Should cracked wing wall be fixed or replaced?

Updated: 2013-03-10T05:32:14Z


Special to The Star

Q. We have a wing wall extending about 4 to 5 feet to each side of the garage. This wall is painted white and is made of brick or similar stone pieces.

One of the wing walls is cracked top to bottom in an irregular path and is pulling away from the garage. This opening shrinks in cold weather and expands when warm.

My question is, how do we fix this condition? Tear down and replace, mud jack, etc.?

— J. W. Brindley

A. Most of these wing walls that extend out from a corner of a house are sitting on a footing made of concrete. With all of the dry weather we have had, the soil has been shrinking away from foundations, which causes movement in the concrete and in the structures and finishes attached to it. These little “peninsulas” of concrete that hold up the wall are very easily affected by this problem.

Mud jacking might help, but this process is better suited to moving concrete slabs. I have seen mud jacking cause the wall to tilt to either the front or the back when it is raised. You might be better off having a helical pier attached to the outside to raise it back up before you have the mud pumped in. This way, the wall can be moved back into place and then secured to the house to make sure that it stays straight.

You might also want to find out what it would cost to tear it down, repour the footing and build the wall back. This might be a more cost-effective way to fix the problem.

Tom Breshears is a partner in Buffalo Constructors, a remodeling and restoration firm serving metropolitan Kansas City.

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