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  1. #1
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    Default Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    I am looking at purchasing a home. It is 15 years old. A crack turned up on the inspection report. The inspector simply stated "to watch the crack". The original home owner paid a company to repair it. They sealed the crack. I am not 100% sure when that was done. I am in the process of having a structural engineer to come out and give his evaluation.

    1.) Is this common to see on a 15 year old house and be such a long crack?
    I have been reading up on it a lot in the past few days since it came up on the report.
    2.) Is there anyway the structural engineer will be able to tell without tearing into a wall to see how the lintel was attached to the header that runs above the garage where the crack would appear to have come from?
    3.) Should I be concerned as far as the value of the home that shows this cosmetic defect when and if I should decide to sell it later on down the road? In other words will it hurt my resale value and is there anything I can do about the sealed crack from a cosmetic point of view so that it would not turn up later on an inspection report?

    Thanks for any advice.

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    Quote Originally Posted by xtreme inspection View Post
    I am looking at purchasing a home. It is 15 years old. A crack turned up on the inspection report. The inspector simply stated "to watch the crack". The original home owner paid a company to repair it. They sealed the crack. I am not 100% sure when that was done. I am in the process of having a structural engineer to come out and give his evaluation.

    1.) Is this common to see on a 15 year old house and be such a long crack?
    I have been reading up on it a lot in the past few days since it came up on the report.
    2.) Is there anyway the structural engineer will be able to tell without tearing into a wall to see how the lintel was attached to the header that runs above the garage where the crack would appear to have come from?
    3.) Should I be concerned as far as the value of the home that shows this cosmetic defect when and if I should decide to sell it later on down the road? In other words will it hurt my resale value and is there anything I can do about the sealed crack from a cosmetic point of view so that it would not turn up later on an inspection report?

    Thanks for any advice.
    Nobody can or will tell you what might happen in the future. Bottom line is if it is a concern to you and you have an uneasy feeling you should not buy the home because it will always bother you. Even an engineer will not tell you that the home will not have future problems, they tend to dance around the subject and are non committal.

    Cracks are most common around garage openings simply due to the design of the opening. You need to understand that brick on home is not structural, it is a veneer that will reflect any movement in the structure. IF the home was clad in wood, Hardieboard or vinyl you would not have a crack or even know that the home had settled/moved.

    What part of TN are you in? Some parts of the state have sinkholes and areas that were mined for phosphates and those areas have more homes with issues.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    Hi Scott, Iam in Murfreesboro. Thanks for the reply. Yeh Iam really torn as to what to do. My main concern is that even if I can live with it, Iam worried that any future potential buyer might be scared off because of this and thus the value of the home would decrease. Is there anything that could be done with the brick to cover the crack up and possibly paint over it to hide the seal that was done? Right now it sticks out pretty good. The inspector said in his opinion it wasn't sealed the best way; it shows a cosmetic defect that is easily detected by any inspection.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    Quote Originally Posted by xtreme inspection View Post
    Hi Scott, Iam in Murfreesboro. Thanks for the reply. Yeh Iam really torn as to what to do. My main concern is that even if I can live with it, Iam worried that any future potential buyer might be scared off because of this and thus the value of the home would decrease. Is there anything that could be done with the brick to cover the crack up and possibly paint over it to hide the seal that was done? Right now it sticks out pretty good. The inspector said in his opinion it wasn't sealed the best way; it shows a cosmetic defect that is easily detected by any inspection.
    Murfreesboro is not all that bad as far as the soil conditions, they have a few sink hole areas out east and south of town towards Woodbury. Honestly I would say that about 75% of all brick clad homes I look at will have a crack in the brick somewhere and most of the time it is around the garage.

    That looks like a straight vertical crack that broke the bricks in half so not much can be done with it. As long as you see no other signs of foundation movement issues inside the home, I would not think that it would effect the value of the home, but you never know.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    Thank you for the honesty Scott. I appreciate it.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    The brick is sitting on the lintel, so you would have to take out the door trim to get to it. it is most likely not attached to the header at all.

    As for a cosmetic correction, you could cut out the cracked brick and reset new in their place. Not as cheep as caulk but looks better.

    For future sale take pictures of wall at all angles and keep PE report to demonstrate that there has not been any movement for future buyer, because the next person will have the same questions as you have now.


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    I don't know how 'long' the wall is, but since that crack is almost straight down, talk to a competent mason about making that crack a control joint. He could saw cut it and fill the cut with caulk. It may turn out to look like the joint was built in place. Of course, the mason must do some investigation first to determine wall ties and the such.

    Darren www.aboutthehouseinspections.com
    'Whizzing & pasting & pooting through the day (Ronnie helping Kenny helping burn his poots away!) (FZ)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Miller View Post
    I don't know how 'long' the wall is, but since that crack is almost straight down, talk to a competent mason about making that crack a control joint. He could saw cut it and fill the cut with caulk. It may turn out to look like the joint was built in place. Of course, the mason must do some investigation first to determine wall ties and the such.
    That was exactly my thought. Even if you replaced the brick, it would most likely return if it is an expansion/contraction area. If nothing else has moved, that would be the best solution.

    Randy Gordon, construction
    Michigan Building Inspector/Plan Reviewer

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    Murfreesboro is not all that bad as far as the soil conditions, they have a few sink hole areas out east and south of town towards Woodbury. Honestly I would say that about 75% of all brick clad homes I look at will have a crack in the brick somewhere and most of the time it is around the garage.

    That looks like a straight vertical crack that broke the bricks in half so not much can be done with it. As long as you see no other signs of foundation movement issues inside the home, I would not think that it would effect the value of the home, but you never know.
    We see similar cracks around the Omaha area every day. When all is said and done, the probem is almost always foundation settling. In nearly every case the builder did not use the right concrete, failed to go below the freeze line, or something of that sort. It will not go away, and cosmetic "repair" efforts won't work. This is a serious structural problem and must be addressed. It is a good idea to avoid cosmetic repairs and find the problem - then fix it. Always find the cause. Deal with the cause and the problems are over.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    I frequently see this kind of crack over wide garage doors. Most times the cause is inadequate lintel structure, especially on tract homes. A lintel structure is installed that would be adequate for lighter siding or single story construction, but is completely inadequate for 10' of bricks and mortar stacked on it. Lintel deficiencies include not only disconnected lintel, but also undersized lintel, undersized header, dimensional lumber in the header is installed crown down, or inadequate end support for the header. All of these can be corrected. Sometimes, but not always, they can be corrected from the drywall side without disturbing the masonry, which is less costly. If the incorrect condition is severe, the damage may progress until bricks begin to fall. However, I have only seen that severity twice. Usually the bricks break to a certain point and the condition stabilizes.


  11. #11
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    Cool Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    When this defect is evident I note the defect and recommend either a structural engineer, contractor, or brick mason if the client has any level of discomfort because it is there.

    This appears to be a shear crack (enough force to break bricks through the body...not just along the joint lines). This is typically a loading issue as the result of settlement beneath the brick veneer above.

    That said ....wherever there are lintels, I always advise they be cleaned, painted with a rust inhibiting paint and caulked where the mortar joint and lintel intersect.

    Mortar will shrink, spall over time and allow water coming down the side of the veneer to penetrate between the lintel and the brick. This cycle left unchecked will eventually lead to de-lamination of the steel lintel which can grow to as much as 3/4 inch.

    That can cause separations and cracking in veneer in multiple areas.

    Just saying....you need to do what makes YOU comfortable.....

    Last edited by Barry Lewis; 03-02-2013 at 09:28 AM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    I don't think the cracking is related to shear forces. If memory serves me well, a simple-span shear diagram is maximum near the ends, and is actually zero near mid-span, where bending moment is maximum (which is near where the photo was taken). OP should move on and consider a different house, preferably one he won't have to worry about.

    I also think that worrying about anything is wasted anxiety.


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?


    Granted....worry about the crack is self defeating.

    It will either get worse or not....only time will answer that.

    My suspicion that it is shear force is the reaction of the brick to the stress applied which has separated the brick (through the body) on the vertical axis. I would only recommend a qualified engineer to make the call...hence the recommendation.

    Here is a diagram for shear force....

    http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...electedIndex=5


  14. #14
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    It is hard to tell from the picture what the problem might be, but there are 3 possibilities I can think of.

    1. If the crack is wider at the bottom than at the top then the cause may from the weight of the veneer causing the lintel to sag. Is there a sag to the door frame and is the crack wider at the bottom? The crack should also occur at the midpoint of the opening.

    2. Is there a difference in elevation of the veneer along the crack; in other words, is one side higher than the other along the crack? If so it may be due to lateral loads (wind or seismic) acting parallel to the wall. I would expect this type of cracking to occur at one or both door jams.

    3. If the crack is uniform in width with no vertical offset it may be due to horizontal loads acting perpendicular to the face of the wall. Is the wall bowed outward or inward? The wall may need to be strengthened to resist lateral loads pushing on the face of the wall. This crack should also occur at the midpoint of the opening.

    A licensed engineer should be able to make a determination as to the cause after visiting the site.

    Last edited by Thom Huggett; 03-04-2013 at 09:44 AM. Reason: Clarifications
    Thom Huggett, PE, SE, CBO

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Crack above garage door...should I be worried?

    Quote Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post

    I also think that worrying about anything is wasted anxiety.

    Shouldn't waste your worry on the house when you should be saving up the anxiety for what our elected representatives will do to us next. (Likes the old faces better)


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