What would you do with this basement/porch? *St Louis*

18 Replies

We've got a home that has what I think they call a cold storage room? 

Basically a room built under the porch. It leaks. The porch is cracked. We had a contractor submit an estimate to rip it out and brace/rebuild it. $2500. Sounds decent. I gave him the greenlight. Then before he starts he sends me an email asking for 5k instead. Claiming he didn't realize it had the basement under it.... Seriously? That's why we called you. 

Anyone ever dealt with one of these? What cost should I be looking? At any creative solutions?

Porch is small. Runs maybe 1/4th the length of the house. I would say maybe a 5x5.

Medium head icon colorRyan Dossey, Call Porter | http://Callporter.com

Ryan, is the foundation at the porch stone or concrete? Is the porch slab deteriorated or is it just cracked? Is the slab raw concrete or has it been painted previously? All of these variables can impact the options going forward. Pictures?

What a joke!  If the guy is that scatterbrained that he throws out a bid before realizing the entire scope of the job/problem, then tries coming back to double the bid, I'd seriously re-think whether I want that guy working on my property to begin with.

I'd tell the guy you'll get back to him after you get some additional bids from someone who understands the problem better and prices it accordingly.

Cold storage, or "fruit cellars" as we used to call them on the South Side, were notorious for being damp, leaky areas.  Generally, using a foundation sealer could remedy the problem unless more the foundation problem was more extensive.

What's your guy planning to do for the extra charge?

Good luck, Ryan.

Dan

post pics.

depending on the where it leaks (side walls or cap), you can use a guy that can fill the crack with polyurethane too.

i'd never even call that guy again. increasing his quote for "not realizing"?? dum-dum

Yeah that contractor is blacklisted for me.

It leaks from the top. These are the only pics I've got.

Medium head icon colorRyan Dossey, Call Porter | http://Callporter.com

Ryan,

If you can fix your moisture problem with the above mentioned sealants, I think your best bet is to patch the spall in the bottom face of the slab with concrete and then provide some sort of strapping system (steel/carbon fiber) in the short direction of the porch on either side of it.  Tearing the whole thing out seems like it will be overkill.  How wide are those cracks on the top side of the slab, hairline?

@Ardie Mansouri

Top side is hairline. Curious if you could provide some more info on the bracing system. I agree I think jacking it out and redoing although ideal is overkill for a home with an ARV just north of 100k.

Medium head icon colorRyan Dossey, Call Porter | http://Callporter.com

Who knows  I would try to educate my self about this problem.  I would call the original contractor and ask him specifically what has to be done on the project from beginnng to end since he did see it.  He has now deceided  it was too much work for the $2,500 bid.  I would ask what was he thinking of doing first and now what has he added to the Job.

I would then, as other people have suggested call in other contractors.  

A Basement water poofing company.  

An Excavator.

A concrete contractor

See what sounds like the best approach or what more people agree as to what has to be done to corrct this problem

Its an investigatory problem an you have the research to do.

Keep us informed

 

The 5k was to jack out the top, build a brace underneath it, and redo the top. Apparently he "forgot" that there was the basement under it. I have calls into other contractors naturally. Most of the houses in the area have these old chipped up porches I'm just trying to make it safe/look nicer. 

Medium head icon colorRyan Dossey, Call Porter | http://Callporter.com

Here is something Bob Villa wrote about your problem

http://www.bobvila.com/posts/193822-crack-in-concr...

I actually saw that when looking around. Really they're a terrible idea and seem to be damp/moist most of the time. 

I've got a call into a few places one of the thoughts was to wall off that section, fill it with gravel (or something) and just redo the top. Just waiting to hear back on what is structurally sound/economical. No one would miss/notice it not being there. 

Medium head icon colorRyan Dossey, Call Porter | http://Callporter.com

I'd say google some examples, I've gotten some great ideas just by seeing what other people have done and pick the one that you like price/style wise the most

I wonder if some wood floor to ceiling support/shelves and fixing the top with a waterproof vinyl covering or something similar would do the trick. Support so it doesn't get worse and makes that room "useable" as opposed to the creep dungeon it is now. 

Medium head icon colorRyan Dossey, Call Porter | http://Callporter.com

Originally posted by @Ryan D.:

Yeah that contractor is blacklisted for me.

It leaks from the top. These are the only pics I've got.

Before you go tearing that up, try painting with with something like DryLock paint.  There is also an aluminum paint that roofers use, you could try that first then paint over it.  I can't guarantee it will fix the problem, but $100 materials vs $5000 seems like it would be worth a try.

@Ryan Dossey

Probably a blessing in disguise that that contractor doubled their bid like that before you paid them anything. 

As for the porch, I'd call a crack expert (like the Crack Team) to see about fixing the crack. If the porch is bowing and or bent/warped, you could put in a couple piers to support the slab. You also might want to look at filling in the room since no one really uses them anymore, and like you said, it's a bit of a creep dungeon.

The porch's concrete could just be resurfaced. I wouldn't spend more than $1k on this entire project.

Medium mogul logo web smallPeter MacKercher, Mogul Realty | [email protected] | 314.210.4414 | http://stlmogul.com

Originally posted by @Peter MacKercher :

@Ryan D.

Probably a blessing in disguise that that contractor doubled their bid like that before you paid them anything. 

As for the porch, I'd call a crack expert (like the Crack Team) to see about fixing the crack. If the porch is bowing and or bent/warped, you could put in a couple piers to support the slab. You also might want to look at filling in the room since no one really uses them anymore, and like you said, it's a bit of a creep dungeon.

The porch's concrete could just be resurfaced. I wouldn't spend more than $1k on this entire project.

 That's what I'm leaning towards. 

Medium head icon colorRyan Dossey, Call Porter | http://Callporter.com

@Ryan Dossey

The system that I suggested earlier would look like a steel plate that is basically anchored into the concrete along it's length with expansion or adhesive bolts.  As that slab is probably pretty thin the better option would be to do the carbon fiber strips that adhere to the bottom face of the slab.  This provides a tension layer that basically replaces the reinforcing bars that have been exposed in the spall.  Both methods are commonly used when a foundation company fixes a horizontal crack in a concrete basement wall.  Same concept, this is vertical load as opposed to horizontal though.

If you decide to fill that thing in, you may want to think about going with expanded polystyrene foam blocks.  Gravel, while most likely much cheaper, will put a lateral force on the interior basement wall which will now act like a retaining wall for all of the gravel.  Not saying that it can't support it, but it may cause some problems if that wall even rotates a little bit. Hope it turns out well

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you