Fixing a Foundation With Shotcrete

Our house has had foundation issues.

Some different "before" shots...

Some different “before” shots…

We knew about them since before we moved in.  We finally had them fixed in May.

Our house was built in 1906.  Typical of houses in this area, our house was built without a very deep foundation.  Somewhere along the way, someone came along and dug out a basement.  The basement digger left a shelf of dirt around the foundation and plastered it in.

Although it sounds like a tragedy waiting to happen, it worked well enough that the house has stood for 108 years.  It must be strong, right?  I guess, but I was scared.  I was scared a windstorm would blow the house to Oz or have the house collapse or it would take on a Charlie’s-house-from-the-Charlie-and-the-Chocolate-Factory-movie look.  Every month perhaps was pushing our luck.

The crumbling basement walls had become worse.  They were becoming worse and worse every day.  The chief reason for this worsening was probably just time, but I’m sure water was a factor, too.  I had a washing machine output pipe that I unsuccessfully tried to reroute to water trees.  That pipe had come apart where it comes out of the house and the water had gone into the basement.  It was a brief time but it was enough time to wreak some havoc.  There was also a pipe in the wall behind the bathtub that had corroded and leaked.  We didn’t know about this leak until some damage was done.   The time was just up for what should have been a temporary fix (the dirt walls covered by plaster) perhaps 75 years ago.  And really, if you think about how long it actually lasted, it lasted well.  It outlasted the basement digger.

It looks like the pressure tank never made it into the picture.

This is before…

We researched a few different ways to fix the foundation.

We had another foundation man come and look at it.  He had a different approach, an approach to put in wall anchors.  The problem was that there was not enough wall for that.

We decided on Shotcrete.  Shotcrete is pneumatically applied concrete.  The house should now stand for another 108 years.

I’ll explain a little bit about the Shotcrete process here.

The first step was to clean out the basement.  You may remember that that was an interesting process in and of itself.  As we were Kevin was cleaning out the basement, more and more dirt kept falling and falling.  It was almost impossible to keep up with.

And then last month, the foundation man, Joe Kodiak from Kodiak Concrete out of Colorado Springs came here with his crew.  They braced up the house.  They made forms.

The cement truck arrived.

Joe and his crew went to work on the actually shotcreting.

They even dug out one of our windows to give the house more support.

This shows some of the process that Kodiak Joe and his crew used to fix our basement.

This shows some of the process that Kodiak Joe and his crew used to fix our basement.

We had to stay out of the house while they were working because the dust from the shotcrete can be toxic.

Yes, our house was one of the worst ones that they’ve done, and this is their profession.

But, yes, the foundation is fixed!  Our house should stand another 108 years!  The result is a beautiful basement.  Perhaps it can be a man cave in the future or a whatever.

It wasn't really snowing.  I'm just not a good photographer.

It wasn’t really snowing. I’m just not a good photographer.

What a relief to know that the house will not be falling down anytime soon!

The water leak that was coming from the bathroom is fixed now, too.

The water leak that was coming from the bathroom is fixed now, too.

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