Rebuild a Brick Foundation
LESLIE: Tim in Illinois needs some help with a foundation issue. What’s happening?
TIM: Well, we had 10 or 12 inches of rain not too long ago and I had an old brick foundation that caved in. And I want to go back in and replace it with cement block and I was wondering if you guys have ever heard of surface-bonded concrete where you dry-stack the blocks and then you put on this fiber-reinforced mortar mix on the sides.
TOM: Yeah, I have heard of that but why do that for a repair like this? Why not just do something very traditional, very standard and very solid? I mean that’s the kind of thing that you typically don’t see as a repair. That’s just a foundation system that usually, when you’re doing the entire foundation from scratch, you could do that. I’d much prefer to see you just kind of rebuild what you had.
TIM: Well, it was brick before, not cement block, and we were having to take out the entire wall.
TIM: So it’s going to be the entire wall that’s taken out.
TOM: So why not just put cement block back and put it up in the typical fashion where you mortar each block in place?
TIM: Well, one of the things I read about in the literature at the website was that it’s also very good for waterproofing and one part of the foundation they had done with block and mortar, it leaked.
TOM: That may be one of the touted benefits of the product but that’s not the solution to a water problem in a basement. If you have a water problem in the basement – by the way, did that water problem lead to the collapse of this wall?
TIM: It’s a separate wall. I think gutters being full actually I think is what the problem was.
TOM: Yeah. Well see, managing the water is really the issue. You want to make sure that your gutters stay clean and that your downspouts are extended well away from the house like four to six feet and you want to make sure that the soil slopes away. Those three things will protect the foundation from leakage, so you don’t need to install a system of special types of block to keep the water out. Because guess what? That block wall could be waterproofed and the water will still find a way around it or under it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It will just go to the spot right next to it.
TIM: OK. Thank you very much.
TOM: You’re welcome. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.