Foundation crack in wet prairie soil

Here are two photos an agent sent me to see if I can help the homeowner. Appraiser called it out as a problem. This 638 SF house built in 1955 on old prairie soil. In south central Missouri there are pockets of this prairie soil. This soil type is wet all year long with a moderate 10% shrink-swell. The third photo shows a Google map with Missouri’s historical prairies overlaid in blue. The house is located at the red marker in the center. The house was listed at $70,000, but unfortunately any adequate repair would exceed the price of the house. There is no good news on this one, just an example why you don’t build basements in this soil. Also 99% of the crawlspaces in the soil type have standing water. A raised slab is about the only foundation that works on this soil. The tie-back plates on the wall are really old and worthless in this situation.



I don’t see a “witness mark” on that one Randy… :thinking: :flushed: :wink:


What would be the prescribed repair on this Randy?

Adam, that’s a good question. If you were going to build a new basement in this soil type you would have to design it like a concrete water tank. The seasonal water table in this soil is only 12" to 18" below the ground surface. You would likely build a monolithic wall and floor system 12" thick with double layers of steel combined with a high-dollar exterior drainage and waterproofing system. The house is so small I would consider moving the house and building a new raised slab foundation. In either case, you would never get your money back.

Economically obsolete. May not be able to give it away.

Tear it down and sell the lot.


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Ryan has the right tool for the job.

actually you can remove the house from the foundation, move it off site. demo the foundation and start new. put house on new foundation. would probably cost near $30,000

Or just fill the basement with concrete. that would take care of the problem.

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It’s SO difficult not putting that bulldozer pic in several reports a year…

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Dozer or…


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Here was a fun one. This home was on the side of a mountain. The down slope side had an indoor pool, outer wall was an approximate 30 foot basement/stem wall. The whole down slope side wall was bowing out.

Notice the curve of the exterior window wall to the right.

This is the same wall outside looking up.

This is the footing

This is between the pool basin and the stem/basement wall / crawlspace or whatever.

This is what you would have to get equipment over or past to come down and fix it.

This was the view

That’s going to be a hell of a ride when that wall blows out.

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What’s location @bcawhern1 ? Looks close to my neck of the woods

Sky Valley

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Yep! A little East of me. Beautiful area and a place I could see someone attempting that… :flushed: :wink:

The customer was buying this sight unseen for the pool. I’m sure it was absolutely stunning before the home decided to head down the mountain. I would suspect the home is now economically obsolete.