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  1. #1
    MAURICE DURHAM's Avatar
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    Default house and garage gap

    Where the attached garage comes together with the rest of the house I notice the bricks are not stair-stepped and the house and garage are like two separate units. I assume this is so as settling occurs the garage and house can move separately and not crack the bricks as it allows for expansion. But the gap is too wide for comfort and I can put fingers between the gap. is this normal? Will the gap contract?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    A 'control' joint should be about 1/2 to 5/8 wide. You install backer-rod and caulk it.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Quote Originally Posted by MAURICE DURHAM View Post
    Where the attached garage comes together with the rest of the house I notice the bricks are not stair-stepped and the house and garage are like two separate units. I assume this is so as settling occurs the garage and house can move separately and not crack the bricks as it allows for expansion. But the gap is too wide for comfort and I can put fingers between the gap. is this normal? Will the gap contract?
    Gaps don't usually get smaller. Except maybe in Texas, see below.

    Is the gap a uniform width from top to bottom?

    Is it possible the garage was added to the house at a later date?

    What is the drainage like in that area? Expansive soil?

    Last edited by John Kogel; 08-13-2010 at 06:12 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
    MAURICE DURHAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    The gap is not uniform, it starts at the bottom narrow and widens as it goes up. It is not an addition. The home is on black Texas soil, drainage usually a problem. I do notice a corresponding crack on the floor inside the garage. There is no separation in the crack in the garage floor.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Quote Originally Posted by MAURICE DURHAM View Post
    Where the attached garage comes together with the rest of the house I notice the bricks are not stair-stepped and the house and garage are like two separate units. I assume this is so as settling occurs the garage and house can move separately and not crack the bricks as it allows for expansion. But the gap is too wide for comfort and I can put fingers between the gap. is this normal? Will the gap contract?
    No it is not "normal", common in our area but is not "normal" (as in, to be present on every house.)
    This sounds like an expansion joint designed to allow for slight movement in the brick.
    Yes it will close up when moisture conditions change. Leave the gap open unless it is causing issues like letting in critters.

    FIX THE DRAINAGE problems and establish a watering plan to try and maintain consistent moisture around both the house and garage.
    The house and garage WILL move with changes in the moisture content of the soil and the more consistent the moisture content on all sides of the house 365 days of the year, the less movement and stress is exerted on the house.
    Once the house has gone through a year or more of reaching a new equilibrium with the new drainage and watering plan, THEN you MIGHT caulk with backer rods and a permanently flexible product.
    Also look at the possiblity of moisture issues from broken water or sewer lines as well as trees, etc. pulling moisture away from the foundation.

    Last edited by Jim Luttrall; 08-13-2010 at 05:28 PM.
    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  6. #6
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Thanks for all the good advice!


  7. #7
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Maurice

    Do you have pictures you can post?

    Expansion joints due to thermal expansion should be uniform in width.

    The crack you described is typically due to rotation of the foundation which is not something you design for but something you design to prevent.

    Randy Mayo, P.E.
    RLM & Associates, LLC


  8. #8
    MAURICE DURHAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Here are the images which show I have backer-rodded and sealed. The gap widens as it moves upward.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Maurice

    I need a few shots farther back showing the foundation the brick is setting on and possibly any interior shots for the exposed foundation and slab. Do you have any of those shots?


  10. #10
    MAURICE DURHAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Here are more pics. Contrary to what I thought, the crack on the floor of the garage does not correspond to the expansion gap. The floor lining up to that gap is not exposed. A few feet back from the expansion gap is a crack that corresponds to the crack in the garage floor that runs across its length.


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  11. #11
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Typical foundation movement, likely due to moisture issues as previously discussed. Keep an eye on the expansion joint once the fall rains set in since you may need to remove it to allow the wall to move back in the other direction without damaging the brick.
    I can't stress enough to look at the drainage around the entire house and get on a consistent watering schedule during the dry seasons.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  12. #12
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Maurice

    I have attached one of your pictures with a red line connecting the crack pattern. There appears to be differential settlement taking place with everything left of the red line rotating in a counter clockwise direction. The likely cause as Jim mentioned is water ponding next to your foundation. It is critical that moisture levels under a house remain constant. If one area gets wetter than another that area can not support the weight. Is this house sitting on a post-tensioned slab?

    Randy Mayo, P.E.
    RLM & Associates, LLC

    DropShots.com


  13. #13
    MAURICE DURHAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    I do not believe it is. I am selling this house. This won't be an issue during inspection, will it?


  14. #14
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Yes it is a post tension slab as you can see the exposed pocket in one of the wider shots.
    Yes, it will be noted in the report by most competent inspectors and since it is a problem now known to you, it should be disclosed by you per state required disclosure laws.
    By the way, the exposed post tension cable end should also be repaired by a qualified foundation repair company.
    My advice is to call a couple of foundation companies to get a bid for repairs and fix the problems or you can just disclose it and roll the dice.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  15. #15
    MAURICE DURHAM's Avatar
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    But what am I exposing? Won't the inspector on site make the determination if it is a problem? Or am I suppose to mention these online determinations? Can you be 100% sure it's a problem without being on site? I do want to do the right thing.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: house and garage gap

    Maurice

    In my opinion you and Jim both have valid points. A good inspector who has access to more than just a few pictures on-line should be able to determine the extent of the problem or will suggest a structural engineer and/or a licensed foundation contractor look at your situation. Your point about comments made by an on-line message board do not put you in a position of knowing for a fact that you have a problem is valid. Ultimately the ball is in your court and you get to decide if you want to hold the information or pass it.

    Good Luck


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