Friday, November 09, 2012

Basement Work

The one real problem with the house when we moved in was that the basement had two cracks on the west wall (front of the house) and the wall had shifted.  This was a result of many things.  Our house was built in 1941, and all the houses in this subdivision were built before the end of WWII, and over time water moving downhill against the wall was pushing it out of place.  Speeding the process along however, was a city back hoe.  When doing some work on the sewer line that runs out across the front yard, they bumped the house pretty good.  However, considering the shape of the rest of the house, and the above and beyond work that had been done in other areas, we felt like it was still a great house.
Last Friday, they started work to repair the wall.  The original plan was to excavate to the bottom of the basement and remove the front steps in order to completely waterproof the outside of the wall.  Then to push the wall back into place from the inside, and place some I-beams for additional support.  One plus to this plan was new steps.  The old steps weren't actually level, and whoever put them in left almost an 11 inch step up from the porch into the house.  Ruth had to really climb to get in, and I kept tripping on the step.
Friday and Monday they dug up the front, placed the waterproofing rubber mat along the wall, and took out most of the steps.  I say most, because it turned out that whoever poured the steps years ago, didn't just put it on a footer, but they poured the steps almost to the entire depth of the basement.  That's right, solid concrete with rebar for steps that was something like 12 ft deep.  Crazy!
They couldn't pull the steps all out, which meant that they couldn't push the wall in the basement all the way back into place, but they did get alot of it pushed back, before opening the foundation on Tuesday and placing all the I-beams on Wednesday.  Yesterday they placed drainage hosing (they call it tile up here) to divert water around the house, gravel on top of that for better drainage, and then filled the dirt back in.  They had some extra dirt, so they smoothed out the dip in the middle of the yard for me, instead of hauling it all off.

Finally they repoured the steps, which the kids found fascinating.  Britt kept saying "That dozer (bulldozer) is amazing!"  He drove his little bulldozer around moving "dirt" and "concrete" next to the front door, until he fell asleep watching them.  This morning, after letting everything dry over night, they came back and placed the columns back on the porch to hold up the roof.

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