Repairing a stone foundation is probably the most difficult and costly when comparing it to a poured concrete foundation or concrete block foundation. This type of foundation was built in a time when building codes were non-existent so when compared to todays’ standards there are a few things that were left out.
Stone Foundation Repair Myth Debunked
If you have a leaking stone foundation perhaps you’ve talked with a contractor you know looking for advice, or maybe with a friend who knows a thing or two about houses. There are many people out there who will say that you shouldn’t repair a stone foundation from the exterior side (as it could lead to a costly repair) and you should stick with an interior fix. Although the costly part is correct, fixing it from the inside could actually cost you more down the road if the foundation is already in poor shape.
Let’s look at the following scenario: You get a few quotes to repair the foundation from the interior side using an Interior Drainage System (often called interior waterproofing.) If you don’t have a lot of leakage and there isn’t a mound of sand sitting on the basement floor in front of the foundation this method would likely be ok to install. But if you have large gaps in between the stones and water is leaking in pretty heavy you would be doing yourself an injustice to repair it internally.
Why you ask? Well it’s like this…If a stone foundation is missing a lot of its mortar, water is coming through it like a small river how much longer do you think it will stay together before the stones fall onto the floor? If someone talks you into installing an interior system with the foundation in this condition you will spend “X amount” of dollars. Down the road a few years after the foundation gets to a point where it falls onto the basement floor you now need to spend “Y amount” of dollars to properly repair it and at an inflated cost now that the damage is worse (and don’t forget you’ve already spent “X amount” of dollars previously)
By deciding to take the path of exterior foundation repair we can control the project from start to finish and most times without any major surprises. Sure you’ll have to spend more to get it repaired but in the end it will be done safely and in the right manner leaving you with a solid, leak free foundation.
How Are Stone Foundations Different Than Others?
For starters you will find that when a stone foundation is excavated there are typically no footings to be found. Many of these foundations are 20 inches thick or more so back in the day that was considered “good enough” of a footprint to spread the load out onto the soil bearing the houses’ weight.
Secondly we find that this type of foundation does not have a weeping tile system installed around it. This is one of the reasons we say that repairing stone foundations is more costly than others. Replacing a weeping tile system that is already present is fairly simple, installing a new one requires a lot more work and the addition of a sump pump system.
Thirdly we find that the majority of stone foundations we excavate have missing mortar around the stones, and in extreme cases there is so much missing that the stones fall out of the wall posing a larger issue. This also results in excessive costs as we need to repack new mortar into the joints in order to rebuild the integrity of the foundation OR in extreme cases pour a concrete wall in front of the bad area.
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