DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Framing and Foundation > Engineer and Foundation Co disagree




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Old 04-06-2010, 12:39 PM  
tempalte
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Default Engineer and Foundation Co disagree

My basement wall developed about a 1/4 inch crack running halfway up the wall . About a 10 foot section of the wall has started to lean. It leans in about 1-2 inches at the worst part.

I had an engineer to come look at it. He recommended some drainage changes outside. He said the 10 foot section of wall that leans, should be torn down and rebuilt. I asked about just bracing the wall, but he said he does not like braces. That all braces do is "kick the problem down the road."

He recommended a foundation company to me. I called the company and their guy comes out. I tell him what the engineer says. The foundation guy says the wall is not that bad and just needs three I beams put in place to brace it. (at about 1/3 the cost of rebuilding the wall). He said the house is over 80 years old, rebuilding the wall wouldn't be necessary.

He said 3 I beams would cost about $1,200, rebuilding the wall would cost at least $4,000.

Both the engineer and the foundation company come recommended, both have good BBB ratings.

To me it seems like the engineer is against bracing on principle and I course I want to save some money.

Any thoughts?

thanks
chad



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Old 04-06-2010, 01:40 PM  
Wuzzat?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tempalte View Post
My basement wall developed about a 1/4 inch crack running halfway up the wall . About a 10 foot section of the wall has started to lean. It leans in about 1-2 inches at the worst part.

He recommended some drainage changes outside. He said the 10 foot section of wall that leans, should be torn down and rebuilt. I asked about just bracing the wall, but he said he does not like braces. That all braces do is "kick the problem down the road."

He recommended a foundation company to me. I called the company and their guy comes out. I tell him what the engineer says. The foundation guy says the wall is not that bad and just needs three I beams put in place to brace it. (at about 1/3 the cost of rebuilding the wall). He said the house is over 80 years old, rebuilding the wall wouldn't be necessary.

He said 3 I beams would cost about $1,200, rebuilding the wall would cost at least $4,000.
I had a customer with the same problem - structural engineers installed some serious I beams with no drainage alteration.
I think it cost her $20K but she had symptoms in the floor above.

How much for drainage changes?

I would not have told the second guy what the first guy said.

If the engineer did not stand to profit from his opinion, whatever it is, I'd give him more credibility, perhaps 2x.
I'd ask for clarification on the "kick" sentence. Why can't strong-enough braces be able to shunt a problem elsewhere, forever?

If the likelihood of the beams fixing the problem to your satisfaction and that of future owners of your home is more than 100*1200/4000 = 30%, then go with the beams. If you give the engineer's answer 2x the credibility of the second guy, then the 30% becomes 60%.

Depending on the cost of opinions and how widely differing they are, get some more. And try
http://www.costhelper.com/sitemap.html
for background info.

Not rebuilding a wall because a house is old seems like a non sequitur to me, but I'm not a foundation guy.


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Old 04-08-2010, 09:44 PM  
tempalte
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Not rebuilding a wall because a house is old seems like a non sequitur to me, but I'm not a foundation guy.

I think his point was, if it has only moved that much in 80 years, it probably doesn't need to be replace. I called another foundation company, so I'm getting a third opinion.
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Old 04-09-2010, 09:01 AM  
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I'd think old walls need repair or maintenance due to age but
any wall will need repair if it is overstressed.

Both opinions seem to be that drainage problems are overstressing the wall,
either because the drainage is improper or the wall is now too weak or both.

As to 80 years, has this crack been like this for a long time or are you getting measurable movement within a span of a few weeks or months?

I hope the third opinion is somewhat in line with either of the first two. Usually I get five and throw out the highest and lowest bids as outliers. If the opinions do not converge then more are needed, but getting opinions takes time and money.

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Old 04-13-2010, 12:34 PM  
tempalte
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Well I had another foundation company come out today. He agreed with the first company, that the wall was not leaning too much and didn't need to be rebuilt.

He thought the wall was leaning too much to be fixed with just Ibeams. So he recommended three helical piers. He said they would come with a lifetime warranty.

So I have three different opinions:
1. Engineer - rebuild the section of wall that is leaning
2. Foundation company one - put up three I beam braces $1,200
3. Foundation company two - put in three helical piers $3,000

I feel more confident now that completely rebuilding the wall is overkill. Anyone have thoughts on I-beams vs. screws?

thanks
chad

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Old 04-13-2010, 01:33 PM  
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If you can post the relative credibility of each source, all prices, and likelihoods of fixing your problem or causing further harm, the Decision Tree will be easy to draw.

"The reasonable person will weigh all of the following factors before acting:

the foreseeable risk of harm [your] actions create versus the utility [=useful benefit to you] of [your] actions;
the extent of the risk so created;
the likelihood such risk will actually cause harm to [your house];
any alternatives of lesser risk, and the costs of those alternatives."

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Old 04-15-2010, 08:37 PM  
itsreallyconc
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can't find anything but it would be nice to know what mtl was used to BUILD THE WALLS ! ! ! would you, perhaps, care to share that w/us ? ? ? tempted to rec the professional engineer,,, even after 37yrs, i still call my pe guy occasionally,,, i-beams won't repair but they will stabilize to some extent,,, unfortunately they're attach'd to the floor joists on the top end & the btm's anchored in structure's conc - not too cool imo.

resale value's a serious consideration,,, think of stella & stasch driving back from a day of househunting,,, pretty sure they'll remember which house had steel i-beams holding back the walls

if block ( cmu ), there's an invisible wall pin list'd on my w-site,,, think it was originally design'd by a chicago pe over 30 yrs ago - best ! !
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:40 PM  
tempalte
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The walls are block. I believe he said they were haydite blocks.

I think I am going with the helical piers. They come with a lifetime warranty and I don't think will look as bad as i-beams.

I am also having a french drain installed.



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