Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Foundation work

You can't sit on the side of a hill in Missouri for 25 years without having some issues. We've long had some cracks on the uphill wall of our garage and basement, and every once in a while get a little water through there. The big problem, though, is that the wall is leaning. At one end of the house, where there's a concrete wall, it's nice and plumb, but it leans more the closer you get to the end with garage doors, where it's almost 2 inches out of plumb.

We got a quote last summer, but the economy tanked, as did the housing market, so we decided to wait. Over the next year, we saw about 1/4 inch of movement in the wall, so we decided that waiting wasn't an option anymore.We got a few more estimates, one of which was from a guy who said that he did the drainage work that had been working so poorly.  According to him, the previous owner insisted on doing it that way even when he (the foundation guy) told him that it wouldn't work.  Fast forward many years, and we didn't hire that guy because I've only seen one example of his work, and it sucks horribly.  There's an argument for turning down work, huh?

They started work on Monday, and this is what they're doing:

1. Cut holes in the back wall every five feet for wall anchors:

2.  Dig out a few feet from the entire back wall of the house:
You can see a cross-section of the dirt here, and it really drives home the fact that our hill is just a giant wad of clay with a thin skin of dirt on it.  You can also see how shallow the french drain was set.

3. Attach these helical anchors to the end of 2-inch steel bar stock:
and drive them into the soil:

4.  Attach plates on the inside of the wall:

5.  Pull the wall back to plumb.

6.  Put a waterproof membrane on on the outside of the basement wall.

7.  Lay down new drain tile, gravel, and felt.

8.  Put the dirt back and resculpt the yard to improve the drainage.

I don't have any pics of the yard, yet, but it's been two weeks, and this weekend I need to mow the grass.