Basement foundation repair

hyphen603June 15, 2014

Hi There,

I'm fixing up a house that was originally built in 1790 (thats correct, not a typo).

There is a fieldstone foundation, that is holding up extremely well, and only needs to be repointed.

The issue I'm finding is, sometime around 1934, the dirt floor was covered with concrete. But, they dug about a foot of dirt out before adding the concrete, but didn't fill that one foot gap with concrete.

In other words, the floor is below the foundation walls, with only dirt holding up the foundation walls.

What would be the easiest way to fix this situation? The basement itself will never be more than a place for a furnace and hot water heater, as even as it stands now, there is only about 5 feet of vertical space.

Could the floor be brought up a few inches so there are not lateral forces acting upon the wall? or other ideas?

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If the fieldstone foundation has held up "extremely well" for 80 years, I'm not seeing a problem.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 8:27PM
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WOW, a house from 1790 - how cool! Please post pics as you progress.

Sorry, have no foundation advice, but personally if it's survived this long I'd not mess with it. Disclaimer: I have NO expertise in this area.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Not sure what your situation is with regard to water in the cellar, but if you have the typical gravity drain system you have a great opportunity. The gap along the perimeter of the foundation can be filled with gravel and perforated drain pipe can be installed - topped with more gravel - to direct water to the drain exit.

I'd also be a little cautious with the re-pointing. You do not want to create a situation where you are sealing the foundation from the inside. This has the potential of causing water pressure to build up on the outside of the foundation walls - not something you want. Foundations of this era - 18th and most of the 19th century - were generally designed to allow water to enter, then exit via a drain. Re-pointing above grade should present no problems, but any sealing below grade should be on the exterior side. Diverting water away from the foundation through grading on the outside is really the best thing you can do.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2014 at 5:44AM
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