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.
The house was originally on piers? These red block walls aren't structural,
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
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.
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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