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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Default Challenging Porch Repair

    I have an underground garage at my house. The garage door sits a couple feet in front of the house's main support beams. This means the porch, which is made of cement, is partly inside the garage. My issue is that water (go figure I live in Oregon)has seeped through due to undetected cracks in the cement and deteriorated the porch from the underside. A poor roof drainage has caused a crack through the wall along the edge of the garage in that same area and I now have huge issues. I have no idea how to fix it. I want to find a cheaper solution than to tear the whole thing down and rebuild, and City construction rules also limit what I can do without incurring huge permit fees. Any ideas? I wish I could post pictures, but do not know how to do that since I do not have a website, and am simply a homeowner.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,539

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    The way to fix it is to tear it down, repair the walls and re-do the porch and roof, in such a way that it doesn't happen again.

    Get at least 3 estimates from general contractors in your area. Don't look for a band aid repair job, or you will be doing it again soon. Go with the contractor with the most experience and best refs.

    Regarding the city permit: you could do a repair job without a permit, just check with your contractor, your repair may qualify.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    First of all, I can't even get contractors to bid on the job because of building issues, parking issues (not parking on my side of the street and a two hour limit on the opposite side due to bike lanes eliminating parking), and the difficulty of the job. I have had a bid for what you suggest, but I do not have $17,000 to get this done. I want something outside the box, but thanks for the suggestion. As I said, it is a challenge. I posted it because I know the obvios solution. Can someone come up with an alternate?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    yeah well, first you need to fix the gutters, if u don't have any get some asp. you will need a "mastic/water barrier system" that will get the cement part done, the side of the house/ building will need to be opened, there is probably rot there and you need the permit for your own safety.
    Last edited by Worknot; 08-01-2012 at 01:44 AM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    You know, I came here because I thought I'd get better advice. I posted this with the title I did, because I thought some of you might think outside to box. The gutters have been replace and are 6" wide and designed to take the max amount of water drainage due to the amount of rain we get in this neck of the woods. Come on people, make me a believer that some of you know what you are talking about. No insult to those who are scratching your head to find a solution, but to assume I haven't done anything to stop the continued damage is an insult.

    If I had been able to detect this issue long ago, I would have fixed it, but due to how absorbant concrete can be, and how it can hide water channels and suddenly cause huge chunks to fall off a ceiling, it is difficult for me to address as it has been a build up of issues. I did not know the damage had been done until the ceiling in my garage started to fall off in chunks. Try getting insurance to cover this... it won't work as there was no "incident" that caused it.

    What might I do beyond total distruction and rebuild?

    I can dig down on the outside of the wall to stop the continuation of the crack leak into the garage on the wall. Anyone who knows about "water" knows that a patch on the inside will just pop off, so it has to be done on the outside to block entry. I hope to be able to do that, but can I fix the long crack that goes through the basement wall? I am howver concerned about the integrity of the wall. i.e. could that crack have made the whole structure weak? Is sealing it from the outside (preventing furtther damage) enough? I thought about putting in steel plates to help reinforce the wall, but don't know if I need to go that far.

    The other issue still remaining is what to do about the crumbling ceiling in the garage? I don't think you can cement it back in due to gravity. i.e. what kind of cement can be fuilt up to replace that which had dropped from a ceiling? How do I repair a cement "roof"?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,539

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    Mlish,

    Thank you for trying to find answers for free in this forum. With very little information you provided and with no pictures to go with, it's hard to tell you what to do.

    We are a bunch of folks who volunteer our time here. Some of us are accomplished, knowledgable and experienced contractors. Others may not be. But to read your mocking reply, with a touch of a demanding tone, is ridiculous.

    Not all of us are sitting by the computer 24/7 to give you what you want. Just be patient. If you want immidiate help with good, effective results - you know what to do: pay a licensed contractor his 17K. Don't have the money? borrow it. There are "improvement loans" you know.

    If you want an answer "out of the box", I'd say: do it yourself or hire cheap, unskilled, unqualified day workers. You never know, you might get your problem fixed.

    Next time you have a toothache, will you look for a cheap solution out of the box or go see an expensive dentist?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    @ dj1... Now who's mocking, and just how is it you "hear" tone in written words? Am I frustrated? yes, and who wouldn't be when you have to fight the city and contractors here have not been willing to take on this job. I can't find 3 bids. I also feel that just suggesting I bite the bullet and get a loan is not a helpful solution. I've already invested a lot of money into the house doing other repairs since it was built in 1926 with knob and tube wiring (contractors are not allowed to put insulation in my attic over that type of wiring, so it had to be replaced), galvanized pipes (now all pex), and 86 year old cedar siding (now vinyl). Your first suggestion to just do what I already knew was an option wasn't what I asked for as I already paid $1,000 for engineering and architectural plans to do just that, and then tried to get bids. That is why I asked for something besides tearing it down and rebuilding it. I also know what the City's permits are for a tear-down and rebuild, and how much they fine you if you don't get one, so to suggest a contractor might find a way around that is not an option. I know that to not get a permit is not an option and it is breaking the law. Maybe that isn't what you are saying, but the architect knows the rules here, and says I need a permit. I have had 5 contractors tell me they will not bid on the job, and they specialize in cement work. Thus the reason for asking you all to think outside to box.

    I guess some folks who come here aren't smart enough to figure out what all is needed in a posting, and that is what I hear you telling me. As I started, I would post photos if I knew how. Can you advise how to do it rather than tell me I need to do that? I understand the challenges so well, that I guess I am guilty of not explaining it well enough to you all, and apologize for that. So if there is too much here, I guess it is better than not enough,.

    Since someone suggested I install gutters, then I apparently wasn't clear enough. The water drainage issue has been addressed with 6" gutters, which are larger than most homes use. There is no roof issue on the house roof, I was speaking of the roof (underside) of the porch... not sure what to call that... roof, ceiling, underside? It rains a lot here, and ground water may still get into that crack as water does find a drainage path, and yes, I'm trying to insure the soil on that side angles away from the house to help prevent further water seepage there. I realize water entering from the outside, can't be stopped from the inside no matter how a product promises to stop leaks by applying a barrier of some sort to an interior wall surface. If it is not stopped on the outside of the wall, it will just cause more deterioration over time... again being undetectable until it is too late. I do know some things, and maybe I needed to share with you what I know so you won't assume I'm unfamiliar with what needs to be done.

    Could I safely fill the crack in the wall from both sides after removing any loos concrete, then put a mastic/water barrier on the outside and resurface the inside (aesthetics) and have that be good enough to stop the leak? Is there a way to fill in the ceiling of the garage and the underside of the porch where the concrete chunks came down? Gravity tells me no, but maybe someone here knows a solution. Luckily there is not dry rot in the main support beam so it is damaged cement only. I have stopped the leak from the top side of the porch. This is not a weight bearing porch as there is nothing on it except a wrought iron railing. So could I break away all the loose cement and patch it? There is rebar in the cement in case anyone wanted to know that info. I'm not sure what else you may need to know, and I will post photos if there is a way. I tried clicking on the icon, but it directs me to a url, and I do not have a website as I am a home owner, not a business. I am not asking for a "cover-up" fix, but I do want a cheaper one that will last.

    I don't understand what worknot is saying about the side of the house not being open. Maybe he thinks there is dry rot in other parts of the house in that section. I replaced all the dry rot when I did the gutters, and there (fortunately) was none under the siding, just at the gutter where it meets the roof. I also wasn't saying I wouldn't get a permit, just stating that they are very expensive, and there is a way to address this if they cut only part of the wall off and rebuild it rather than cutting the wall from top to bottom and rebuilding it, which I do not believe is even necessary as there is integrity in the wall.

    What more details do I need to make this clear?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,539

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    Mlish,

    Can't get contractors to bid?

    Could it be your approach, attitude and ranting?

    FYI, I have been buying and selling, building and renovating homes since 1976 - and I've never achieved anything by ranting.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    71

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    You say you have a crack in the wall.Is it possible that you have foundation issues under that wall? If water has been infiltrating the area underneath for so long undetected, then it's possible you do.

    A contractor on site is the only way to see what needs to be done.

    You can post pics if you want but all we can do is really guess at the true nature of the problem and maybe we can come up with a solution.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    15

    Default Re: Challenging Porch Repair

    out side the box? how about grab your ankles every time it rains and pray that you still have a home to come back to.
    so you did everything, and its still not fixed! tell me one thing, you just doesn't want to pay to get it done!
    oh...wait! you did say that too.
    I know you spent a lot of money, but this is not the 1960's where you slap on a steel plate and call it done! 17k sounds cheap, and no one else wants to bid on the job...huh?
    you can buy a book that will tell you how to fix your problem, it's not that unusual to have that kind of water damage.
    any house built on the side of a hill, near a stream or river, or in a area with a high water table is going to face these kinds of challenges. there is nothing to do here that's out side the box, you just want someone to tell you have to do it wrong so you can save a buck!

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