Willow Bunch Telegraph Office
Helping to preserve the history of Willow Bunch
Telegraph Office changing with time...

New Basement

Introduction


Old foundation

The building was originally supported by wooden posts. Later a root cellar was dug under the house and a rubble stone foundation was installed around the perimeter to keep the elements out. Over the years the root cellar space under the house was dug out more and more to accommodate modern conveniences like a central heating system, indoor plumbing, and electrical wiring. This excavation weakened the rubble stone foundation so attempts were made to address this. In the early 1950s a cindercrete block wall was installed along the back of the basement. This was a good start but it did not go far enough. The eastern portion of the rubble stone foundation had completely failed by 2007 leading to numerous problems.


New basement

As such, from the outset of the project it was clear that it was not practical to repair the old foundation. The basement needed to be completed replaced with a modern one. This was the only way to ensure the building had a proper foundation to carry it long into the future.

A new basement was installed under the building after the bulk of the demolition work was complete.

Main Floor Repair

The installation of the new basement was no easy task. The building had to be raised and suspended in the air to allow the work below to take place. This was further complicated by the poor condition of the building's main floor. The floor joists originally installed in the building were such that they were severely inadequate for the job and a good portion of them failed over time.

These broken joists were patched in various ways over the years, but even that was so poor that the only sensible thing to do was to completely replace the entire main floor with all new joists and a new subfloor.

The new main floor was installed one section at a time as shown in the photos below.

Building Lift

Once the main floor was repaired a couple large steel I-beams were used to lift and suspend the building. This will allow the new basement to be built underneath.

Basement Excavation

The building was raised to a few inches above its final height and with a standard 8 foot basement there was just enough room to work under the elevated building with a skid steer loader.

Footings

After the hole was dug concrete footings were installed support the new basement.

Walls

Once the concrete footings were in place it was time to build the basement walls. These walls were made from Preserved Wood Foundation (PWF) material.

Floor

After the building was lowered and attached to the basement. A concrete floor was installed in the basement. The floor plays an important role in keeping the bottom of the walls from pushing in, so it had to be done before the basement could be backfilled.

Backfill

Once the basement floor was done a water proofing membrane was applied to the exterior of the basement and then the basement was backfilled.