Foundation Stabilization and Repair/1912 house horizontal cracks

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QUESTION: Hi there, my husband and I are thinking about putting an offer on a 1912 two storey home. The foundation is made of concrete block. The home when purchased in 2000 had some cracks to the foundation already and was repaired with concrete filler by the owners and they have been filling in cracks as they come over the last 12 years. In 2010 an evestrough was missed and there was some flooding in the north west corner of the home. The cracks that are evident and have been filled with cement are: horizontally across the north wall (front wall) with 2 vertical cracks 1 down to the floor and the other from the middle up to the ceiling. There is also a horizontal crack in the west wall to the ajoining corner to north/front wall. From what we have read do to the placement of the horizontal cracks it may be due to freezing of the soil in the climate we are in (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada) and poor drainage of the area. We have not yet assesed how much bulging the walls have, and we can not tell due to the concrete filler how wide the cracks are. Complicating things, the front of the house has a addition of a front porch which is in the same corner of the house as much of the cracking and drainage issues. What are you thoughts as to go about fixing this issue, and any cost range that you might have would be beneficial.

ANSWER: Hello Kirsten
The problems you have mentioned with a very old block foundation would be considered serious structural damage particularly in a two story home.
To go about fixing the foundation will require an examination from a licensed structural engineer and a plan of reinforcement and stabilization of the foundation.
Often times there may be a need for sectional foundation replacement or poured concrete inner sister walls with counter forts positioned in heavy load areas.
You could expect to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to have the work done properly.
I would recommend consulting with a structural engineer in the territory before even thinking about purchasing such a building.
I wish you the best!
Respectfully          Ed Eckley

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QUESTION: Thank you for the quick reply Ed, in your opinion should we hire a structural engineer before or after making an offer? I understand if we include in the offer a stipulation of structual assessment by engineer if the assessment is poor we can back out or renegotiate selling price based on a detailed repair cost estimate. Your advice is greatly appreciated! Here are some pictures to go with the 1st question.

Answer
Hello again Kirsten
That is a very good question!
I would suggest speaking with at least one of the best engineers in the territory prior to making an offer, and be very careful about submitting the purchase agreement before knowing exactly what the extent of the foundation damage really is.
Block foundations can be very risk and dangerous if there is any inward bowing or deflection.
Most of the speculative investors are staying clear of the older structures here in Colorado because of the tremendous cost associated with proper restoration or replacement of compromised block foundations especially if they are in clay based soil.
I wish you the best!
Respectfully          Ed Eckley

Foundation Stabilization and Repair

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Ed Eckley

Expertise

I will be happy to answer any questions regarding foundation problems of any type. Questions pertaining to construction methods, Problematic soils, Settling & Movement, Frame torsion & racking, Preventative measures, Repair methods of all types.

Experience

Over 18 years in the industry. A.S.M.E. Certified,(American Society of Mechanical Engineering). Hydraulics Design Expert. 18 years of hands on soil manipulation. Over 500 homes repaired, and over 20 commercial buildings repaired. Extensive soil knowledge. Familiar with most types of repair methods and the expected results of each.

Publications
Ezine.com Article Title: Foundation Problems Do's & Don'ts custombuildingsupport.com: Foundation Repair Methods

Education/Credentials
High School Graduate 1976 Trade School Graduate 1976 College Graduate 1978

Awards and Honors
Certificates of achievment: Excel Industries Letters of appreciation: City of Golden Awards & Plaques: Jacobsen Turf Division

Past/Present Clients
Available on request

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