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Question DetailsAsked on 1/18/2015

What to do about a basement we found in a new house purchase that was filled with water to the top step?

We drained water out & noticed the previous owners filled it almost completely with sand under most of the house. There is at least 1 major whole in outer wall & we want to fix if possible or know how to close it if not possible to fix.

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1 Answer


OK - I am confused - did you not do a final inspection on the day of closing, or afternoon before, and see this - you could have stopped the sale, unless you had already seen this and did not require it be fixed before buying - though unless I were looking it as a speculative fixer-upper this would have been a walk-away case to me.

If for some reason this was a sight - unseen purchase situation and the owner failed to disclose this problem on the property disclosure form (if required in your area), you might have legal recourse. However, unless this bathtubbing/filling was done between your initial home viewing/inspection and closing, you would be hard pressed to make a claim, because it is a pretty obvious flaw. Even then, sinceit would have been obvious in a casual walk-through before closing, your legal case would be pretty darn weak.

You probably need a foundation/geotechnical engineer to evaluate the situation - not an AL category, but most work for Civil Engineering firms. Unfortunately, he is probably not going to be able to help you much, unless obviously a sand boil, without having the sand removed in layers and inspecting the foundation as it is pulled away to determine whether you are in a foundation failure condition or not.

They may have put the sand in to stop a failing foundation wall from caving in. It is also possible, if you are in sandy soil area, that the foundation was dug down to specified depth but the surrounding ground left intact, meaning inste4aad of a basement that might alll be (or mostly) crawlspace.

Depending on where you are located, there is also a possibility this is not sand they put in there - it could be a sand boil where high groundwater pressure combined with loose sand or silt confined under fine silt or clay flows in through whatever openings there is. Commonly happens along river floodplains and especially behind levee and dike systems, and is most particularly common in parts of the lower Missouri river basin, the lower Mississippi river area (roughly below about St. Louis and particularly below Memphis), lower Rio Grande and Arkansas rivers, and in areas of the Sacramento/San Joaquin river basins, but can occur sporadically in the flat-lying and delta areas of most rivers carrying fine-grained material at their outlet.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

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