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My Wall Is Tumbling Down!!

Well, I just bought my house last May and was happy to get it for a pretty good deal because it had quite a bit of, shall we say... "deferred maintenance". It had been lived in by an old woman who still enjoyed her mirror and gold flecked wall tiles and dark wood panelled living room, if you get my drift. Anyway, now that i've remodeled and upgraded to the tune of about $50,000 MORE than i'd originally planned, you could say i'm about out of money! (The house looks fantastic!! :D)

THE PROBLEM: The house is on a corner and the block wall that runs between the side of the house and the sidewalk has been pushed up by the city's ficus tree roots and is literally separating itself from it's perpendicular side (the part where the side gate is.) The blocks now have a zig-zag shaped gap of about 1" between them all the way from top to bottom! :eek: The whole wall is leaning toward the sidewalk and I'm afraid it will fall on somebody if I don't do something. So - IS THERE A WAY TO ANCHOR THE WALL FROM MY SIDE (THE YARD SIDE) SO THAT IT WON'T TOPPLE ONTO THE SIDEWALK UNTIL I CAN AFFORD TO TEAR IT DOWN AND REPLACE IT??

Perhaps bolts thru and cable to stakes into the yard? or maybe... pushing it back up with a backhoe and driving rebar down from the top? or filling the gaps with new mortar?? I don't know... Anybody have any good ideas? Thanks!

Re: My Wall Is Tumbling Down!!

Wish I could offer a simple solution, but if it IS a ficus tree, it's one of the worst trees to plant anywhere near a foundation or wall.

If the city did indeed plant it, perhaps they should accept responsibility for the damage, but they rarely do.

There have been a number of lawsuits against cities concerning this issue thus cities are reluctant to plant trees near residential property for this reason---proof would have to be established that the town actually DID the planting---consult an attorney on this, the first consultation is free of charge with most lawyers.

The first 6' of land between the street and your property line BELONGS TO THE CITY.

The biggest threat, because of the rapid root growth of this tree, is that it will eventually crack the house foundation.

By all means touch base with "Tree Service" companies in the Yellow Pages, if the city balks at meeting their responsibility, to get their feedback on what the law says, and their recommendations.

The tree HAS TO BE REMOVED, & thus has to be cut down to the trunk to stop root growth---a stop gap measure would be to remove only the roots going to your property line, but if the tree is left standing, the roots will grown back.

I can see no other way to repair your wall than to remove the concrete blocks, excavate down & remove the offending roots (an electric chain saw is excellent for this) & redo the sidewalk.

A concrete footing and a new concrete block retaining wall can then be installed---sometimes a stone retaining dry wall is installed.

Copper sulfate crystals (sold at HD/Lowe's) are distributed in the excavated trench to prevent subsequent root growth.

Google "ficus tree roots" for background info.

Also Google "retaining walls" for ideas on that phase of the project.

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