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Old 08-05-2011, 07:26 AM  
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Default DIY Foundation Repair on block home

Hello Everyone, I'm new here but looking for some direct ideas to fix my foundation problem. The foundation is slab and walls are concrete block (circa 1950). The house is a berm house but is currently exposed as drainage correction was phase 1. Phase 2 begins...

This first pictures (Corner 1 Small, Corner 1 All) is the back corner, which is usually underground as it is a berm house. I knew I was missing a few screws, apparently my house is missing a few bricks, too.

The second group of pictures (Corner 2 Small, Corner 2 All & Corner 2), are pics of the front corner of the house. I have yet to expose the foundation as I'm kind of scared

I am looking for a how-to repair this damn problem...

Do I support roof with house jack or temporary wall?

How do I take out the old brick? How do I put in new bricks?

Do I use Rebar? Concrete, mortor or cement?

I've heard there is a drying time before you can add more rows of block for every 3 rows. True?

Future plans that you may also have input on..2 Garage doors are being closed in and windows installed; Threshold at both bays need to be busted up and re-poured (very unlevel, cracked and missing pieces).

I appreciate any help you all can give

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Old 08-05-2011, 12:26 PM  
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Ooh, that looks like fun…

I see old spray foam in the joints instead of mortar, it looks like one of the corners is falling away (corner two), and that base that looks like it is missing a few bricks (corner one). So the first question is if the house is level and supported to start with. If the house is level that is good, if not you will want to jack up the house to level it out. That means you will most likely cause cracks in the plaster or drywall, so you may or may not want to do that. Just to make sure you do not drop your house on your head you may want to use some 4X4 posts near the outside wall to support the joists near the areas you are working on. Cut them slightly longer than you need to stand upright, put the upper side of the post under the joist, then hammer it upright and the post should feel solid and be supporting some of the weight. If you are feeling especially nervous, you can nail it to the top, add lateral supports, either way you will most likely want several posts because corner 2 looks bad. Allow yourself room to get around the posts and get to the wall with a bucket and a trowel.

So once the house is stabilized you can break out the blocks with a hammer, or from the looks of your place just pull them out. You will want to mortar the hole that you are going to put the block in, put the block in, and clean the joint pushing the mortar into the joints. Make sure to get all of the foam out, the foam will not hold up your house, the mortar will and it will keep the wind out as well. Personally I am not sure I would take the whole wall out before building it back up, it would just make me nervous… maybe someone more familiar with block construction can chime in. Mortar seems to be the material of choice with block construction, I believe this is because the high sand concentration helps to support the load (like when you hit wet sand it is hard as a rock) the cement holds the sand together in that state. Also you do not want the gravel in the mix because it could be too large for the gap, and cause hassles. So basically use regular mortar. If this will be buried under ground again, you may consider pressurewashing and cleaning off that old paint, and apply some tar (where the ground will contact. When I say tar, it is like the Henrys tar they sell at the hardware store. There are also products that can be sprayed on the block to reduce moisture penetration.

Hopefully that will give you something to start working on before you get more assistance.


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Old 08-08-2011, 02:17 PM  
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Hi Ryan, free to jump on a plane and come join the "fun." Ha. The spray foam was just a temporary way to keep the snow from blowing in. I know, I know...For shame.

The house itself is level for the most part. The floor does have a slight - lean - shall we say, but nothing major at this point. The only place where the floor is a serious issue is at the threshold where the garage bay doors is & was (one door removed). For that, the contractor that quoted me said he would bust up about 6-8 feet into the garage, and repour the concrete floor in that space only. The roof seems to be what is holding everything together. I can't imagine much weight being on those walls because they are mostly straight (corners excluded). Temp wall and posts as you described seem like the best way to go.

Very funny about pulling them true, so true. The wall between the corners is not being renovated at all. It appears solid and I see no need to get into it. I will be applying tar to the foundation as well as plastic under the drainage up to the house. Thank you for your time & tips!
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:30 PM  
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I don't know anything about these block houses but I know ugle when I see it. That looks like a lump of concrete running across the back. Just by looking at the end of it, it dosn't look like a good one. I think I would spend a few hundred on an engineer to make sure your plan will work as we all hate doing thing twice.
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Old 08-10-2011, 10:32 PM  
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Looks like you may be missing part of a footing at the corner, resulting in the blocks settling and doing other naughty things. Make sure any repairs you do have something substantial to bear against.

I repaired a double-wide concrete block foundation a few years ago by chipping out and removing the broken blocks, installing replacements using non-shrink mortar. In that case, the footing was performing well, and the only thing I could figure out was that the blocks were damaged during the set-up process for the double-wide.

Worked like a charm, except for the darn digging I had to do to access the area.

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