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  1. #1
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    Default New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    I'm in the market for my first home. It was built in 1972 on a slab foundation. My home inspector observed some cracks in the brick veneer siding and recommended a structural engineer to inspect it. The sellers structural engineer said there were no foundation problems. The crack stretches from front to back of the house along the left side with some bricks leaning outward . i20.jpg
    i19.jpg
    20171130_050853.jpg

    There is some separation of the molding in the corner directly adjacent to picture #2 in the interior. The house was recently renovated so I assume a little drywall work would fix and interior cracks.

    Should I trust the sellers engineer? Get a foundation repair company to come look at it? Or hire my own structural engineer to inspect it?

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    Last edited by Kevin Prosser; 11-30-2017 at 03:38 AM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    If you don't feel comfortable with it hire your own.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    Get your own to sign off .


  4. #4
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    Default Re: New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    The house was built when? On a slab, so it's not an old brick-walled house, it is a wood framed house with brick veneer, right? Does the brick go to the top of the wall or just half way up?

    Brick veneer can peel away from a wood-framed wall and not cause structural problems. But if you see a crack or gap inside, then there is movement in the wood structure.

    One cause of movement is heaving or sinking of the slab. If there is exspansive clay in this area, that is the suspect. Sometimes the slab has pretensioned steel rods to help prevent this, but the ends might not be visible.

    Two causes of movement above the slab are moisture from a leak leading to rot, and then there is termites. You need more info.

    OK, I read the engineer's report and he says he dug down and found no slab or foundation issues. He says he'll answer questions. But they lick the hand that feeds them, no offense, don't we all?

    Last edited by John Kogel; 11-30-2017 at 08:11 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  5. #5
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    Mar 2007
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    Santa Rosa, CA
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    Default Re: New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    OK, I read the engineer's report and he says he dug down and found no slab or foundation issues. He says he'll answer questions. But they lick the hand that feeds them, no offense, don't we all?
    I disagree with John's statement (above). The engineer now owns that letter, so I would not be inclined to distrust him. However, he did hedge his words a bit, and mentioned the potential of moisture. Given the price of a repair like this, having another structural engineer take a look would be prudent.

    Is the interior floor carpet or tile (I infer tile from the engineer's letter, but it does not state tile specifically)? If carpet, then get permission to pull back the carpet and take a look at the slab. If tile and the tile is undamaged, that is (as the engineer indicated) evidence that the slab is in good condition.

    You could also get a mason out to take a look. They might be able to give you some indication as to what happened and how expensive a repair it would be.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    Well Gunnar, I agree with your statement, that the engineer is probably correct.
    But am suggesting that his wording is biased towards the positive -"Everything will probably be alright", where an engineer for the buyer would be inclined to say "This could be trouble, but it's not too bad yet."
    Still just opinions, until we see pictures of the exposed slab or inside stud cavities. It may be just loose bricks, which can be reattached in one afternoon with heli coil fasteners.

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

  7. #7
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    Default Re: New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    I agree with Gunnar, that in a perfect world, all engineers will always be totally truthful and honest, not biasing their reports toward who is paying them, but ...

    Because we don't live at the corner of Perfect and World, we live somewhere near the corner of That's Close and Enough ...

    John apparently has seen the corner of That's Close and Enough, and recognizes it by the signs.

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  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: New Home Buyer. Structural Concerns

    1: The brick are below grade. The veneer should be above grade by 4" to 6"inches. Weep slots are subject to water.
    2: If the SE signed off on the foundation the liability lay with him/her.

    By the looks of it the starter courses appear to be effecting the courses above. IMO, the mortar might be the culprit. Mortar quality is affected by a few factors. Brand quality, ratio of sand mixture and viscosity. As well, those are raker or relief joists. They have been prohibited in masonry sense the early 1980's. Clay units are porous and wick moisture thus affecting the mortar, ties and brick bond.

    Are those the only issues?
    Is the house on a busy street?
    Is there irrigation saturating the veneer?
    If the roof is sloped, are there gutter?

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