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Purchasing a cottage and trying to figure out how much work/money it'll be to repair an odd bulge in the wall.

The south side wood wall is bulging out near the center. Although not clearly visible in the photos it is certainly visible in person. Check the pink arrow and the photo with the level. Anyone ever come across this kind of thing before?

From our inspection report:

Depending on how the 2nd floor floor joists are tied into the sloped roof there could potentially be a lot of diagonal pressure being exerted on top of the short vertical wall. Clearly, it was not able to withstand these forces and bulged outwards. One option might be to straighten the wall out and simply add a concrete pilaster at the exterior to prevent recurrence - although this might not be the most cosmetically pleasing option.

Cottage front view

Bulging wallInterior image

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    I would guess that this is going to require tearing out the interior finishes along the bowed section of the wall as well as the 2nd floor flooring & roof in order to get a good look at what's going on. I wouldn't count on it being a cheap repair, and may involve a structural engineer's professional assessment to come up with a good (read "safe") plan. – FreeMan Dec 1 '20 at 14:37
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    Good question, but I'm voting to close. The project as a whole is too substantial for a Q&A site. Feel free to come back with more specific questions as you progress with repairs. – isherwood Dec 1 '20 at 14:40
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    Walk away, or submit a revised-upon-getting-structual-info lowball offer. You haven't bought the can of worms yet, and that's the best position to be in with a can of worms, unless you are buying the site, and knocking the building down is your actual plan. – Ecnerwal Dec 1 '20 at 15:57
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    I wonder if the original builder knew what he was doing but a subsequent owner "opened up" the interior by removing walls or other structure that was tying the building together. – A. I. Breveleri Dec 1 '20 at 16:43
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    "how much work/money it'll be to repair an odd bulge in the wall." Lots of both. You should seriously consider walking away and buying something else. If you really like this property get a structural engineers report and use it to reduce the asking price to cover the repair. – Graham Nye Dec 1 '20 at 23:48
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Disclaimer: Consulting with an engineer is highly advisable.

The roof is slowly pushing the wall outwards. If you have not purchased this cottage yet then either walk away or low-ball them. I foresee that subcontracting a proper fix easily reaching $10k.

You need to do two things:

  1. Straighten the wall out
  2. Prevent the wall from bowing out in the future

To straighten the wall out I imagine you would need to attach a bunch of steel cables on the inside of the cottage and tension them enough to pull the walls inward.

For preventing future bowing you have two options really:

  1. Brace the roof from the outside
  2. Tie the roof together from the inside

Whether or not this is a project you can take on is up to you.


Option 1:

The red lines are extensions of the roof line; you can use pressure treated wood or preferably steel beams. The white circles are concrete footers.

enter image description here


Option 2:

The red line is a bracing inside the house which should prevent further separation and bulging. There should be several of these running throughout the house.

enter image description here


I'm not sure why the inspector suggested a concrete pilaster since your foundation does not need bracing but rather the exterior wall but then again I'm not an expert.

Good luck to you!

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  • I agree, in principle, with both of these suggestions, however, they both need a structural engineer to ensure they're designed properly, and that any interior structural damage is properly repaired. – FreeMan Dec 1 '20 at 16:48
  • @FreeMan Thanks, I think I addressed that with my $10k estimate and later do advise consulting a structural engineer in my answer. – MonkeyZeus Dec 1 '20 at 16:50
  • yup. gotcha. Sorry, I read this earlier, then just skimmed when I saw it had been updated and missed it this time. Never hurts to reinforce the "Be Careful" message! – FreeMan Dec 1 '20 at 16:55
  • @FreeMan No sweat, will do! – MonkeyZeus Dec 1 '20 at 16:58
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    Thanks for weighing in! I appreciate the illustrations. – SPS Dec 1 '20 at 18:29

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