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Question DetailsAsked on 2/7/2016

I want to fix the crumbling stonewall basement of my house that was built in 1810. It is about 1225 sqft.

The basement is already dug but the old walls need to be removed and replaced and I was thinking using IFC. the basement is four corner design with two stories above for a total living space of 1375 sqft not including the basement. I would like to also raise the house about 1 to 2 feet to add basement windows. The existing basement is 7 ft from dirt floor to ceiling and is already the length and with of the house.

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3 Answers

Voted Best Answer

Sounds like you need a General Contractor - probably one specializing in Foundation Repair or possibly a House Mover who also does new foundations as well.

Here are some prior Q&A's on replacing or deepening a foundation that might be of interest to you -

Yeah - doing a rebuild, that 7 foot dirt to ceiling height would probably not get you a building permit - most major rebuilds like that would require you to go to a 7 foot ceiling - finish floor to ceiling finished surface - and if replacing the entire foundation anyway would obviously be a good time to do that, as well as the daylight windowsd you want.

Bear in mind legal egress requirements - because without steps leading up to the windows they would not meet legal egress requirements.

IFC - personally, I do not like it - generally not as energy efficient as a normal wall with full-face coverage with insulation because it almost always has solid concrete ribs with no insulation, plus I have seen more than a fair share of failure of IFC walls because they are inherently much weaker than comparable thickness solid concrete or even code-compliant alternate cell filled reinforced block walls - so they crack readily under soil or water loads. They also tend to have problems with leakage because of cracking of the thin face along the edge of the foam core cells with some types, and also at form joints. Also, to meet strength requirements, they generally have to be about twice as thick as conventional walls - which means not only are you paying more for the foam core forms, but you are also losing usable interior space at the same time at added cost.

Also - bear in mind local building codes - some require a higher degree of fire ratings and fire-cuaulked electrical boxes and such because of the fire hazard of the foam core being at the interior wall face, whereas sheet insulation on a conventional foundation is all outdoors.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


I guess I did not really state the question. How much cost am I looking at with a general contractor or a housemover?

Answered 4 years ago by mirebuild


One thing on the ICF - with my prior comments I was thinking the ones that look like oversize foam building blocks or legos that the concrete fills the voids in, The ones where the foam is basically just used as the exterior forms and the space between them is totally filled with solid concrete panel are basically not much different than a wall built as a concrete footing and wall and then is foam board insulated afterwards.

Couple things on the foam foundation also - in addition to generally needing an interior fire rated surfacing, you need to be careful on the interior finishes - normal drywall tends to mold so you need an airgap firred out behind it (with result loss of R value for that part of wall) or need to use a mold-proof concrete backer board or waterproof cementatious interior finish to minimize the risk of mold - and of course you can't see any leakage or condensation like you can with exposed concrete wall. Also, most sprayed waterproofing materials cannot be applied directly to the foam insulation forming, so you typically get into a less effective or more expensive exterior waterproofing situation.

As for cost - aside from the fact your 1225SF does not seem to match up to 1375SF of 2-story living space above, which would imply maybe a 25x28 or so footprint totalling maybe something like 650-700 SF of basement - unless it happens that you also have basement under a garage not counted as living space. Or maybe the upstairs pace includes a tuck-under garage which you are not counting in the 1375SF ?

Cost depends a LOT on soils digging conditions if depending the foundation/basement, waterproofing or subdrainage needed, and final foundation configuration - but a VERY rough ballpark of $30-50,000 will commonly fill the bill for that normal size house (assuming the 1225SF is right) depending on scope and local costs - giving you an unfinished basement. Finishing it out additional cost by a general contractor of probably about $20-40/SF depending on whether bare-bones or ordinary finishes - of course, for fancy mancave basement finishing can run up to $100/SF range plus. Obviously, for your specific case uyou would have to get a preliminary cost estimate from your A/E, and until you get several bids from contractors you will not know for sure, because this sort of job tends to attract widely priced bids - some overoptomistic or from inexperienced contractors who are biting off more than they should, some in qualified competitive range, and some way overpriced or from contractors who should not be bidding it so they pad the bid to be on the safe side. A factor of 3-5 between low and high bid is not unusual, and many contractors will pass on the bid, so you may well have to ask for bids from about 10 possible contractors to get 2-3 responsive, reasonable bids.

One thing to discuss with your architect (and I would recommend a combined architect/civil engineering form for this type job as you will need structural and foundation engineering as well as architect likely) - as you will almost certainly need plans and specs to get a building permit and also as a scope of work for the bidders and selected contractor to build to, is whether raising the house or deepening the basement is the better or more economic solution. Raising house means a bit more utility entry relocation work and ramping up to the garage and new steps up to doors and such, but can be of distinct advantage in high surface or groundwater areas. Deepening basement as part of the new foundation work (especially if there is no slab down there now) might be a bit cheaper because the house does not have to be jacked up (and also reduces the chance of damage to the house during jacking) - but of course probably only gives you daylight windows if you use window wells. Something to consider though.

Another thing to consider if it does not have it now - constructing an egress door direct from basement, especially if water heater/furnace are down there and most especially if you have an oil tank down there - and making the door opening large enough to move any type of appliance (or the oil tank) in and out when needed. I generally recommend minimum 44-48 inch door for basements to account for moving in stuff like oversize furniture, large combined service hot water tank, fuel tank, pool table, etc which you might not have or think of now.

One more consideration, possibly - if the foundation replacement is strictly due to deterioration of it, there is a possibility that a more economic solution than replacing the foundation entirely is converting it into a filled wall - they build a concrete facing wall on both sides, tied together with reinforcing, so the existing stone foundation in encapsulated in the interior of the concrete wall. If water leakage is not an issue, facing the inside for stability and then replacing it structurally with drilled pier anchors or pin piles to hold the house up is also an option - either of these might be cheaper, depending on your case - though generally you would lose 3-4 inches of interior space in the basement along each wall to the new concrete. Eliminates removing the old wall entirely, and also eliminates most or all the jacking up of the house - also does not generally require cutting your water and sewer pipes like jacking the house up does, so less interruption there. Plus normally you cannot reside in a jacked-up house, so skipping the jacking up eliminates the temporary living expense and invonvenience of living out of a hotel room for typically several weeks minimum - and months at times if there are any delays.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


You are correct on a second examination the property is closer to 25 x 30 or about 700 sq ft. The back wall of the basement has been constucted more recently out of cinder block. There is no slab that I can find and no one has responded to a bid yet so I am expanding my contractor search to surrounding cities which I know will increase the cost for travel. It is a four courner design and has inside and outside access already and the house sits on a neatly sloped lot running water away from the home. The plan is to raise the house, replace existing walls in basement (for utility purposes only so no finish work), then to remodel from the roof down. The basement is so old that it still has the original coal shoot. The boiler and water heater are on the main floor at this time and so is the laundery room. If I can find a contractor with reasonable cost to do the concrete work on the basement and raise the house for the windows. I am able to do the rest, including metal roof, drywall, electrical, and utilities. This is a very fustrating project for a college student that already has a degree in aviation electronics and years of experience in wet utility contracting. Thank you for you advice and pointers. I will keep the removed river stone that now makes up the basement walls for property improvements and the soil that is left over so there will be no hall away costs, the rock is very colorful.

Source: q

Answered 4 years ago by mirebuild

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