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QUESTION: I had a Foldform (foam with cement built inside) basement built on our farm by local small rural town contractors.  It was not built square with the other buildings and does not face very well where I wanted it faced.  It was built for a beautiful older home to be moved onto it.  When the older home was moved the movers hit the shop building coming onto the property.  They fixed the shop and assured us the home wasn't damaged and didn't appear to be - this mover went to our church and passed away 6 months later.  They put it on the basement and we preceded with our contractors to finish the basement and start to remodel the home.  Unfortunately it seems to have some structural problems.  All the floors began to creek and sag, the doors don't shut right, the flooring in the kitchen has pulled away from under the cabinets,the basement ceiling has a big crack in it, the list goes on so we have been at a stand still the last 4 years.  Since this is on our farm we can't just sell it and move on.  We would like to tear the home down, using much of the materials to rebuild over the new basement.  But the problem is it isn't sitting square.  Is there any way of pouring some additional footings to square things up and build a one story home over this basement?  I can't stand looking out at an angle and this farm home overlooks a beautiful little bottom. Please advise.

ANSWER: It sounds like things have gone wrong from the ground up.

The simple answer is you can do most anything if you have the financial resources and time.

It is not impossible that you could build a larger foundation to encompass the existing foundation and basement and skew it to face the way you want.

Your concern will be protecting the finished basement from being destroyed by weather and construction until you can put a finished house over it. With that risk and expense it may end up that taking everything down and starting over again is the best option.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks Thomas but I didn't quite understand your answer..."taking everything down and starting over again".  Do you mean tearing the house down to include gutting the basement back to just the basic fold form walls, building a larger foundation to skew it the way I want it and then rebuild the home?
We have the time, we are teachers and getting close to retirement. We have farm ground we can mortgage to get the financing.  Is this what you would do? Or would you just pick another spot on the farm and build a new home? I just want to get this right and I would like someone to point me in the right direction...things haven't went so well in this area. My husband Joe isn't too handy and this experience has overwhelmed him.

First, without additional information, there is not reason you can not put a larger foundation around the current one.

Second with the risk and expense of protecting the finished basement from being destroyed by weather and construction until you can put a finished house over it, it may end up that starting with a clean slate is the best option. Someone that can work through the details needs to evaluate that.

It would seem to be to your advantage to locate someone experienced in design and planning to help you work through your options. Building projects are complicated and no amount of simplification will answer the hard questions. I can not begin to advise you via the Internet.


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Thomas Buford


Licensed Architect in Virginia since 1984.
New Homes, Additions, Alterations, Outbuildings,
Failure Forensics; Small Construction Projects;
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Due to life safety concerns regarding some aspects of construction I may not be able to help with all questions. I do not answer structural specification questions without a site visit.


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