Serving Mid, Western and Northern Michigan,
Kalamazoo, Lansing, Grand Rapids, Traverse City
Monday, November 26th, 2018 by Amanda Waldmann
With many foundation issues, the basic solutions seem obvious enough. If a slab is sinking, you raise it. If a wall is leaning, you straighten it. If there are cracks, you fill them. Bam. Done.
But what happens when you have walls you can’t straighten, like the stone walls present in so many Michigan basements? You can’t really throw braces or anchors on them, and so you sit and watch the mortar literally crumble. It can be scary when there’s no obvious solution.
Many people think they have two basic options when their foundation starts crumbling: Pour a new foundation, or move. But there’s a third option, and it’s called Shotcrete. Let’s dig into each.
Pouring a whole new foundation is an undertaking. At the end of the day, you have smooth new walls and the peace of mind that your foundation isn’t falling apart while you sleep, but there are some harsh realities to such a large project.
First, the whole house will have to be lifted in order to pour the foundation. Some will recommend a full lift and some will do it by jacking up one section of the house at a time. This means that you either have to move out for the duration of the project, or not access whichever part of the home is lifted at each stage. Not only is this inconvenient, but it can be expensive.
Second, in addition to alternate living expenses, lifting your whole house is incredibly costly. It doesn’t take much to get into a six figure cost for a lift and new foundation pour.
Third...it can be dangerous to your home. All of that wood and drywall being forcibly lifted into the air can cause tons of damage. And that doesn’t mean you hired a bad contractor, it’s just what can happen when you lift an entire house.
So after reading the above, maybe you’re filled with the urge to flee. This is understandable. But buying a new home is also expensive, not to mention dealing with trying to sell a home with a crumbling foundation. Also, packing? It’s the worst. I don’t think we need to say much more.
And then there’s Shotcrete. I’ve described it on the blog before as “concrete through a fire hose” and that’s really the best way to describe it. With Shotcrete, we first build a new framework (which essentially looks like steel chicken wire) onto your existing walls. We then use a high powered hydraulic system to apply concrete to the framework, smoothing as we go. After a couple of days of curing, you’re done. The new walls are simply built in place and can support the weight of your home where the old walls fail. All you lose is a few inches of space on each side.
With Shotcrete, you don’t have to lift up your home, risking damage and great expense. You don’t have to abandon your home and join the circus, either. All you have to do is have one of our lovely and hardworking installation crews in your home for a few days. And maybe deal with a little noise on concrete application day, if you’re home.
Shotcrete is the safest and most cost efficient and effective solution to crumbling foundation walls. If your foundation needs help, or you want to learn more, call our appointment center today to set up your free inspection and estimate.