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The Inspector's Journal

No footer / french drain


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"In the basement, a perimeter drainage system has been installed around the foundation wall to control water penetration. On a home this age, there is typically no supporting footer under the foundation wall. Installing a perimeter drain can potentially undermine the foundation walls and cause substantial movement / displacement. Have a reputable foundation contractor or structural engineer evaluate and provide repair options to prevent any potential damage. "

Katenize me please!

thanks in advance

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"In the basement, a perimeter drainage system has been installed around the foundation wall to control water penetration. On a home this age, there is typically no supporting footer under the foundation wall. Installing a perimeter drain can potentially undermine the foundation walls and cause substantial movement / displacement. Have a reputable foundation contractor or structural engineer evaluate and provide repair options to prevent any potential damage. "

Katenize me please!

thanks in advance

Poorly worded. Footer or no footer, perimeter drainage may or may not undermine the foundation depending on how deep it's installed relative to the bottom of the foundation.

I'd treat the footer issue separately, depending.

I'd offer a suggested write-up but there isn't enough info.

Marc

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Too general for such a major issue.

If that was in my report, I would question where you got the x-ray vision to see a missing footer.

We think the basement drain system you say was installed must be interior and visible, but you do not say so.

It may sometimes cause a problem? I need to know if it IS a problem.

" A perimeter drain system has been installed in the basement. From the location of the drainage ditch adjacent to the basement wall, I suspect there might not be a footer under the foundation wall."

Could the drains be laid on top of the footers? No sign of uneven settlement? Not a problem after all? I'd be choked if you were wrong about that.

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Jason's got a very valid concern. It's very common in PA & NJ for "waterproofing" contractors to install their perimeter collection systems that suck the earth out from under these footingless foundations. If it's in southern NJ, it's mostly sand that ends up in major foundation failures in months, not years.

I have 30 years of expert witness work thanks to these contractors. Most resulted in complete foundation replacement.

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It is a valid concern, but you seem to jump to the conclusion that it is a problem. Depending upon the soil type and depth of the foundation wall, it may not be a problem. I have seen stone foundation walls extend quite a bit below the basement floor slab.

Recommending further evaluation is proper in this case. As a structural engineer, I have concerns recommending a foundation contractor. Companies that repair foundations for a living may recommend a solution that is not needed.

Personally, I think footing is more professional. Footer is a slang term.

For those not familiar with stone foundations, it is common that they do not have a true footing. Recommended practice was to place large stones on the ground as a type of footing. They may or may not have been wider than the width of the foundation walls. Where I have seen the bottom of the foundation walls I don't recall seeing any that were significantly wider at the bottom.

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It is a valid concern, but you seem to jump to the conclusion that it is a problem. Depending upon the soil type and depth of the foundation wall, it may not be a problem. I have seen stone foundation walls extend quite a bit below the basement floor slab.

I have never, ever seen a stone foundation from that period extend more than an inch or two below a dirt floor or an added concrete floor. Not until quite late in the 19th century do they set the foundations deeper.

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Kurt,

House is from 1830. Field stone foundation. That's why I assume no footer was installed.

French drain installed around perimeter, couldn't tell how deep but the floor was removed and patched over about a foot wide.

Then pretty much what Kibbel said. Usually no footing, maybe a slight spread at the bottom and some rubble...maybe.

What you wrote is not bad, kinda boiler platey but not bad given the conditions.

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Basement perimeter drainage systems like this one can sometimes pull soil away from below the foundation walls and cause them to settle, crack, or tilt. Hire an engineer to determine whether or not this is likely to happen with this house. If it is, ask the engineer to design and oversee repairs.

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It is a valid concern, but you seem to jump to the conclusion that it is a problem. Depending upon the soil type and depth of the foundation wall, it may not be a problem. I have seen stone foundation walls extend quite a bit below the basement floor slab.

I have never, ever seen a stone foundation from that period extend more than an inch or two below a dirt floor or an added concrete floor. Not until quite late in the 19th century do they set the foundations deeper.

I think you are correct about the foundation not extending below the slab in a house of that age, but I still would not jump to that conclusion when writing a report.

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It is a valid concern, but you seem to jump to the conclusion that it is a problem. Depending upon the soil type and depth of the foundation wall, it may not be a problem. I have seen stone foundation walls extend quite a bit below the basement floor slab.

I have never, ever seen a stone foundation from that period extend more than an inch or two below a dirt floor or an added concrete floor. Not until quite late in the 19th century do they set the foundations deeper.

I think you are correct about the foundation not extending below the slab in a house of that age, but I still would not jump to that conclusion when writing a report.

I don't see them jumping to a conclusion, just expressing a concern.

Take Jim K's write-up: he left out the 'What is it' and just wrote up the 'What does it mean' and 'What to do about it'. No conclusion.

Marc

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