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This forum contains 17 topics and 59 replies, and was last updated by  showzen 3 months, 2 weeks ago.

Brownstoner July 31, 2013 at 10:53 am

We've Updated Our Spam Protection

Our tech team has made some pretty big updates to combat spam in the Forum.

*One is a plugin that should filter out most of the attempts by spammers to register in the first place.

*Two, Forum users now have the ability to mark spam when they see it. If enough users mark a post as spam, it will automatically disappear.

Very sorry for all the spam lately. We hope this puts a lid on it.

Foundation February 17, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Need someone to Assess Moisture in Basement

Looking for someone reliable to help us figure out and fix this problem. We appear to have some water in our partially above-grade basement. Not pools of water, but some evidence that it may have gotten into two walls – one where the house is unattached (I’m wondering if the bricks need repointing). The other near but not at the back wall where the house is attached (neighbors have no water). A few handy types have looked at it but don’t really know what to make of it, so I’d like to find someone who really knows what s/he is doing so that we get it right the first time. Thank you.

Foundation June 19, 2013 at 5:41 pm

Underpinning: Buying An old Brooklyn Two Family. Need to know if underpinning done correctly

Like most other houses in Brooklyn, this house is >100 years old.  It was recently renovated – decent job – not a stellar one.  But that’s often the case in transitioning areas of Brooklyn.
I need to know if the underpinning was a) done like the builder says it was and b) done adequately.
Is there any way – not unrealistically invasive – to assess the quality of this work?  Btw, the basement was excavated, so I know that underpinning would have been necessary (or likely necessary). Builder claims it was done.  No disrespect to him, but I need to know what I’m buying.  (I’m in contract with an inspection contingency.)
Any informed advice is appreciated.

Foundation June 17, 2013 at 2:45 pm

need to evaluate problem with flooding in basement apartment with an expert, any recommendations?

I have an empty lot next to me, in the rain my sump pump broke and water entered my tenet’s apartment, the laminate flooring needs to be replaced.  I noticed some mold  growing in the front of apartment so water is also getting in the front of the building, need to have someone help me evaluate problem and waterproof properly……a good house inspector?  need a handy man to replace flooring as mold is forming 

Foundation June 6, 2013 at 8:50 pm

A Favorite…Looking for Structural/Soil Engineer Recommendations

I know this is a frequently asked question, but was looking to see if anyone has some recent experience, say the last 1-2 years.  Looking for recommendations for a structural engineer who is experienced in assessing typical structural issues in brownstones.  Our issues appear to be related to the girder or potential soil/foundation issues under the cellar floor or both.  We have old termite and water damage to the girder and the everpresent sagging towards the center party wall (appears greater on upper floors at stairs and door headers), there is also separation of the roof support framing in the attic. Looking for someone to help assess further.  I have had an architect look at the issue and their recommendation is to have a structural and /or soil engineer investigate further based on their conceptual assessment.  Thanks!!

Foundation February 11, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Water through the electrical box?

Has anyone had a problem with water coming in from outside, through the electrical box?  Con Edison came about a year ago and re-cemented around the pipe and re-sealed the box on the street (it was full of water), which seemed to fix the problem. But now it’s leaking again, they came last week & re-sealed around the pipe, but it’s pouring through again today.  Anyone ever have this problem?  We can’t figure out where the water is coming from.  Who do I call to help?  Thanks!

Foundation January 14, 2013 at 8:26 am

Flooding from Neighbor

Hi – I live next door to an uninhabited building (many years of neglect) owned by a local real estate company. I have noticed water in my basement every time it rains heavily. Last week, I noticed it dripping from one of the walls and when I went into my neighbor’s yard, I saw a hole in their drain pipe (that comes from the roof) just before it enters the ground and would should lead into his sewer system (i doubt it is a dedicated pipe as I have heard it should be). The area where the this hole is is just on the other side of my wall where I saw the water coming in so I assume they are related. The guy said he will fix it but I am sure he will do either nothing or a cheap job. What are my options?

Foundation October 2, 2012 at 10:44 pm

A highly recommended contractor for foundation/basement work

We recently had major work done on our 100+ year old stone foundation. The work was done by John Sullivan / North Willowdale Corporation, 718 499-5100. I have never had such a completely positive experience with a contractor. His crew repaired a serious crack (which was caused by – guess what! an idiot building a condo next door) and also replaced many termite-damaged beams. John was always available, returned phone calls/texts/emails promptly, went out of his way to do the job the way we wanted. The crew was great, kept a very tidy workplace, overall I can’t recommend them enough.

Foundation July 24, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Brownstone waterproofing

Can anyone recommend a contractor to waterproof or fix a wet brownstone foundation wall in the basement?

Foundation May 24, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Recommendations for engineer to help us deal with next-door demolition?

We live in an old and somewhat saggy attached frame house in the South Slope, and the next house has been acquired by a developer who’s planning to demolish it. We’re pretty worried about the odds of our house surviving this process intact, and want to have a thorough “pre-demolition/pre-excavation” survey done by a licensed professional engineer, to document the structural condition of our building before the work begins next door. This engineer would supply us with a thorough structural report identifying areas of concern and supplying recommendations concerning any structural monitoring provisions that might be deemed necessary.  Said engineer would also be available for return visits during the demolition and construction process, and even (God forbid) for courtroom testimony if it were to come to that.
 Can anyone recommend such a person or firm?

Foundation May 20, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Termite damage

Hi All, first time posting to the forum and would love to get some termite advice from those who’ve had experience.
We’re about to go into contract on a 25′ wide attached 2 story townhouse in Forest Hills, and while we know the house needs extensive renovation, we discovered that there’s heavy termite damage.
It appears to be mostly in one room on the street side of the house along the party wall. A few joists are pretty well eaten through, but it seems that the damage skips around–other neighboring joists appear to be sound.  Some of this is visible from the first floor, but since the basement ceiling is sheetrocked (apart from some places where holes have made for spot treatment), it’s hard to get a full view of all the joists in question.  The center beam is a steel I-beam, so no issues there.  Overall the house looks pretty pretty rough, but the floors and walls throughout are level and plumb and feel very solid.  There might be the slightest give in the floor where the damage is centered. 
The house has been vacant for the last six years, and according to the listing agent, the termites were treated then.  The house also has lots of old water damage, but it got a new roof about six years ago and seems dry.  The damaged sections seem papery and very dry, but I have no way of telling whether this is old damage or whether the termites are still active.
We have an engineer’s inspection (Heimer) on Wednesday.  Per their website, all inspectors are qualified to assess for termites, but is it worth calling in a specialist? Has anyone faced a similar situation?  How was it repaired, and can you give a general sense of cost?
Thanks all, and I’ve attached a picture of one of the joists in question.

Foundation May 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm

Permits for waterproofing foundation

My contractor proposes to waterproof my foundation.  A trench wil be dug for this purpose.  According to the DOB website, a trench 5 feet or deeper requires shoring or bracing.  In another section of the DOB website, it is stated that “permits are required for most [excavation] work.”  My question is, for a trench less than 5 feet (say, 4 feet) is a permit required?

Foundation March 19, 2012 at 11:02 am

Steel columns in basement

Looking for cost estimate for this job:  basement of old victorian house has screw jacks supporting the main wooden beam and, we’re told, that is below standard.  It should be supported by solid steel beams.  Looks like we would need at least 3 steel beams that are about 7-8′ high.  Also, there is separation between the main wooden beam and the main girder that has to be fixed.  Attached picture for reference.  Anyone in the ‘Stoner community have experience with this and can give an estimate of total cost?  Thanks!

Foundation December 25, 2011 at 7:52 pm

looking for a real smart and knowledgable structural engineer bed sty

we have a brownstone that has stairs that slope inward. we had a building inspector say that
 the foundation has settled but is sound. we are looking to do renovation work, nothing to major
but enough to make me nervous/ so anyone with recommendations ? also would be great if it didn’t
cost that much. Thanks

Foundation September 29, 2011 at 1:57 pm

post-sewage lessons, & a question about basements/mortar

The city sewer main broke in front of my house last Friday, spilling a truly terrifying amount of sewage into my basement and up into the ground floor through the drains.  I want to share what I learned and also ask a couple of questions:

Things learned:
1.  You can add a clause in your insurance to protect you against sewer backups, and it’s cheap.  (We had done that, by a stroke of luck.)
2.  The DEP workers told us that this is likely to happen with increasing frequency as the climate gets worse and the budget shrinks.  Look out.
3.  In case it happens to you, you might want to have sandbags on hand, because emergency response time is totally inadequate to the scale of the problem.  If you want gory details, let me know.

1.  The sewage punched holes in the mortar between the stones in my basement.  Do I need to hire a structural engineer, or can I just turn to a good mason?  Or a general contractor?
2.  If anybody has stray bits of advice about getting a fair deal with a massive insurance claim I’d love to hear it.  I’m reading the archives and will appreciate any additions or stray thoughts.

Foundation September 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm

Waterproof Foundation from the Outside

I just recieved a quote to waterproof my cellar from the outside.  We determined the main factor for water entering the basement was from the backyard.  The entire yard is a wooden deck with dirt below.  The contractor said the water is going down into the dirt and seeping through the backwall foundation.  Side note (this property’s cellar was dug an additional 3 feet about 8 years ago).  The contractor noted that the foundation wall where they began digging was not properly sealed.  He said he will have to dig to the floor of the cellar from the outside to seal the foundation.  He just provided me a quote to do the following:

1. Remove all sheetrock on the wall in the entire basement exterior walls area.
2. Remove old wooden planks up to 12’ from the back of the property.
3.  Remove dirt back of the property all the way to the footing.
4.  Complete 2 coats of masonry stucco with waterproofing cement mixture.
5.  Complete waterproofing on entire foundation wall with torch rubber membrane
6.  Make one stair case opening for new door opening to enternace to the back of the property

7.  Build new entry steps as per required.
8.  Complete required block work as per required.
9.  Complete waterproofing with cement masonry stucco.
10.  Install one standard entry metal door.
11.  Complete two coats of masonry stucco with installation of wire mesh on entire foundation wall.
12.  Fill all the cracks
13.  Complete waterproofing with thorro coat as per required.
14.  Remove all debris from work area.
15.  Pour concrete slab in the entire non plank area where we remove wooden plank after doing back fill.
He also stated “No warrantee on the concrete work damage by winter weather and calcium or salt”.  The final quote was approximately 15k.
Does this sound reasonable?  What questions should I be asking?  Will we need permits?

Thank you.

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