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  1. #1
    Gary Cao's Avatar
    Gary Cao Guest

    Default Help needed: Foundation crack

    Hi All,

    I'm a first-time home buyer. The inspector found a vertical crack in the basement wall (see pictures). He thought it's a typical shrinkage crack and should be fine. But I'm very concerned about it since I'm not sure if this could be caused by on-going settlement. The house was built in 2007, and the other side of the wall should be just soil.
    Any of your comments is highly appreciated!!!

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  2. #2
    Gary Cao's Avatar
    Gary Cao Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Can anyone provide any suggestion? I really need some information to make a decision ASAP!
    Thank you so much!


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Cao View Post
    Can anyone provide any suggestion? I really need some information to make a decision ASAP!
    Thank you so much!
    There are a lot of things that can come into play with cracking. If your not satified with your inspectors opinion, I would suggest contacting an engineer.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Without more pictures, you should not expect that anyone can give you anything but an educated guess. So here is mine;
    Unless there is other evidence, the notations on the pictures are reasonable.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    Without more pictures, you should not expect that anyone can give you anything but an educated guess. So here is mine;
    Unless there is other evidence, the notations on the pictures are reasonable.
    And here is another educated guess: That crack could be a problem, not only for water penetration, but for movement.

    As Dan said - you need to hire a structural engineer to go out and look at it.

    The notations on the photos said about sealing the crack from inside for moisture protection - always seal the cracks from outside if you want to be sure it is going to be a good repair, however, there is a huge cost difference as the soil outside that wall would need to be removed to seal the outside of that wall, where sealing the inside is easy.

    Personally, I don't like straight cracks through concrete, and I don't see any expansion strip or control joint where noted (but I was not there, just looking at the photo, the inspector actually there had a better and closer view of it.

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

  6. #6
    Gary Cao's Avatar
    Gary Cao Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Thanks much, Dan and Rick.
    These two pictures are actually all I'm having now. But they almost cover the whole crack.
    Any educated guess is welcome. Thanks much!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Cao View Post
    Hi All,

    I'm a first-time home buyer. The inspector found a vertical crack in the basement wall (see pictures). He thought it's a typical shrinkage crack and should be fine. But I'm very concerned about it since I'm not sure if this could be caused by on-going settlement. The house was built in 2007, and the other side of the wall should be just soil.
    Any of your comments is highly appreciated!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Cao View Post
    Can anyone provide any suggestion? I really need some information to make a decision ASAP!
    Thank you so much!
    .
    Concrete does two Things ( where have I heard that before ? ) it Gets hard and it Cracks.

    From what I see ( which is Limited ) they seem typical .

    If you are already having Buyers Remorse Contact a Professional Engineer for further evaluation.

    It Might have Choked Artie But it ain't gone'a choke Stymie! Our Gang " The Pooch " (1932)
    Billy J. Stephens HI Service Memphis TN.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    The basement is about 5 years old and there is no moisture stain at that crack line. They may have installed a waterproof membrane on the outside. I don't know what standard practice is in your area. You could ask the builder.

    A crack that is evenly spaced top to bottom is most likely from concrete shrinkage while it was curing.

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

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Billy Stephens View Post
    Concrete does two Things ( where have I heard that before ? ) it Gets hard and it Cracks.
    Yep ... it do.

    The reason I am thinking it is not just a 'typical' crack is that it is: a) at the side of that beam pocket; b) is wider than I would expect; c) and is almost aligned with the floor crack - like something moved.

    A question would be: Is the wall straight in plane?

    Place a long straight edge over the crack, say an 8 foot straight edge (straight 2x4, steel angle, etc.) and center it on the crack - does the straight edge rock side to side (indicating the wall has bowed inward) or is the wall and the straight edge pretty much aligned across both sides of the crack.

    Repeat with the floor.

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

  10. #10
    Gary Cao's Avatar
    Gary Cao Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    The basement is about 5 years old and there is no moisture stain at that crack line. They may have installed a waterproof membrane on the outside. I don't know what standard practice is in your area. You could ask the builder.

    A crack that is evenly spaced top to bottom is most likely from concrete shrinkage while it was curing.
    Yes, there is waterproof membrane on the outside.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Some builders around here say in a home owners manual that they give to buyers that they disclaim cracks up to 3/8" wide as normal and that they are a common condition associated with poured concrete. I will say that based on the limited view and limited info provided in the pics, I see those same cracks all the time. If the cracks aren't displaced, don't get progressively wider, and don't have any evidence of moisture penetration, I don't call for any corrective measures. I'll just make note of their presence verbally and in my report and leave it at that. However, I would like to know what type of lot the house is build on. If it's a cut-and-fill lot, it could indicate an issue.

    What did the sealant applied to the exterior crack look like? Was it stretched or cracked? If it was, it would indicate some level of continued movement.

    Last edited by Nick Ostrowski; 03-04-2012 at 10:49 AM.
    "It takes a big man to cry. It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man". - Jack Handey

  12. #12
    Gary Cao's Avatar
    Gary Cao Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Some builders around here say in a home owners manual that they give to buyers that they disclaim cracks up to 3/8" wide as normal and that they are a common condition associated with poured concrete. I will say that based on the limited view and limited info provided in the pics, I see those same cracks all the time. If the cracks aren't displaced, don't get progressively wider, and don't have any evidence of moisture penetration, I don't call for any corrective measures. I'll just make note of their presence verbally and in my report and leave it at that. However, I would like to know what type of lot the house is build on. If it's a cut-and-fill lot, it could indicate an issue.

    What did the sealant applied to the exterior crack look like? Was it stretched or cracked? If it was, it would indicate some level of continued movement.
    Thanks Nick. Very helpful information especially considering the similar weather between Madison and Philadelphia. I don't know what type of lot it is. I can only get "it's standard lot" from listing as a first-time home buyer. I don't think any sealant has been applied the crack. Maybe I didn't get what you meant correctly...


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Gotcha Gary. I thing when you mentioned there was a waterproof membrane applied to the exterior, I took that to mean there was some sealant applied over the crack.

    Does the crack show on the exterior side of the foundation wall as well?

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

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    IMO, none of us can comment on your foundation in a manner that can eliminate your concerns, as none of us have seen it.

    If you want to determine the status of this foundation, have it inspected by a structural engineer experienced in the evaluation of residential construction.

    ___________

    WRT other foundations I have seen, I observe such cracks (sometimes including at the corners of beam pockets) in the majority of modem concrete foundations I inspect.

    Whenever an engineer is present for any reason, I always ask them them look at all foundations anomalies I have observed.

    I have never had an engineer express any concern over isolated, vertical, narrow non-displaced cracks in otherwise nominal residential foundation walls other than as a potential or active source of water intrusion.

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

  15. #15
    Gary Cao's Avatar
    Gary Cao Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Ostrowski View Post
    Gotcha Gary. I thing when you mentioned there was a waterproof membrane applied to the exterior, I took that to mean there was some sealant applied over the crack.

    Does the crack show on the exterior side of the foundation wall as well?
    Hi Nick, a so called Tuff-N-Dri waterproofing system was applied to the foundation, which I don't understand well. I can't see the exterior side of the foundation wall either...
    Thanks again.


  16. #16
    Gary Cao's Avatar
    Gary Cao Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Thanks Michael. Great information.
    As a matter of fact, I just contacted a professional structural engineer. He was kind enough to let me send him picture before he decide to come and take a look. Judging from the picture, he sounds quite confident this is a shrinkage crack and should have no structural concern except potential water leaking. Basically pretty much the same conclusion as the inspector provided.
    So should I go ahead with the purchase (otherwise I'm pretty satisfied with the house)? Or am I a bit over-concerned?

    Thanks again all!


    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    IMO, none of us can comment on your foundation in a manner that can eliminate your concerns, as none of us have seen it.

    If you want to determine the status of this foundation, have it inspected by a structural engineer experienced in the evaluation of residential construction.

    ___________

    WRT other foundations I have seen, I observe such cracks (sometimes including at the corners of beam pockets) in the majority of modem concrete foundations I inspect.

    Whenever an engineer is present for any reason, I always ask them them look at all foundations anomalies I have observed.

    I have never had an engineer express any concern over isolated, vertical, narrow non-displaced cracks in otherwise nominal residential foundation walls other than as a potential or active source of water intrusion.



  17. #17
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Quote Originally Posted by Gary Cao View Post
    So should I go ahead with the purchase (otherwise I'm pretty satisfied with the house)? Or am I a bit over-concerned?
    See: Should I buy this house?

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

  18. #18
    Tanya Willette's Avatar
    Tanya Willette Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Whether the crack was caused by shrinking or settling - both are very normal circumstances. Repair the crack with a polyurethane resin so if the foundation shrinks or settles further, the polyurethane will stretch with the foundation to keep the crack repaired.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    Why would a proper mix concrete, poured and rebared wall or floor crack at all? It looks like the floor was poured after the wall but the crack is following the same line? I have to think that the left side is settling for some reason or other than shrinking.

    My last new house had an 80x30 block foundation with a 20x20 block wall inside the south front corner for a double wide garage at the upper level. The 20x20 was filled with red clay and the garage floor was poured on the clay and over the 20x20 portion of the foundation wall. Then the house went up over all of that.
    Two years later, I had a crack line in the basement front block's mortar top to bottom, 3 feet from the garage wall foundation. I also found an inspection panel in the rear wall of the garage foundation. There I could see the entire bottom of the slab just a hanging there. The fill had settled 3-5 inches beneath the slab. It was totally supported by it's block wall support. That fill must not have been properly packed.The slab never cracked in the next 4 yrs I lived there. That was some good concrete mix and well reinforced.


  20. #20
    Stephen G's Avatar
    Stephen G Guest

    Default Re: Help needed: Foundation crack

    In picture #2 is there any air gap around that beam, inside the pocket. I see that the pocket is covered, whats behind it, is it filled with grout or mortor or insulation...

    Why is the beam sitting so high in that pocket. What is the beam sitting on..

    Questions we have lots of...


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