I am asking this question for my Mother, who is living in an old house (at least 120 years old, probably older) with a field stone foundation. The foundation was also covered with a cement wall at some point (more than 40 years ago) in order to strengthen the foundation, we suppose. The cement wall has been bowing for some years and lately, there are cracks around the foundation (between the house and the ground) that are widening on one side of the house. The gutter system on one side of the house is old and not functioning correctly, so water may be dropping near the foundation. There is a sump-pump for big rain events, but the basement does smell musty.
My questions are:
1) Is there any immediate danger? I mean, does a house ever just quickly collapse? (This is her worry)
2) Is there such a thing as a relatively inexpensive and suitable fix, such as strengthening the wall with another layer of cement? Can doing such a thing actually cause more damage?
She does not want to spend $20K on a big job since that is a lot of money... But if she wants to sell the house in some years, what would be best to do?
If anyone has any advice, I (and she) would really appreciate it.