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Different Types of Foundations Part 2

types of foundations kansas city

Live from the KC Property Guys and KC Pier studio in beautiful Kansas City, home to over 200 fountains and more barbecue restaurants per capita than anywhere in the nation. It’s the Kansas City Real Estate Industry Leaders Show, a show about industry leaders from the local Kansas City metro market for Kansas City real estate related professionals and enthusiasts like you. And now, here’s your host, Eric and Lucas Scheele.

Block Foundations

Speaker 2:
Now we’ve got to go to block foundations because not everybody has the poured foundations. So if we go back into the ’70s and early ’80s, ’60s homes, we’re seeing a lot of block foundations. It was affordable at the time. It was a foundation of choice, and obviously, it doesn’t have the structural integrity that today’s poured foundations have, and so we see a lot of issues with them. Do the fixes change at all? I mean, can you do all the same repairs on a block foundations as you can a poured?

Speaker 3:
You can do all the same except for injections.

Speaker 2:
Makes sense.

Speaker 3:
You can’t inject the blocks because they’re hollow. And if you go to inject it, you’re going to put so much material on there it’s going to blow the blocks out.

Crack Injection

Speaker 2:
Right. And we didn’t really talk about the crack injection because it’s so common for us. But we really should’ve dove into that a little bit more because that’s a foam injection.

Speaker 3:
Yes. Well, it’s two different injections, depending on what you have. Depending on how big the crack is, us, as a company will go in and we’ll actually drill holes into the crack to make sure the material gets in the middle and it’s doing what it’s supposed to.

Speaker 2:
Right.

Speaker 3:
The main thing we use is a polyurethane injection because once you shoot it, it expands and it chases the crack, and it makes sure it’s fully secure.

Speaker 2:
Right.

Speaker 3:
As it goes through the crack, it actually makes a barrier on the exterior because it’s using the soil as an epoxy cover, as it will. So as it shoots in and expands, it pushes the soil away and makes that barrier on the exterior and follows the crack up as we’re injecting it from the interior.

Speaker 2:
So if you think about that, that’s a great point because a lot of times, we go into basements and we’ll see the DIY fix, which is the caulk injection. You take caulk, you slap it on the top, and you walk away. And you hope it’s good. And sure enough, within a couple rains, it’s probably leaking again. And what that injection does, that actually travels through the crack and gets to the other side, so we’re actually addressing the water where it’s penetrating from, which is the exterior of the home. And because we take the time to drill it out, we just allow that composite to operate that much more efficiently to ultimately seal that crack.

Speaker 3:
Yes.

Speaker 2:
Now what you’re saying when it comes to block is you can’t do that with block because the blocks are hollow.

Speaker 3:
Correct.

Speaker 2:
And so you’re just going to inject, inject, inject material.

Speaker 3:
We’re just going to fill all the blocks up.

Alternative Fixes

Speaker 2:
Yeah, so it’s not. So what are the alternatives? Other than everything else is available, all those other fixes, the interior drains, the exterior dig out. And bracing is available.

Speaker 3:
Correct.

Speaker 2:
Right?

Speaker 3:
Usually with bracing on block, what we do as a company is we bring the braces in closer because the blocks are individual. So you bring them in closer, so it supports more evenly down the wall and you’re not point loading where each I beam brace sets.

Speaker 2:
At one time, we used to see, and you don’t see this very often anymore, but we get into some older homes, and you’ll see these things spaced out sometimes 10 foot apart.

Speaker 3:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
And you’ve got 10 feet between braces, that’s a lot of block that’s still trying to withstand the pressures of the exterior soils, and it just doesn’t work.

Speaker 3:
No, not at all.

Speaker 2:
We bring ours in on block all the way down too.

Speaker 3:
I bring them to, honestly, depending on how bad the block is, I’ll bring it as close as three foot.

Speaker 2:
Okay. Yeah. And it’s only for good reason. Right?

Speaker 3:
Yes.

Speaker 2:
So between three and six foot’s common?

Speaker 3:
Yes.

Speaker 2:
Four to six foot are really common.

Speaker 3:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
But depending on the severity, sometimes it goes down to even three.

Speaker 3:
Yes. And it really all depends on the condition of the house and the foundation.

Speaker 2:
A poured foundation is poured in forms. And these forms run the height of the wall.

Speaker 3:
Yes.

Speaker 2:
Right? And they’re basically stacked and sealed together. But on a block, you’re talking just a-

Speaker 3:
You’re talking an eight by eight block.

Speaker 2:
Yes, that’s it. Each of them almost acting independently to withstand that soil, and so you get a lot of independent movement in block. And that’s why those soils can wreak havoc on some of those types of foundations.

Speaker 3:
Correct.

Rock Foundations

Speaker 2:
Okay. That’s blocks. Now we take it all the way down to … Let’s back up to the ’50s. Let’s go to the ’40s. Let’s go to the old turn of the century homes that are all rock. Now you don’t even eight by eight. Sometimes you have eight by eight. But you can have as much as three by eights, or three by sixes, as you insert all those independent rocks. So how are those changes? How do we address rock foundations versus the other two?

Speaker 3:
Well, with the rock, the rock don’t have a footing. Typically, your stone foundations are 16 to 18 inches wide, and that’s the entire foundation. And back then, they did a really good job of building them.

Speaker 2:
Right.

Water Intrusion

Speaker 3:
Well, it’s very rare we have to go in and there’s an issue with them. But the biggest issue isn’t the settlement, it’s the water intrusion because the mortar over time starts to deteriorate with everything outside and causes new paths in. Well, with it being rock and being so uneven down it, the one thing that we’ve found that’s been very effective and has worked is we put in a four inch drain. After we break out 10 inches, we’ll dig down about 10 inches. And then we’ll make that positive trench over to a pump. We’ll put in a four inch drain and gravel all the way through. And what that does is that catches all the water that’s coming from under the slab and underneath the foundation. And then on top, we put a two inch pole drain that goes all the way across. And what that allows is it’s an open drain, but it has holes at the bottom to allow all the water to go into that positive trench and run over to the pump. Reason for that is so we catch all the water, no matter what rock it’s coming off of, what piece of mortar.

Speaker 2:
Two drains sitting on top of each other.

Speaker 3:
Absolutely.

Speaker 2:
Yep. Perfect. Positively graded down to the sump pump.

Speaker 3:
Yep.

Speaker 2:
We just did this. In fact, I was there yesterday. We did a turn of the century church in Kansas City, Missouri, and massive building.

Speaker 3:
Yes, it is. Yes, it is.

Speaker 2:
A massive building, a lot of structural weight on top of that original rock foundation. And it’s also a common use area. It’s used as a food pantry in the basement. And so we had the issue of dealing with A, the water, because the water was significant that was getting in there. And you double stacked your drain. You left the perforated tube on top. And more importantly, because it was common use area, you also kept a level on there for a specific reason. Correct?

Speaker 3:
Correct. So the main reason for that is so you don’t trip.

Speaker 2:
Right.

Speaker 3:
When you’re walking through, there’s no level-

Speaker 2:
Sometimes you’ll see gutters.

Speaker 3:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
We’ll see gutter solutions out there. Right?

Speaker 3:
Yeah.

Sump Pumps

Speaker 2:
And they’re doing it to capture the water and take it to the sump pump.

Speaker 3:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
But if you’re doing that and you’re around elderly people or people that aren’t paying attention, you’ve got this 10 inch-

Speaker 3:
And it’s used every day.

Speaker 2:
Trip hazard sitting outside the wall. You come down the stairs and you could turn an ankle.

Speaker 3:
Yeah, very quickly, very quickly.

Speaker 2:
So it was a great design idea with the stack and perforated tube. It sits level. You’ve got to keep it clean. Right?

Speaker 3:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
But as long as you keep it clean, it’ll capture that water that’s coming on top of the rock between the rock and the drain, and so it drains it into the sump pump, ultimately getting the water out.

Speaker 1:
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Speaker 2:
Great, great system.

Speaker 3:
It worked great. It looked great. And I mean, just for that church itself, the rock was in great shape.

Speaker 2:
Right.

Speaker 3:
It was in great shape, just water found its way through finally and started pooling up.

Speaker 2:
That’s right.

Speaker 3:
So that’s the easiest and best solution to take care of the issues.

Speaker 2:
You guys did a really good job. And we went through three doorways, and one was actually a supporting wall that was 16 inches wide. I mean, it was a good project. You guys did a really good job with it. Braces, no braces, in rock foundations?

Speaker 3:
You can.

Speaker 2:
Yeah. Those are a lot of work in theory.

Speaker 3:
It takes a little more technique. If you do it, you want to be a lot closer together. You don’t want it no more than four foot apart. But to a certain extent, once it starts moving, it’s almost time to replace it.

Speaker 2:
Some people can relate to this because you’re right, because what you’ll see in a lot of those foundations where the rock wall is actually moving in through beyond tolerance is they’ll build a block wall in front of it. They’ll build that second wall in front of it. And sometimes that one starts to move as well. Right?

Speaker 3:
Yeah.

Speaker 2:
And so we’ve got to sometimes get a little creative, so it is very, very tough for braces on the rock wall. All right. So those that don’t necessarily have full basements, now we’ve got to go to crawl space and even slabs. We can talk about both at the same time. Specifically when it comes to water, what types of … And even structural integrity, we can talk about both. But what are the common fixes that are related to both block and even poured crawl space, as well as slab?

Speaker 3:
Well, the good thing about crawl space is you can do everything that we discussed for full basements, we can do it in crawl spaces. We just don’t have an eight foot section to deal with. But the positive thing is nine times out of 10, we don’t have the floor to deal with either.

Speaker 2:
Right.

Speaker 3:
It’s all dirt, so you can go in, and you put a pump in the lowest point to catch all the water. You disperse it out. You can brace it. You can put, typically, you like braces because braces are maintenance free. They’re done. You don’t have to deal with it. You can do crack injections on poured as well. You can do the interior drains with the wall sheeting. You can do it all.

Speaker 2:
You can do it all, just in a shorter.

Speaker 3:
You can do the exact same thing.

Speaker 2:
It’s a shorter wall.

Speaker 3:
Yeah. The only difference is usually by the time you catch a crawl space, it’s a little too far out of tolerance to hold because no one goes in crawl spaces.

Speaker 2:
That’s right, so you don’t notice it.

Speaker 3:
Correct. So by the time it gets there, it might be a little more intensive to take care of it.

Speaker 2:
Right, right.

Speaker 3:
But you can do the exact same things.

Earth Anchors

Speaker 2:
Perfect. All right. Well, that’s a great, great summary. Now some people actually have talked about this too, is earth anchors. Earth anchors are that could be used on these walls to help support as well, crawl space and fully poured basements.

Speaker 3:
Correct.

Speaker 2:
We tend to … Some people use earth anchors in replacement of braces. And sometimes we use them, but those are plates that are planted out in the yard that are essentially tied to another plate inside the wall, and then are tightened to help kind of support that wall. In a sense, it’s doing the same thing those braces are. But what are the difference? And why do we prefer braces over earth anchors? But at the same time, why do we use earth anchors at times versus braces?

Speaker 3:
Yeah. I mean, just like everything you have, there’s a time and place to use everything. The walls you use braces on, you can use anchors on. Us, as a company personally, we prefer I beam braces because they support the entire wall from the floor all the way up to the joists. The second reason is they’re maintenance free. Once they’re in-

Speaker 2:
They’re done.

Speaker 3:
The homeowner don’t have to deal with it anymore. Option three is you can finish your basement. You don’t have to leave access points to tighten the anchors.

Speaker 2:
Right. And that’s the point that you’re getting at, is that earth anchor is tied to a bolt.

Speaker 3:
Correct.

Speaker 2:
Right? That ultimately has to be adjusted seasonally to withstand a lot of warranties. And you’ll see that in the warranty. And so we want to take that power out of the homeowner. Plus, the earth anchor is addressing whatever the size of the plate is, 12 by 12, three by three, three, 12 by 36, whatever it may be.

Speaker 3:
It’s basically point loading-

Speaker 2:
It is point loading.

Speaker 3:
Certain areas of foundations.

Speaker 2:
Versus the brace is running the complete height of the wall.

Speaker 3:
Correct. You’re getting it from the floor up, so you’re getting the seven foot, eight foot beams that are holding the entire wall, helping it support from the top to the bottom, not just the actual middle where the plate is.

Speaker 2:
Right. So no adjustment, once the braces are in, it’s done. You can warranty those and stand behind them. You don’t have to worry about it from a maintenance perspective as a homeowner to go back and actually adjust those earth anchors.

Speaker 3:
Correct. Now anchors come into play when you’re adjusting retaining walls. If you have to do a retaining wall, you can’t use I beams because there’s nothing to tie them into. So you have to use earth anchors to drill them out and put them 12, 15 feet out in the yard to hold the pressure. Earth anchors are also used for walkouts. What it is, how a beam works is a beam uses the foundation and the joist, and it uses the opposite side of your house to help support the front side, or the back side, or whatever side you’re holding. That’s what it’s using to counter weight to hold the house. So if your back wall is coming in, let’s say, and you have a walkout on the front, you can’t use braces because there’s nothing to support it on the opposite side. So that’s where the earth anchors come in and play at.

Speaker 2:
Okay. All right, so time and place.

Speaker 3:
Correct.

Braces

Speaker 2:
But we prefer, if we have the choice, to actually work through braces.

Speaker 3:
Correct. I absolutely prefer braces over everything.

Speaker 2:
We also don’t like drilling through and compromising foundations wall that’s already been compromised.

Speaker 3:
I don’t like making the wall worse. I don’t like drilling in and making the wall that’s already bad worse.

Speaker 2:
We like to keep the wall, as much of the wall in place as we can, so those are some common choices.

Speaker 3:
Correct.

Speaker 2:
Appreciate it. Thanks for coming in.

Speaker 3:
No problem.

KC Pier App

Speaker 2:
That’s a great summary, specifically for, and we can go on and on about different seasonal adjustments, but that’s a good summary of different foundations walls that you guys might have according to your house, and specifically catering towards what happens to be a real common issue, especially in the last year and a half, there’s a lot of water in the Midwest and Kansas City. So great overview. We’re going to have you back in here in a couple weeks, and we’ll dive into some of those same things, but just go in a little bit deeper. If you guys ever have any questions, you can always send them over to kcpier.com, or contact us at kcpier.com. We also have an app, a KC Pier app. You can download it on iTunes and Google Play. And it’s a great app where you just take some pictures and send us some comments. It goes straight to Brian, or Eric, or one of our structural consultants. They get back to you the same day. Great for realtors, investors, even homeowners. We recommend it to everybody.

Speaker 3:
Absolutely. And the more pictures, the better.

Speaker 2:
Absolutely. Details are the better. And if we have to come out, of course, we’re going to come out. But we may be able to at least give you some quick advice off that as well.

Speaker 3:
Yep.

Speaker 2:
Appreciate you coming in. And thank you, guys, for joining us to discuess different types of foundations. We will see you next time. Take care.

Speaker 1:
Thanks for joining us this week on the Kansas City Real Estate Industry Leaders Show. Please support all things local to Kansas City. And hey, be sure to subscribe and share our podcast on Facebook and LinkedIn. This has been a KC Property Guys production, kcpropertyguys.com.

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