (I'm assuming this is the classic hydrostatic pressure damage, not a
slumping hill or something.) Even if these wall anchors keep the wall from
moving, they won't stop the water that is probably causing the problem. With
a bulge that big, is there current leakage after big rains, or evidence it
has leaked in past? And has a Real Engineer looked at the problem, or just
the 'basement repair' guy? Anchors like that, interior piers, etc, are all
just temporary fixes. Agreed, temporary may be long enough to sell the
house, or even the rest of your life, but IMHO they aren't a proper fix.
A friend with a similar problem has a large concrete patio over the ground
outside the basement wall. Could he fix it from the inside by drilling
horizontal holes through the wall and out under the patio and installing
something like giant screw anchors or moly bolts?
To add my two cents, just (9 months) bought a house with same concerns.
The cracks were not as big, only about an eighth of an inch at the
bigest. As this was discovered during a buyers inspection there was no
doubt as to the responsibility and the seller really stepped up to the
plate. As a result I ended up learning more about foundation repair (more
than I really cared to) and the previous poster is correct. Figure out
and address the cause of the problem before you make repairs. At this
point it appears that your wall may be unstable and could collapse
without being stabilized. There is little point in adding anchors if the
wall is already past the point of stability.
I would also take advise in this group with a grain of salt, as the
proper repair for your house will be dependent on variables that none of
the usenet members can see. In my case the solution was to open the block
walls and add rebar and concrete to the cores. Other solutions included
poured pilasters (reinforced concrete colunms added to the inside of the
basement walls), carbon fiber mats epoxied to the inside of the basement
walls and soldier columns (steel columns bolted to the footings and
supporting the walls. Soil anchors were not an option as the soil is very
sandy and the anchors would probably not hold.
I also would recommend evaluation by a civil engineer. This works for two
reasons. First, if you decide to sell the house and there are questions
about the repair, having a treatment designed by an engineer will help
put concerns to bed as opposed to "well the contractor seemed to know the
solution to the problem". This is not a cut at the contractors, in my
case the contractor understood the problem very well and in fact
specialized in this kind of repair, but in 5, 10, or 20 years no one will
have heard of the contractor but the engineers license will still
demonstrate competence. As to the price, the engineer was cheap, only a
couple of hundred dollars for the inspection and design. the repair was a
little more precious, about $5K. The cause of the problem? The house was
reroofed about 1 1/2 years ago and the roofer talked the homeowner into
leaving gutters off the house. Over time water saturated the soil near
the house and created pressure on the walls.
So, first get someone with a license to inspect the situation and make
recommendations for the proper fix. Then use your own common sense to
address the problem. Keep in mind that this is the most expensive thing
you own and ask yourself if you want to gamble with it by attempting to
shortcut the fix. This is not a situation like adding a dishwasher where
if you do it wrong it costs a couple of hundred bucks in "learning
expenses", if this goes wrong it could ruin your house.
A 30 foot long crack at a bulge of several inches indicates that
you aren't too far away from a total failure of that wall, with
potentially catastrophic results for your house.
As another poster has mentioned, you need to know what is causing
the bulge. In my location, that would be a classic marine clay
problem which wall anchors will not even begin to fix.
If you haven't had a soils engineer take a look at this, you
probably should do so before undertaking any repair, unless you
know a whole lot more than you're telling us.
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