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  1. #1
    TJ Moore's Avatar
    TJ Moore Guest

    Default Foundation question - help!

    Hi,

    My wife and I recently purchased a home we love, and had the home inspected by a home inspector. He pointed out a crack in the foundation. It runs vertically, from ceiling to floor, and is a tiny bit wider at the top.......but it basically a hairline crack. He didn't seem all too worried about it, but mentioned we could have it filled if we were concerned.

    After we purchased the property, I took a closer look, and noticed that the middle section of the left wall of the basement foundation is slightly uneven (i.e. not in a straight line with the floor). Also, I noticed that the concrete basement floor isn't completely flush with the wall. It's a 20 year old home, and seems pretty level. Could this just be a result of the intial shrinking/settling of the foundation......or should I be more worried. Pictures here - Pictures by tjndnd - Photobucket
    PS - Also, the home has sold 6 times since 1993, so....I'm guessing that assuming each sale had a home inspection, if there was a MAJOR issue, it wouldn't have sold so much.

    Thanks!
    TJ


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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Bennett (Denver metro), Colorado
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    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    I don't see any issues to be concerned with in your photos. Your photo of the basement wall appears to show the wall to be bowed in. If that is true, it appears that it wasn't formed up in a straight line (shame on the concrete contractor, but that sort of thing happens). The basement slab is poured after the walls are poured. The slab would have held the wall in place, at least at the bottom, so it could not have bowed in sometime after construction. Secondly, that much of a bow (it looks like about half to an inch out of alignment from your photo) would have a nasty crack or two if it had bowed in that much after construction.

    And I agree with your inspector that the vertical crack appears to be a common crack that doesn't deserve any remedy or concern. Concrete shrinks some when it dries, and hairline cracks are normal. When they gap, or displace in some manner, then consultation with a structural engineer may be appropriate.

    Always hard to tell for sure from photos, but that is my two cents and where I work, cracked foundation walls and slabs are so common that my report has pre-printed in it, "Appears Serviceable (with common cracks)"


  3. #3
    TJ Moore's Avatar
    TJ Moore Guest

    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    Thanks for the reply. I figured it wasn't structural, only because.....when people talk about basement walls "bowing" due to outside forces, don't then generally bow "horizontally" as opposed to "vertically" like my wall (if that makes sense). Also, it appears to only be that one section/form....the rest of the wall around it is perfectly straight. Doesn't look great, but I'm more relived that it probably isn't from potential wall failure.

    Thanks again!


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    Yes, about external pressure on foundation walls and a nasty horizontal crack .


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Lake Barrington, IL
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    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    TJ - the vertical cracks are generally "harmless." Having the crack a bit wider towards the top is usually due to some "normal" shrinkage. If water doesn't seep through it leave it alone. If you're going to finish that area of the basement and want to be sure of it not leaking then have it epoxy injected.

    As for the gap between the floor and foundation - not to worry. Again it's due to shrinkage. And don't expect foundation walls to be totally straight and plumb - that's wishful thinking. If foundations are having problems they usually indicate so with companion cracks. Your concerns are well appreciated, many of my clients express them. From what you're describing I am not hearing anything alarming. And don't hesitate to call your inspector with questions. A good inspector will want to hear from you if you have questions.

    Eric Barker, ACI
    Lake Barrington, IL

  6. #6
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by TJ Moore View Post
    Hi,

    My wife and I recently purchased a home we love, and had the home inspected by a home inspector. He pointed out a crack in the foundation. It runs vertically, from ceiling to floor, and is a tiny bit wider at the top.......but it basically a hairline crack. He didn't seem all too worried about it, but mentioned we could have it filled if we were concerned.

    After we purchased the property, I took a closer look, and noticed that the middle section of the left wall of the basement foundation is slightly uneven (i.e. not in a straight line with the floor). Also, I noticed that the concrete basement floor isn't completely flush with the wall. It's a 20 year old home, and seems pretty level. Could this just be a result of the intial shrinking/settling of the foundation......or should I be more worried. Pictures here - Pictures by tjndnd - Photobucket
    PS - Also, the home has sold 6 times since 1993, so....I'm guessing that assuming each sale had a home inspection, if there was a MAJOR issue, it wouldn't have sold so much.

    Thanks!
    TJ
    I have a little different take on the matter.

    First off, you are concerned. That is concern enough to take the second step as in asking for advise. The third step would be to talk to a foundation company or even an engineer and ask them what could possibly be done to keep this movement in check over time.

    I assume that the crack in the basement wall is right under the crack in the room above it that goes to the ceiling. Personally I would not have it even though at this time it is of no major concern. I would follow up on that third step because I would not want the matter to get worse over time and if a reasonable (what ever you think may be within reason) price tag to possible halt further movement and keep this crack from opening causing more damage and water getting into the basement, go for it.

    If it does get any worse and say you have to sell the home for work or just decide to move in the near future then you will be stuck with the bigger repair or bigger allowance to the next seller.

    Just some thoughts. Not trying to alarm. Just giving future advise and thoughts.

    Yes, your inspector was right. No big deal.................. now


  7. #7
    TJ Moore's Avatar
    TJ Moore Guest

    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    Hi Ted,

    Thanks for the follow up. I am planning on getting the crack filled, mostly for piece of mind. I have put a level to all walls and floors on the side with that wall.......and they all are just about perfectly level. If the foundation was sinking, shouldn't the floors and walls be off even a little bit and reflect this?? The crack I believe is due to shrinkage.....I am fortunate that it isn't leaking in any way. I am still going to get it checked out and addressed/filled.

    I have accepted that the "bow" in the middle section of wall isn't due to movement, but instead to that form/section being poured unevenly initially. Sucks cosmetically, but at least it isn't a sign of failure. I find it impossible that soil or external pressure could "push" in one small section of a wall, without horizontally cracking any other parts of said wall.

    Thanks again for everyone's input. It is very much appreciated!


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    NY Finger Lakes Area
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    206

    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by TJ Moore View Post
    Hi Ted,

    . I find it impossible that soil or external pressure could "push" in one small section of a wall, without horizontally cracking any other parts of said wall.

    Thanks again for everyone's input. It is very much appreciated!
    ............not so. I've seen several poured/placed concrete walls that bowed without any other attendant cracking. In a couple instances, walls were backfilled and tamped to permit modular roll-on installations without the benefit of the basement floor having been poured. Concrete (new) is surprisingly "elastic".


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Snowbird (this means I'm retired and migrate between locations), FL/MI
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    4,086

    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    Quote Originally Posted by TJ Moore View Post
    Hi,


    My wife and I recently purchased a home we love, and had the home inspected by a home inspector. He pointed out a crack in the foundation. It runs vertically, from ceiling to floor, and is a tiny bit wider at the top.......but it basically a hairline crack. He didn't seem all too worried about it, but mentioned we could have it filled if we were concerned.


    After we purchased the property, I took a closer look, and noticed that the middle section of the left wall of the basement foundation is slightly uneven (i.e. not in a straight line with the floor). Also, I noticed that the concrete basement floor isn't completely flush with the wall. It's a 20 year old home, and seems pretty level. Could this just be a result of the intial shrinking/settling of the foundation......or should I be more worried. Pictures here - Pictures by tjndnd - Photobucket

    PS - Also, the home has sold 6 times since 1993, so....I'm guessing that assuming each sale had a home inspection, if there was a MAJOR issue, it wouldn't have sold so much.


    Thanks!

    TJ
    Why have you created two member id's ("TJ Moore" and "tjmoore1"), claimed to be from both glen ellyn and Lake In the Hills, IL (linked to the same photobucket album pics) and asked basically the same question both times?

    Do you not read the responses? Or do you "not get" that when you post in a technical area for actual Home Inspectors, your threads are going to be moved to the "Questions from Home Owners, Home Buyers and DIYers" non-technical area?


    Here is your other thread:

    http://www.inspectionnews.net/home_i...-part-2-a.html


  10. #10
    Tanya Willette's Avatar
    Tanya Willette Guest

    Default Re: Foundation question - help!

    Vertical cracks are very common and the fact that it is a hairline crack further supports that theory. Like any crack, you should repair it so the crack doesn't get any larger. You can use a polyurethane resin which will flex - if the foundation settles or shifts again, the polyurethane will flex with the foundation to keep the crack repaired. If you have water or humidity problems, seal your basement to prevent further cracking and seal out water and moisture.


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