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nickit 06-15-2012 11:20 PM

Closing in a basement wall opening.
I need to close up a 24" width by 50 3/8 tall opening in a basement block wall. This opening leads to a old well pit under the outside steps. Old well is sealed. What do contractors do when the wall is the old size blocks ( 17.5 x 12 x 8) and new standard block are only 7 5/8 tall. 6 courses of 7 5/8 tall with 3/8" joints leaves a gap of 2 inches. How would they fill that gap? Slice a block down? Also, when adding vertical rebar and core filling, how do you do that on the top block? Because this opening in the wall is 4 sided, it is not open on the top. Once the block is in place, you can't get to the rebar to position it.

BridgeMan 06-20-2012 05:48 PM

Most big box stores sell solid concrete stepping stones 2" thick, usually not too expensive--cut a few of them down to match the block dimensions you're using. If you really think you need rebar in the wall (to resist exactly what?), forget about block and just form and pour solid reinforced concrete. Use steel forms for the back face, as you won't be able to get to them for stripping, and if wood, could start to rot and stink after a few years.

CallMeVilla 06-20-2012 11:25 PM

Yes, I have seen blocks cut down to size using a masonry blade and a dedicated saw. I would never use my worm drive Skillsaw which I use for wood. Rebar seems overkill. Just mortar and block should be sufficient.

Good luck!

nickit 06-20-2012 11:33 PM

Thanks BridgeMan. Starting to think about just pouring it. At 12" thick, I'm looking at a just over 8 cubic feet which is something like 25 bags from the store. Probably too much for me to mix in the wheelbarrow. I can get readymix from the local rental place in a trailer. May just go that route. Also though about just pouring the first 2 inches of the opening to bring it up in height (and level the opening) and then use the block. Later this year the plan is to replace the steps and patio. Just as soon as this is somewhat cured. So I will be able to get to the outside form after the fact to remove it and will waterproof the outside wall. Rebar is required by the local inspector to provide support against the outside force of the fill I will add when the steps are replaced. Even though there is a foundation for the steps and I guess I could leave the pit empty, I plan to add holes to the well pit floor to ensure water does not pool in the pit and then fill it in.
Thanks again. Nice to get another opinion to make sure I am not way off track.

nealtw 06-21-2012 02:01 AM

25 bags would not be to much to mix by hand but you would still have to finish with block at the top and building a form on the other side of this wall may be vary tricky.

JoeD 06-21-2012 08:08 AM

I would use what ever block is available and cut them to fit at the end. Fill the top gap with solid concrete bricks.
I might even consider just building stud wall and insulating and vapour barrier.

nickit 06-22-2012 12:12 AM

Thanks everyone for the responses. Still thinking about which way I will go and this thread has given me some interesting ideas.

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