CRCOG Crumbling Foundations
Upwards of 35,000 plus homes in the north, east, and central parts of Connecticut are facing a potentially devastating issue due to the presence of a naturally occurring iron sulfide originating from a quarry in Willington.
The mineral—pyrrhotite—causes the slow deterioration of concrete foundations when exposed to oxygen and water. While the presence of pyrrhotite indicates the potential for concrete deterioration, its existence alone does not necessarily cause it. Homes and structures in approximately 41 towns may be affected by what appears to be a slow moving natural disaster. As a structure continues to deteriorate, it often becomes unsound. Cracking, flaking, bowing, and separation of the concrete has already appeared on some homes built between 1983 and 2015.
The cracking starts small and can take more than a decade to appear. Cracks that go horizontal or splinter out like a web are the most concerning. A rust color or white powder may appear. The dry wall of a finished basement may need to be removed to examine the concrete, although the damage is often visible on the outside of the home. The damage is irreversible.
The most effective repair is to replace the existing foundation with a new one that does not contain pyrrhotite. The cost to replace a foundation can differ based on multiple factors, but current estimates range between $150,000 and $250,000 per home.
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