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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    ventura, ca
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    Default Horizontal Crack

    I have my own comments for this condition, but I
    thought I'd put it out there to get some feed back.
    This scenario is common in my practice.

    Tract home on a slab - 50's or 60's.
    Facing from street - garage at left front.
    Entry at center.
    Usually 3 bedrooms.
    Service mast typically at right rear corner.

    Right side yard - exterior stucco with horizontal cracking
    at the elevation that telegraphs the interior sub floor level.

    I won't comment - instead I'm interested in your comments.
    Thanks in advance...........

    mf

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    Matt Faust
    Real Estate Inspector

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    How about a pic or two Matt? One of the exterior and one of the interior crack.

    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    5,847

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Quote Originally Posted by matt faust View Post
    I have my own comments for this condition, but I
    thought I'd put it out there to get some feed back.
    This scenario is common in my practice.

    Tract home on a slab - 50's or 60's.
    Facing from street - garage at left front.
    Entry at center.
    Usually 3 bedrooms.
    Service mast typically at right rear corner.

    Right side yard - exterior stucco with horizontal cracking
    at the elevation that telegraphs the interior sub floor level.

    I won't comment - instead I'm interested in your comments.
    Thanks in advance...........

    mf
    Why not say it so your client will understand...

    How about this:
    I found a crack on the right side of the home. It runs horizontally along the side just below the floor of the home.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Charlottesville, Va.
    Posts
    292

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    I'm with Scott, I prefer comments in sentence form so the average person can understand it.


  5. #5
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    I just orient everyone in the report and verbally that every item in the home can be found by looking at the home from the street.

    I used to use words like telegraphing and such but had to explain it to often. I just tell them like it is. If you find a crack or multiple cracks outside and inside in the same area, tell them, so.

    I usually tell them as if I were talking to them. If you are outside on the right side of the home and you see some cracking going on and the cracks are over and under windows and over doors inside in the same area I will tell them just that.

    Formalities are wonderful for Realtors but the clients are always talked to in my reports. I get the same comments from clients about how wonderful the report was. "It was like we were at the inspection and you were explaining it to us"

    Suggestion:

    If you want to remain friends with Realtors I suggest you do not go that route of talking to your clients in the report. They want it cut and dry. They prefer quick one liners will no elaboration. They can brush it off easier like that.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    26,251

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    I'm trying to figure this part out:
    Quote Originally Posted by matt faust View Post
    Tract home on a slab

    exterior stucco with horizontal cracking at the elevation that telegraphs the interior sub floor level.
    How does a horizontal crack on the exterior of a "slab" on ground telegraph through to the interior "sub floor level" and ... how do you see a 'sub floor level crack' inside the house with a slab on ground??

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    ventura, ca
    Posts
    63

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Oh....

    1. I wouldn't report it the way i said it here.
    2. The reason I included all the extra info is because
    I see this horz. cracking on other homes like this one.
    3. I'll see if I can load up a picture for ya.
    I've never done it on this forum.

    The concern I have is that I have heard that in the 50's and 60's
    there was such a thing as a 2 phase pour - where the footing was poured
    and then later the slab..
    I'll see if I can load up a picture.............

    mf

    Matt Faust
    Real Estate Inspector

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Quote Originally Posted by matt faust View Post
    The concern I have is that I have heard that in the 50's and 60's there was such a thing as a 2 phase pour - where the footing was poured and then later the slab..

    It was, and still is for some purposes, common to pour the footing, lay up the stem wall with chair block as the top row (just inspected a new house going up this way last week) where the slab will be poured into the chair block.

    However, there would not be the crack you are talking about as the edge is the block foundation wall.

    It sounds more like another style I've seen (but not seen it done in several decades) where the footing is poured, the foundation wall is laid up, and where the slab edge is poured on top of the foundation wall - that could leave the potential for the horizontal crack (between the slab and the block) you are referring to.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Fred Herndon's Avatar
    Fred Herndon Guest

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Matt,
    I am unfamiliar with this exact situation, as pretty much anything in my area with stucco has been resided due to problems with water penetration. Best guess: I am assuming the wall above the foundation/floor level is wood frame with a stucco finish? In which case it is likely the result of differential movement between the frame wall and masonry foundation. Current standards would require a weep screed at foundation level to create a joint for movement and to let and water drain out of the wall. Basically the same installation requirements and flashing details that would be required with synthetic stone veneer, which we do see a lot of.

    If this is the case I would probably report improper installation of the stucco wall finish and recommend further evaluation to determine if there has been hidden framing damage and repair by a qualified professional.

    Second posibility: this is the joint at the top course of block where the slab locks the full cut header block into place (what Jerry called the chair block), preventing it from moving with the rest of the foundation. Or, since you said these were built in the 60s, it is possible they did pour the slab directly on top of the foundation wall. In either case it (the hairline crack) is probably not going to cause further problems. It can be pointed up or coated with a product like SureWall, but will probably return with seasonal changes in soil moisture.

    Is this pretty close to how you report these cracks?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
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    562

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Jerry

    I did a draw inspection a couple of weeks ago on a commercial building with the slab and foundation walls constructed in much the same way as you described (with chair blocking). The only difference was that the 'chair' had horizontal rebar which was tied into the slab as it was poured and the block walls were laid to roof height before the slab was poured.

    My question is are there any advantages/disadvantages to this method as opposed to more commonly pouring the slab with footings followed by wall construction off the slab? Is the first method (above) used primarily if the building is block Vs. framed? Don't see too many concrete block builds in my area and almost no residential units.

    ip


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    My question is are there any advantages/disadvantages to this method as opposed to more commonly pouring the slab with footings followed by wall construction off the slab?
    Ian,

    The main difference is construction methods and site conditions.

    The slab on ground (monolithic pour) where the slab and footing are all poured at the same time is for basically very little fill under the slab (the slab is on the ground with the footing dug down, typically shallow, with little frost depth to worry about).

    The footing, stem wall, compacted fill, then the slab is basically for when the slab needs to be elevated and/or the footing needs to be down deeper to get below frost level. While this could be done with a slab on ground (monolithic pour) the foundation walls would require forming up with forms - using the block foundation walls serves this purpose (sort of).

    One of the new houses I am inspecting is on the beach (Atlantic Ocean beach) and is pilings and grade beams, formed and poured foundation walls on the grade beams, with slab on compacted fill (yeah, slab on compacted fill between grade beams seems to not make much sense - you would think the slab would be a structural slab and not relying on compacted fill, which is obviously expected to settle as the house is on pilings ... oh well, that is the architect's choice).

    The other is on a canal with footing, block foundation wall, chair block, with slab on compacted fill.

    Both slabs needed to be elevated for minimum flood elevation, frost depth for the footings is non-existent (except that minimum footing depth is 12" below frost level, with frost level being 'at grade').

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
    chris mcintyre's Avatar
    chris mcintyre Guest

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Page View Post
    My question is are there any advantages/disadvantages to this method as opposed to more commonly pouring the slab with footings followed by wall construction off the slab?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    The slab on ground (monolithic pour) where the slab and footing are all poured at the same time is for basically very little fill under the slab (the slab is on the ground with the footing dug down, typically shallow, with little frost depth to worry about).

    This is the most cost effective (cheapest)


    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post

    The footing, stem wall, compacted fill, then the slab is basically for when the slab needs to be elevated......

    This is more expensive and the reason the monolithic slab is the method of choice if the grade permits.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    No. San Diego Co., CA
    Posts
    562

    Default Re: Horizontal Crack

    Thanks both for your response. It seem that this particular construction was - architects preference. There seemed to be no other reason or purpose. The building (future retail store) was only slightly elevated above road grade, frost is a non-issue and it was adjacent to other buildings in a small commercial complex under construction in a more typical, slab on grade manner (mono pour). I should have queeried it when I did the inspection but my Spanglish isn't that good. Thanks again for your insight.

    ip


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