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Liz5572
Bowing Foundation Wall - DIY?

Hi there!

We recently bought a 1940 hip roof colonial. It has a fieldstone foundation and a damp basement. The previous owners had removed a portion of the fieldstone foundation to allow for a well line to come in, and never returned adequate structure to the foundation wall (well, no one's perfect).

As a result, and also due to drainage problems, the foundation wall is bowing in multiple locations -- and we'd like to fix it ourselves. In addition, the basement, we've learned, collects a lot of water - we have just battled 5-7 inches of flooding from a recent storm.

There are several things we are doing to correct the situation:
1. (Near term)Digging trenches along the interior perimeter of the basement to target water flow within the interior. Adding 1-2 sump pumps to remove water currently in basement (there are 2 locations in which water is coming from).
2. Once spring arrives: Add french drains and gutters outside to direct water flow away from the home so that we can prevent some of the problems of water reaching the areas in which it's causing problems.
3. (Now this is the tricky one): repair and replace the bowing foundation wall via jacking up the house, digging around the perimeter outside down to the footing, and properly installing the foundation (gravel, etc.)

Is there any other suggestions that you have regarding these projects?

Are there any good resources you can point us in for researching the 3rd option? (We don't have all the financial resources in the world, but have a family member that was a contractor that can help)

Getting some insight from a structural engineer may be helpful - but what are the costs associated? Does anyone recommend this?

Thank you for your insight.

canuk
Re: Bowing Foundation Wall - DIY?
Liz5572 wrote:

Hi there!

We recently bought a 1940 hip roof colonial. It has a fieldstone foundation and a damp basement. The previous owners had removed a portion of the fieldstone foundation to allow for a well line to come in, and never returned adequate structure to the foundation wall (well, no one's perfect).

As a result, and also due to drainage problems, the foundation wall is bowing in multiple locations -- and we'd like to fix it ourselves. In addition, the basement, we've learned, collects a lot of water - we have just battled 5-7 inches of flooding from a recent storm.

There are several things we are doing to correct the situation:
1. (Near term)Digging trenches along the interior perimeter of the basement to target water flow within the interior. Adding 1-2 sump pumps to remove water currently in basement (there are 2 locations in which water is coming from).
2. Once spring arrives: Add french drains and gutters outside to direct water flow away from the home so that we can prevent some of the problems of water reaching the areas in which it's causing problems.
3. (Now this is the tricky one): repair and replace the bowing foundation wall via jacking up the house, digging around the perimeter outside down to the footing, and properly installing the foundation (gravel, etc.)

Is there any other suggestions that you have regarding these projects?

Are there any good resources you can point us in for researching the 3rd option? (We don't have all the financial resources in the world, but have a family member that was a contractor that can help)

Getting some insight from a structural engineer may be helpful - but what are the costs associated? Does anyone recommend this?

Thank you for your insight.

Your #1 method is something you need to be careful with. Trenching along side the perimeter while good intension could acutally create issues. If you are too close to the footings you could end up underminig them allowing the foundation to move inward and have the whole works come crashing down.

You need to get an engineer in as soon as possible to evaluate the situation and make appropriate recommendations. The costs can vary but usually for around $500 - $1000 they will evaluate and provide a stamped recommendation for you to submit to your building department for approval.
This really isn't a DIY project and hopefully that family member was an experienced contractor in this area of work since this is a serious and dangerous undertaking.

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