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  1. #1
    lee smith's Avatar
    lee smith Guest

    Question block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    ***We need some professional opinions***

    My wife and I are selling our house because we can no longer keep up with a heating and cooling costs (its too big)

    We've received a purchase agreement and they are having inspector check it out soon.

    The house is only 6 years old But I have one concern and that is the block basement foundation. The walls have vertical cracks and stair step cracks in some of the corners (it is NOT bowing) and the floor has some cracks (NO raising)
    The basement does NOT get wet at all.

    I'm sure it will affect the inspectors opinion but will it affect the sale?

    Thank you very much for any advice or opinions

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  2. #2
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Hi Lee,

    Pictures are always welcome. Step cracks are caused by setteling of the footings. This is normal. Your home is 6 years old so it should have stopped setteling by now, unless the ground surrounding your home is unstable, then you have more problems. Yes it needs to be repaired, but it is not a huge loss.

    Send us some pics of the cracks in the wall and some ooutdoor pics of the grading aound your home.

    Steve

    Quote Originally Posted by lee smith View Post
    ***We need some professional opinions***

    My wife and I are selling our house because we can no longer keep up with a heating and cooling costs (its too big)

    We've received a purchase agreement and they are having inspector check it out soon.

    The house is only 6 years old But I have one concern and that is the block basement foundation. The walls have vertical cracks and stair step cracks in some of the corners (it is NOT bowing) and the floor has some cracks (NO raising)
    The basement does NOT get wet at all.

    I'm sure it will affect the inspectors opinion but will it affect the sale?

    Thank you very much for any advice or opinions


    Last edited by Stephen G; 11-15-2011 at 05:20 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
    5,005

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    The question is whether or not the cracks are stable or active.

    I don't think step/vertical cracking is normal in a six year old house, much depends on soils used in back filling, and whether or not the backfill was improperly done such as boulders large rocks hitting the foundation.

    The floor cracks may not be related to the wall cracks.

    Just because there is no bowing does not mean the wall is stable. Too many variables.

    If in doubt retain a geotechnical engineer.


  4. #4
    Greg Kelly's Avatar
    Greg Kelly Guest

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Lee,
    Photos would be helpful, but you may want to have a local reputable block layer look at the situation. The inspector will probably recommend that anyway. You will have a better perspective of what your dealing with before the inspection.

    Greg


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

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Quote Originally Posted by lee smith View Post
    ***We need some professional opinions***

    My wife and I are selling our house because we can no longer keep up with a heating and cooling costs (its too big)

    We've received a purchase agreement and they are having inspector check it out soon.

    The house is only 6 years old But I have one concern and that is the block basement foundation. The walls have vertical cracks and stair step cracks in some of the corners (it is NOT bowing) and the floor has some cracks (NO raising)
    The basement does NOT get wet at all.

    I'm sure it will affect the inspectors opinion but will it affect the sale?

    Thank you very much for any advice or opinions

    I don't know about Canada but around here a 6 year old home is still under warranty for the foundation from the builder or the foundation company that installed it.

    No, cracking should ever be considered normal at all. I have inspectors all around me that use that term. "Due to the expansive clay soils in this region cracking is to be expected." I inspect after them and when I do call for a foundation analysis there is always a fix required even if it is grading and drainage or a perimeter drainage system. There is always a reason for movement and almost always a fix for it unless the home was built on a landfill of sorts and even then depending on the situation piers can be put in to stabilize the home. There are cracks for a reason and not to be considered normal. I have seen homes of all ages that have never moved in any visible manner.

    Your foundation and floor will be written up by any inspector. Anyone buying the home is going to want answers. No one that I have met would buy a home without those answers. I would advise a structural to engineer to cause and repair. Present that to your builder. Step cracks and horizontal cracks in the wall show dead on that the walls are not stable and they do need repair.

    I should add that when I do believe a fix is needed the buyer has a foundation company come in and then the seller (not being happy about the findings) has a foundation company come in as well. There is always a mutual agreement that a fix is needed and the only difference is possibly the extent of the fix or type or placement of piers or drainage system.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Caledon, Ontario
    Posts
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    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Up here in Ontario the new home warranty is for 2 years on water leakage, et ceteras, and 7 years for structural issues which must make the home uninhabitable.

    Shrinkage cracks do occur and can be considered quite the norm in concrete floors, or poured walls.

    Basement floors are not integral to the foundation and up here the basement floor is always poured last.


  7. #7
    lee smith's Avatar
    lee smith Guest

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Thanks guys,
    all of your opinions and advice are greatly appreciated.
    I will do what is nessary to take care this situation.
    Thanks again and take care


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,828

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    if it's cracking at the corners and you have downspouts draining next to the house at the corners. That is the cause. Extend the downspots away from the house 15 feet or to down grade.
    Have an inspector look at the cracks also.


  9. #9
    James Duffin's Avatar
    James Duffin Guest

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    You most likely have no drainage at the footing so the settling and cracking is being caused by water that has no place to go. There is no easy fix to the problem so all you can do is address the symptoms to get the house sold. I would concentrate on the wall cracks.


  10. #10
    lee smith's Avatar
    lee smith Guest

    Talking Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Thanks guys,

    I'm not making excuses, but here are some Conditions of the house From being built till now.
    The house took 3 years to build ( I sub contracted everything out but I won't do that again)

    -The first winter it was just a shell with no electricity to run a sub pump Or furnace for heat.

    - the soil is a very heavy clay with a kinda high water table.

    - And we didn't have downspouts for the first 4 years.

    -The block walls where rebared and core filled every two feet.

    I hope this helps come up with a reason.
    Thanks once again guys


  11. #11
    Greg Kelly's Avatar
    Greg Kelly Guest

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Lee,
    You pretty much explained why the foundation has cracked / failed.

    Heavy clay backfill
    Poor drainage
    Possible frost damage

    Was the rebar run vertical and horizontally and tied?
    What size of block? Was the web of the block filled with concrete?
    What is the backfill height?

    Sounds like an expensive fix.

    Greg


  12. #12
    Greg Kelly's Avatar
    Greg Kelly Guest

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    Lee,
    If the original build was inspected and passed by the municipality, you may want to have them inspect the existing.

    Greg


  13. #13
    lee smith's Avatar
    lee smith Guest

    Default Re: block basement foundation has floor and wall crackdown

    The cracks have been there ( and haven't changed ) for the last 4 yes.

    The basement is only 4.5' underground. And was back filled with sand. The block (web) was vertically rebarred and filled with concrete every two feet.

    That's a good idea to have the original inspector come look at it.


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