Here's some pics of my foundation...help!

sflynn75July 29, 2009

Hi,

So here are some pictures I took of my foundation (an older 1920's home in Ottawa Canada) after some crappy drywall and insulation was removed (the drywall was touching the concrete floor and thus wicking up moister...bad):

http://picasaweb.google.ca/sflynn/FoundationPictures

1) So my first question is whether this is a rubble concrete foundation or something else? Note the yellow stuff seems to be some sort of interior parging.

2) Upon closer inspection, there seems to be a "hole" in the corner of the foundation (i.e. an area about 12" in diameter that seems to have 2-3 inches of "stuff" missing).

3) The area of the window under the window and closest to the ground appears to be soft, moist, and crumbly to the touch. However, if I whack a hammer against most of the other portions of the foundation, it has a nice solid "tinny" sound...vs. the spongy sound of this small area of foundation under the window.

4) Realistically, is there anything I can do about this...or need to do about this? Is this something the previous owners should have disclosed to me (i.e. I took possession of the house 30 days ago and could not inspect that part of the foundation until I took off the drywall they placed over the foundation).

I am putting up eavestroughing and ensuring the sides of the house are properly graded AWAY from the foundation. I'm just hoping this is all I need to do as I question whether modern foundation repair techniques would actually make things better or worse for me at the end of the day.

Sean.

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sniffdog

There was a recent Holmes on Homes show that covered this exact topic. In that case, the cement used for the poured foundation had too much water added when it was mixed and the foundation walls were crumbling - causing the house to sag.

To fix it, they built a new foundation wall on the inside of the house all the way around the perimeter of the basement. They poured new footers, and then used cinderblocks to make the walls. At the top of the wall, they installed a wood header to the joists and then filled in the gap between the top of the cinderblock wall and the bottom of the wood header with a non shrinkable grout. There was a lot more involved to deal with the water seeping through the old foundation - see if you can locate that episode.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 9:20AM
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sniffdog

I found the episode - see link below. It was from Holmes on Homes Season 6, EP6067.

Here is a link that might be useful: Holmes: Froundation issues

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 11:57AM
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durutti

Is that video available for viewing online? I would like to see it. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 7:15PM
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worthy

I recall that video. Very interesting.

However, your house is not falling down. It just looks like one section was exposed to water for too many years and is suffering from deterioration, perhaps from chemicals in the ground water. Sulfate attack, for instance.

The interior parging could be falling off from the exterior-to-interior moisture drive and/or from a wall wetted by a wet foundation drawing in water by capillary action. The outside parging is probably deteriorating from the freeze/thaw cycle. Parging is sometimes applied as a "sacrificial" coating. In any case, you shouldn't expect it to be a permanent covering.

It looks to me like the basement finishing job was designed to hide, not cure any problems. And not done well. The steel frame, for instance, is mounted directly to the damp floor, instead of being set on, at least, a vapour barrier.

Anyway, before you spend a small fortune on hunches and distant guesswork--including mine!--get an inspection by a structural engineer.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2009 at 10:16PM
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