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Thread: Settling House

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
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    Alabama
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    Default Settling House

    My wife and I are looking to purchase a home that is 21 years old. Our inspector noticed some cracks in the floor and the brick. He advised to have a foundation specialist come out and look at it. Typically here in the Huntsville/Madison AL area we have red clay. I put a laser on the back end of the house and found about a 1/4" variation over a 20' span on the end section of the house. On the bay window area at the back of the house I found a 3/16 variation in the mortar line. The house is a slab on grade. It's approximately 2800 sq ft under roof including the garage.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Settling House

    Any interior wall cracks?
    Tile flooring?

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

  3. #3
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    Feb 2013
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    Alabama
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    Default Re: Settling House

    The floors are vinyl and carpet. I didn't see any cracks on the walls or ceilings. They could have fixed them but when they painted the house they used a brush throughout. The paint is rather thin so I didn't see any obvious places that had been patched. It being our first home makes me a little nervous about these things.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Maryland
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    Default Re: Settling House

    What is the standard deviation of your laser? Meaning error factor of X over Y feet.
    You may just have a variation in the masons laying the brick.


  5. #5
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    Alabama
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    Default Re: Settling House

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Sorrells View Post
    What is the standard deviation of your laser? Meaning error factor of X over Y feet.
    You may just have a variation in the masons laying the brick.
    The error factor is 1/8"/35'.

    I did put the laser on another part of the house and it was dead on with the mortar lines. It could be variation from the brick work itself. There is NO cracking in the brick or mortar where the variation was observed.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Oregon, USA
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    333

    Default Re: Settling House

    Some of the brick work looks a bit "amateurish" (non-uniform mortar lines, mortar slop, rake inconsistencies, etc.), and may have been there from Day 1. If the inspector meant "engineer" instead of someone who wants to make money "fixing" your foundation when it might not need it, by all means pay for bringing a qualified guy in. Before spending the $$$ though, it wouldn't hurt to take a closer look at a few of the neighboring brick homes' exteriors (with owners' permission, of course), to see if similar anomalies are present elsewhere in the neighborhood.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Spring Hill (Nashville), TN
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    Default Re: Settling House

    The house has had some settlement, that is easily seen at the window where it has pulled from the brick. Will it do more? Nobody can or will tell you that. It looks like it is sitting on a fill lot, so it might have compacted the soil enough that it has done all it is going to do. But again, that is a SWAG.

    With no interior wall cracks and if all of the door and window open and close properly it is most likely not all that bad of an issue.

    Your home inspector is going to be your best source for information as they have seen it first hand.


    I did notice that the weep holes have been added to the home after it was built. Weeps should not be drilled into the mortar, they should be made when the brick is laid.

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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Alabama
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    5

    Default Re: Settling House

    Foundation guy came yesterday. He wasn't too concerned with what he saw. He did recommend that if anything had to be done it would be in the bay area with 5 piers. He didn't think it needed any now. He said if it were in South Huntsville it would have been a different story. He is the go to guy in our area.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    Alabama
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    Default Re: Settling House

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    I did notice that the weep holes have been added to the home after it was built. Weeps should not be drilled into the mortar, they should be made when the brick is laid.

    I noticed some of that myself. Could I go in and remove the mortar between to bricks to make the weep holes instead of just drilled holes?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Settling House

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Weaver View Post
    I noticed some of that myself. Could I go in and remove the mortar between to bricks to make the weep holes instead of just drilled holes?
    No, it is too late. It is what it is at this point.

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

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