Héneault et Gosselin

Should I repair or rebuild my foundation?

8 October 2015

Should I repair or rebuild my foundation? That is the question… As each option is particularly expensive, such a decision is not to be made lightly. Let us help you figure it out.

Should I rebuild?

Most often, due to the bad quality of the concrete, we have to rebuild the foundation. A warning to the owners of houses built in the 1920s in Rosemont, Notre-Dame-De-Grâce and Saint-Lambert districts: the concrete poured in those days was of very poor quality.

Here are a few signs indicating that your concrete is of poor quality:

  • The concrete is crumbling, falling apart;
  • Concrete slabs are coming off and falling;
  • You can scratch the concrete and run a knife through it;
  • The humidity in your basement is abnormally high – there is efflorescence on the concrete, which is a white powder generated by mineral deposits in places of high humidity;
  • Slopes are forming in the floors – the joists, pieces of the structural elements supporting the floors, are sinking into the concrete;
  • The parging, which is the coating applied to the visible portion of the foundation, is coming off;
  • ‘’Frost boils’’ are appearing in the brick walls, which is an outward bulge on a located area of a wall;
  • There is pyrrhotite in the concrete of your foundation.

You might also consider rebuilding your foundations if they have been built on concrete blocks. In that case, the freezing and thawing pushes the concrete inwardly, making it difficult to repair anything.

Should I repair?

Prior to any renovation, you should assess the quality of the concrete. Which is why it is useful to analyse a core sample of your foundation to ensure its quality.

It is also important to make sure your foundation problem is in a single specific area:

  • Presence of cracks
  • Presence of isolated humidity

In those cases, the problem areas can be repaired through resurfacing, through installing a curtain wall or parging, giving a longer life to the concrete structure and preventing its demolition.

Remember that when repairing a foundation, there are multiple factors to take into consideration. In both cases (repairing and rebuilding), workers have to dig into the ground all around the foundation and it is sometimes necessary to resort to the services of electricians or plumbers. In short, repairing a foundation is expensive but it is still cheaper than rebuilding it.

Then, there is no mystery as to why most people simply opt for rebuilding their foundation because it consists in a permanent solution which, in the long run, will leave you worry-free.

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