Restoration Guide: Introduction to Foundations

Roger Diez


The Old Home Restoration and Rehab Guide is a summary of the nine-part U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rehab Guide. Old House Web edited this guide in order to summarize relevant information about innovative techniques, materials, technologies, and products for anyone involved in the rehabilitation of old homes; architects, contractors, civil engineers, building inspectors, and owners. Links are also provided where possible to provide more in-depth information on the various topics.

Editor's Note: This Introduction is for Chapter 1 of 9 in the Old House Web Restoration Guide.

The Old House Restoration and Rehab Guide focuses on housing rehabilitation and preservation. This is different from home improvement or remodeling in that the goal is to restore the building to good condition rather than modernize or enlarge it. Therefore, the guide focuses on techniques rather than projects.

The first chapter of the guide is the Foundations Chapter. This is appropriate because the term "foundation" refers to the basis of the entire structure and is the first thing that should be addressed in home renovation. The Foundation Chapter addresses all aspects of foundation design, engineering, construction, and repair. These include:

  • Building codes
  • Materials
  • Engineering and design
  • Reinforcement techniques
  • Soil conditions

Chapter 1: Foundations of the Restoration Guide provides useful advice about repairing and restoring foundations in order to maintain the structural integrity of older houses.

Individual sub-sections discuss:

  • Materials
  • Tools
  • Techniques for repairing and restoring stone, concrete, concrete block, and permanent wood foundations.
  • Basement slab floors
  • Ventilation
  • Moisture-proofing
  • Insulation

Table of Contents for Foundations:

  1. Introduction
  2. Foundation Design & Engineering
  3. Permanent Wood & Fabricated Foundations
  4. Drainage
  5. Dampproofing and Waterproofing
  6. Insulation
  7. Ventilation
  8. Shoring, Underpinning, & Repair
  9. Crack Repair, Coatings, & Finishes
Foundation Guide Sources

Sources for this guide include building associations, material suppliers and manufacturers, and government agencies. Construction professionals, suppliers, manufacturers, industry reports, and publications that focus on home renovation also contributed to this guide. Other sources include trade organizations and building research centers.

Some of the trade associations and governing bodies that contributed information to the Foundation Guide include:

  • American Concrete Institute
  • National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB)
  • The National Concrete Masonry Association
  • Portland Cement Association
  • Building Seismic Safety Council
  • Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
  • U.S. Department of Energy

Trade and government publications include:

  • Builder's Foundation Handbook
  • Building Foundation Design Handbook
  • Fine Homebuilding on Foundations and Masonry
  • Concrete Masonry Handbook
  • Journal of Light Construction
  • Publications from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation

Editor's Note: This guide was developed and edited for old homes from original material in the U.S, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Rehab Guide. For more information visit: http://www.hud.gov

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