Results 1 to 11 of 11
  1. #1
    Katherine McAfee's Avatar
    Katherine McAfee Guest

    Default Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    I am very interested in a house that has a problem. It's on a slab, the floor has cracked in two places and shifted at least 1/2". The crack is about 2' long in each place along outside walls. You can feel the height difference. The house is 50 years old, I can see that the gutters are clogged and the downspouts end 2' about the ground. I don't know how long it has been that way. Do I need a structural engineer or can a home inspector give me an idea whether or not this is a huge defect? Thanks

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Katherine McAfee's Avatar
    Katherine McAfee Guest

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    forgot photo!

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    162

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Katherine, I would check with a foundation specialist contractor. You already know the gutters and downspouts have likely contributed something to the undermining of the foundation and (or) slab. Be careful about removal of the old cracked tiles as they may contain asbestos. See this link: Asbestos in Your Home | Asbestos | US EPA


  4. #4
    Katherine McAfee's Avatar
    Katherine McAfee Guest

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Thanks for the advice and the link.

    Katherine


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Katherine McAfee View Post
    Do I need a structural engineer or can a home inspector give me an idea whether or not this is a huge defect? Thanks
    You need a structural engineer to advise you about the foundation.

    You need a home inspector to advise you about all the other stuff you are not aware of to ask us about.

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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Check to see if there are any home inspectors who are also engineers. You might be able to kill two birds with one stone.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Naperville is 28 miles west of Chicago. Thanks, Google.

    First, be absolutely sure the floor is a concrete slab. I once inspected a sunken 'slab' and found it to be a rotten wood floor. There was no need to call for an engineer that day.

    Second, the crack in your pic looks to me that the concrete footings which support the walls are now 1/2" higher. The slab has sunk there. It is important for the footings to be solid because they support the structure. Often the slab is poured between the footings and only needs to support itself and the contents of the home. If the footings have settled badly, you might not want to buy.

    Pick a knowledgeable Home Inspector, there are a couple that lurk here, and if he says the footings appear to be alright in the 50 year old home, then the slab might be repairable with leveling compound. I say 'might' and I'm looking at a little thumbnail pic.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts
    Posts
    574

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hank Spinnler
    Be careful about removal of the old cracked tiles as they may contain asbestos. See this link: Asbestos in Your Home | Asbestos | US EPA
    This is good advice, but I don't know of any floor tiles with a "fleur de lis" design that may contain asbestos.

    Ken Amelin
    Cape Cod's Best Inspection Services
    www.midcapehomeinspection.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chicago, IL
    Posts
    2,797

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Is there a matching crack visible at the exterior of the foundation?

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
    http://paragoninspects.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
    Posts
    4,086

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    1. There is nothing preventing (it is not banned) asbestos from being in "vinyl" flooring tiles, even those sold today. That "style" or design has been around for many decades, and was quite popular in the 60s, 70s and 80s, in both tile squares and sheet goods; BTW, despite what another responder has indicated, that design is NOT "fleur di lis".

    2. I note depressions, significant where appliance or furniture leveling "feet" have sat (such as a range, refrigerator, washing machine, entertainment center, etc.) All we see in the photo is that the tile is cracked, damaged, dirty, and displaced.

    3. The "slab" is not exposed, all we see is the dirty, old, neglected, cracked, deteriorating floor covering. There is no damage, crack, etc. of a "slab" actually pictured.

    4. It would not be uncommon for such an area to show similar indications where it had later had carpet tack strips installed & later removed/torn out.

    Such are rarely level or smooth, especially near walls, especially near outside walls, especially where wall plates/sole plates were attached to the "slab" by other than set/cast threaded rod with nut and washers.

    Floor leveling compounds, such as gypcrete and others, are and were often employed. These deteriorate over time, especially high traffic areas, especially areas where the slab conducts moisture from the outside edge or from below. 50 years old doubtful the "slab" was upon anything other than stone or gravel upon earth, which in that general area (NW & W burbs) and vintage was generally clay capped and/or fill if on "slab" (late 50s through early 70s), quite a bit on drained boggy/swampy areas, and less than originally flat, assuming this "slab" is on grade, which we don't know, and the OP is ambiguous, heck could be basement "slab". By the OP's own description has been further aggrivated by failure to maintain roof and surface drainage systems.

    Keep in mind that these floor leveling compounds also often times are found to contain asbestos fibers.

    Premature leap based on the limits of what has been shared.

    Without knowing the confirmed geo specifics of the conditions, should there be an actual "slab" crack or movement, and specifics of the development, still premature.

    Of course a full & complete Professional Home Inspection is advised, its a part responsible due dillegance, as would some reasearch on your part, regarding the property development, and potential for redevelopment, expansion, etc. as is so popular in the midcentury sections of Naperville and adjacent burbs; and most especially of an older, poorly-maintained, neglected property.

    Last edited by H.G. Watson, Sr.; 10-31-2011 at 09:16 AM.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    261

    Default Re: Do I need a Structural Engineer?

    Katherine,

    I work in the Chicago area. If you are interested in a home inspection or want to discuss any concerns about the house you can contact me anytime at:
    800-573-1113
    Home

    Last edited by Mike Lamb; 10-31-2011 at 09:01 AM.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •