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Question DetailsAsked on 6/21/2013

What type of service provider does one use for repairing crumbling basement walls? And how much might such a repair cost?

The crumbling is occuring only where basement walls are below the outside earth surface. The house is on a slope, such that only the front basement wall, and portions of the side walls are under ground. There is clearly moisture entering the basement from these areas. House was constructed in 1920's, so more of a masonry wall, not cinder block.

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Sounds like could be what used to be called masonry brick or clinker brick, or actual cut stone. Either way, if the actual brick or stone is crumbling (flaking, getting soft, or ravelling off significantly as grains of grit), then you probably need a new wall. If only the mortar is crumbling and is soft enough you can dig it out easily with a screwdriver, then maybe salvageable, but probably not. If the stone/brick is sound and the surface of the grout is crumbly but you cann not dig dep into it, perhaps salvageable without rebuilding the wall - repointing on both sides and membrane placement on the outside of the house amy do the job for about 1/4-1/3 the cost.

For a total foundation wall rebuild, assuming you are talking a normal size house, a complete rebuild of the foundation is VERY pricey - $20,000 minimum assuming you are talking full or daylight basement (basement walls about 4 or more feet high) on 3 or 4 sides), usually more like $40,000 because the house has to be either jacked up on steel beams while the foundation is removed and replaced, or the wall has to be rebuilt in very short segments while that area is temporarily supported - either way, VERY labor intensive.

The external water coming through is very likely a major if not the primary contributor to the problem, and whatever repair or replacement is done, external waterproofing like bituthene or a waterproof membrane liner needs to be applied on the outside to prevent future water penetration.

Because of the potential $ involved, I would advise contacting a civil engineer specializing in foundations and water infiltration to buildings. For about $200-300 he can give you a rough idea of how serious the issue is, and then you can proceed from there if you want, with him designing a fix and preparing plans and specifications and construction estimate (including advising on the cheapest way to do it), and help identify contractors and assist with the bid process, as well as handle inspections at critical points in the process. His total cost will likely be 10-15% of the project cost, but his input and experience may save you 50-100% over going ahead with a contractor without professional design assistance, plus on resale of the house you will be able to show it was a professional rather than knock-together repair.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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