36 Yards of Concrete… So Far

For the past few weeks, Johnson Brothers Construction has been under our house, in our basement, digging, pouring, and propping. As will happen over 90+ years, our well-built house had developed some rather significant dips and sags. The original stone foundation needed some help. We hired Johnson Brothers based on several credible references, one calling them “the Click and Clack of foundation repair.” They brought lots of neat tools, and yes, that is a tractor in (really under) the house.




Then there are the “while you’re at it” sub-projects. Such as, “while you’re at it, why don’t you put a safe room down there,” or “while you’re at it, why don’t you dig this section of the basement out deeper so I can use it as shop space.” Actually, these are both good ideas, and added less than 20 percent to the cost of the initial project of stabilizing the house. We’ll keep telling ourselves this.

The concrete trucks have been out 3 times, first for the footings, then the walls, and late last week one more load for the new slab. The most impressive structures are the three-foot thick retaining walls that went up on the south and east sides, holding back the hill. They were designed to be so wide in order to wrap over the top of two original stone retaining walls that were failing. While taking a break from digging the footings, the guys heard a loud noise. Yes, one of the walls had collapsed. While scary, no harm was done. I’ve now got a nice pile of project stone in the back yard.


They use a concrete pump to get the concrete into the house. This saves them time and agravation as compared to trying to get the huge truck behind the house, close enough to use the chutes, or even worse, hauling by hand.



A French drain was installed under the new walls, piped into a new sump pump. Heavy plastic was placed under the new slab. It should be a dry place for my wood shop.

They are also installing several new beams supported by steel posts. The most impressive of these went up last week – the main beam for the house. They raised the center of the house five inches! My front door actually locks now!!


They plan to wrap up the project this week. All that remains is the installation of a few more beams (there will be a total of 9), and the safe room. It will be constructed of concrete block. The concrete truck will be out one more time to complete the safe room.

Once all is done the basement will contain roughly 800 square feet of shop space, a 3/4 bath, the safe room, new stairs up to the family room (from the existing garage), and a dumb waiter. I’ll post again when the safe room is complete. I know, it’s only a basement, but it’s the first real construction we’ve done.

(by Don)

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3 Responses to “36 Yards of Concrete… So Far”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I’m impressed they can fit a tractor down there! You will love having the shop space.

  2. B. Williams says:

    Ha! We used the Johnson Brothers for our foundation too. A great bunch of guys, in fact some of my most hilarious blog entries were about the Johnson Bros.

  3. Lisa says:

    (This is Don again, not Lisa… I’ve gotta get my login fixed). Yes, the Johnsons are experts at what they do. They finished the foundation work yesterday – the house is amazingly flat, and pretty level too. I may have them back for an encore to address a couple of second-floor issues.

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