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Brick Foundations- the stuff of nightmares

I work with a lot of first time home buyers and it's hard for them to resist the appeal of a Victorian home.  I mean who wouldn't love this?

It's like living in the doll house you had as a kid!

Besides the ghost that you may inherit from a 115 year old house, there's likely a bigger fright lurking in the basement-a brick foundation. Victorians were most often built with below-grade brick foundations.

A brick foundation consists of a brick wall, built with mortar and clay fired bricks, against the dirt underneath a house. Bricks themselves are actually made out of dirt-clay to be exact-and fired at high temperatures to make them strong. Burying a brick wall and exposing it to the constant moisture contained in our Pacific NW soil slowly degrades the brick. Brick and mortar cannot withstand high levels of moisture for over a hundred years.

And so the foundation of nearly all Victorians need to be re-built. Jacking up the house and re-pouring an entire foundation is not the typical weekend warrior project.

So, buyers, watch out for this frightful sight!

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