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Friday, March 27, 2009

Basement Retaining Wall Repair

Old homes are notorious for having basement and crawlspace problems. Most are related to water entry for various reasons. Our East Nashville fixer was no exception. It had a basement window on the side of the house where water was definitely getting in and eroding the basement walls, which were just dirt. From the picture you can see how bad it was around that window.

Basement & Crawlspace problems usually have a two-fold solution:
1) Stop the problem from getting worse
2) Repair the damage

If you do one without the other, you'll still have problems.

For our situation, the fix involved first diverting the water from the house by re-grading the outside and build up the window-well a little better. Then we could work inside to re-support the structure in the weakened area.

The grading was easy- I had my cement guy do that when he was regrading the backyard. For whatever reason, the yard was sloped toward this window. We added some bricks to make the window well a little taller and then graded the yard so the water would run away from the house. This seems obvious, but there are tons of houses out there with this exact problem!

My job was to handle the inside repairs. My plan was to build a block retaining wall to support a couple short jack stands. A short wall was already present so I would just extend it up. The new wall would then carry most of the weight since the outside wall was damaged.

I filled behind the wall with concrete all the way up to the foundation so that the dirt wall would be supported and the foundation wouldn't move anymore. Then, I replaced the window covering with new plywood and caulked it well. In the end, it looked much better and was quite dry the next time it rained.

Dry basements are a good thing.

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