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  1. #1
    Chris Imhof's Avatar
    Chris Imhof Guest

    Default Home buying: Cracked brick veneer

    I am currently looking to buy a home which has a cracked brick veneer.

    My standard home inspection is today, I hope to find out more as we continue to investigate. The home was built in 1980, Maryland, only one side of home appears to have a brick veneer. The home is a quad level, 1st and 3rd floor on front of home, 2nd and 4th floor at rear. Front entrance and left side of home the foundation comes up just above grade it appears, at the right rear of home foundation is exposed on outside, with 2nd floor opening to lowered grade. The wall has been patched and painted, the current homeowners have not responded yet about their knowledge of wall (they bought in 2005). The home doesn't appear to have any other noticeable signs of settlement, uneven floors, problems with doors, cracked interior walls, water, in fact the home has been vacant for 8 months, and no signs of water damage, mold, smell, etc, although my home inspector will do a more thorough inspection. The lower basement is finished with an ACT ceiling, and a sump pump. The wall in question is exposed to the southwest.

    See pics:

    https://picasaweb.google.com/1163697...eat=directlink

    I am obviously concerned about the condition of the home, $$$, and how to deal with seller in this situation. My research has lead me to believe this can be anything from bad ties, thermal expansion to something much more serious.

    What methods will the home inspector use to inspect the structure of the home as it pertains to this crack?

    How much does the basement being finished hinder their ability to inspect? Would a structural engineer be able to inspect the foundation in this situation without digging (or at least minimal digging) or taking down drywall?

    How should I feel if my licensed inspector says there is nothing else wrong at all with the home, besides a crack in a veneer wall?

    A little extra background, I am a mechanical engineer, do MEP construction for mostly retail, and do a lot of jobs around the house. I am certainly not a home inspector or a structural engineer, or a homebuilder, architect, or mason, but I believe my mind is geared to what you'all have to say, so let me know what you think.

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: Home buying: Cracked brick veneer

    I see only one pic of the brick veneer and don't see the crack. Veneer is just veneer, so a crack wouldn't worry me too much. I don't like the ceiling in that first pic. But the question is usually "has the movement stopped?" Old cracks can be patched.

    You could have the perimeter drains scoped by a drainage contractor. I don't see anything alarming in those pics. But a steep slope can be trouble if runoff isn't controlled properly.

    Speaking of alarms, there is a battery powered water alarm that you can place beside the sump pit. Buy a spare pump for insurance. However, that pit area looks pretty dry.

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

  3. #3
    Chris Imhof's Avatar
    Chris Imhof Guest

    Default Re: Home buying: Cracked brick veneer

    Update:

    Home inspection done, home inspector said he saw no reason for concern, or to call in a structural engineer.

    I noticed this was the only home of this style with a crack like this, or a crack at all, but I also noticed the WEEP HOLES were covered, the bottom of brick veneer was below grade, all the other homes this wall of home had an exposed foundation, and exposed weep holes, anyone with input of how clogged, covered, or no weep holes could affect a brick veneer wall.


  4. #4
    Chris Imhof's Avatar
    Chris Imhof Guest

    Default Re: Home buying: Cracked brick veneer

    Another update: stopped by home tonight, talked with neighbor checking his mail. Said he had lived in neighborhood for 12 years, crack had always existed. First it was bare, and then two different tenants painted over wall. Said he knew most recent owner for last 7 years, had been in the unit several times, sometimes to help fix odds and ends, never noticed anything suspicious, no flooding, mold, cracks, shifts, etc.

    I think it's enough for to almost put this to bed, but any opinion would help.


  5. #5
    Chris Imhof's Avatar
    Chris Imhof Guest

    Default Re: Home buying: Cracked brick veneer

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I see only one pic of the brick veneer and don't see the crack. Veneer is just veneer, so a crack wouldn't worry me too much. I don't like the ceiling in that first pic. But the question is usually "has the movement stopped?" Old cracks can be patched.

    You could have the perimeter drains scoped by a drainage contractor. I don't see anything alarming in those pics. But a steep slope can be trouble if runoff isn't controlled properly.

    Speaking of alarms, there is a battery powered water alarm that you can place beside the sump pit. Buy a spare pump for insurance. However, that pit area looks pretty dry.
    What didn't you like about ceiling, is it the change in tone, making it look like work had been done in foreground area?

    It appears there might have been a coat closet at entrance, that was replaced with more of a permanent dry-sink/breakfast bar/shelving thing of crap.


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