U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 02-01-2008, 12:03 PM
 
Location: beautiful North Carolina
7,574 posts, read 7,184,886 times
Reputation: 5462

Advertisements

I wanted to get some feedback from some of the experts here on the House forum. Our buyers have now hired an engineer to inspect the house and the foundation tomorrow to rule out structural damage and to inspect any sloping of the property. There are some cracks in the foundation which we've been told are "settling" cracks because of the age of the house. (built in the mid 70's). Now, of course one more thing to worry about. Would we know if there was structural damage? Any signs or symptoms over the years? My realtor tells me this could take up to 3 hours. Jeannie
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 02-01-2008, 01:50 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,833 posts, read 21,956,687 times
Reputation: 5354
I always love the misconception of settling. If the house is settling, there's a problem. Generally its a soil condition that wasn't evident at the time the footing was done (but not always- sometimes it could be from a final grade issue, reverse slope- no drainage away from the house).
Whenever I do a H/O orientation/final walk through- my opening statement always contained:
"Your new home is as "big" as it ever will be. All the materials (lumber, wood flooring, concrete, paint, etc.) used in the construction of this house contain moisture. And it has only been in a conditioned state for just a week or so (heat or air turned on). As time goes by that moisture will eventually be drawn out and shrinkage will occur. This is not settling. Once the moisture level of the house stabilizes you will see less signs of shrinkage. For example, crown moulding pulling away from the wall or ceiling. Corner miters at casing opening. Caulking shrinking and cracking. Hardwood floors opening between boards. All are normal characteristics of a new home."
Cracks in a foundation are not caused by age, something caused the cracking to occur.
Since your house was built in the '70's- I'm assuming that the foundation is a block wall. If its on a crawl space- it had minimal footing and probably no damp proofing or perimeter drainage. If it's a basement- then there probably is damp proofing (waterproofing was practically non-existent then) and a perimeter drain. But after 30yrs, the drainage system is probably clogged and/or non-effective. This leads to a static water pressure buildup on the wall, which could cause cracking. There can be other issues as well- the other most likely cause is tree roots.
I'm guessing that this engineer is coming after a private inspector? Maybe the private inspector saw something that didn't look right.
Structural damage is usually something that has happened over the course of history. Like a tree hitting the house, or a fire in the house. Or maybe a major remodel where the floor system was compromised. But not all of those things would effect a foundation.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2008, 03:31 PM
 
Location: beautiful North Carolina
7,574 posts, read 7,184,886 times
Reputation: 5462
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
I always love the misconception of settling. If the house is settling, there's a problem. Generally its a soil condition that wasn't evident at the time the footing was done (but not always- sometimes it could be from a final grade issue, reverse slope- no drainage away from the house).
Cracks in a foundation are not caused by age, something caused the cracking to occur.
Since your house was built in the '70's- I'm assuming that the foundation is a block wall. If its on a crawl space- it had minimal footing and probably no damp proofing or perimeter drainage. If it's a basement- then there probably is damp proofing (waterproofing was practically non-existent then) and a perimeter drain. But after 30yrs, the drainage system is probably clogged and/or non-effective. This leads to a static water pressure buildup on the wall, which could cause cracking. There can be other issues as well- the other most likely cause is tree roots.
I'm guessing that this engineer is coming after a private inspector? Maybe the private inspector saw something that didn't look right.
Structural damage is usually something that has happened over the course of history. Like a tree hitting the house, or a fire in the house. Or maybe a major remodel where the floor system was compromised. But not all of those things would effect a foundation.
So, if the cracking was caused by water issues, wouldn't there be other signs of it in the house? We've never had any type of water problems, matter of fact, our neighbors have had to remove buckets of water from their basement with heavy rain and we've had none. Additionally, if there is some structural damage, what is the prognosis? Are there things that can be done or is this simply something a buyer would walk away from?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2008, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 32,425,087 times
Reputation: 11867
You do not have to have water intrusion to cause these problems. Water built up on the outside or underneath the basement can cause cracking even if the water never gets inside. If you get enough hydrostatic pressure, your slab will lift and crack, or the basement walls can crack. Do you have a sump pump? Is it collecting water?

The cost of repair depends on the cause of the problem and the severity of the symptoms. If it is minor settling because your drainage system is plugged up or you do not have one, then you need a drainage system installed. That will cost thousands. If the footings are failing, that is a bigger problem. The solution could be as simple as turning off the sprinklers or regrading the property. minor cracks in the concrete are easily grouted, but some people will not like having grouted cracks (this is silly, ALL concrete cracks to some extent).


If your lot is elevated, you could have complete failure of the lot. that is probably your worst case scenario. Your house could have been built on fill and the grader/soils engineer failed to subexcavate and backfill properly. That might be worse, but it should have appeared sooner than 20 - 30 years later, so that is unlikely.


Many times these problems are caused by over watering flower beds and lawns. too many people think that if waster is good for your plants, then a lot of water is better. Or they just get careless. Water can be very damaging.


By the way are you sure that the cracking is not just normal shrinkage cracking that someone is panicking over?


Waterproofing the basement walls is pretty much a waste of money. waterproofing does nothing to relive hydrostatic pressure and will eventually fail. You need to drain the water away from your basement, not seal it up like a great big boat.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2008, 05:48 PM
 
Location: beautiful North Carolina
7,574 posts, read 7,184,886 times
Reputation: 5462
Quote:
Originally Posted by Coldjensens View Post
You do not have to have water intrusion to cause these problems. Water built up on the outside or underneath the basement can cause cracking even if the water never gets inside. If you get enough hydrostatic pressure, your slab will lift and crack, or the basement walls can crack. Do you have a sump pump? Is it collecting water?

The cost of repair depends on the cause of the problem and the severity of the symptoms. If it is minor settling because your drainage system is plugged up or you do not have one, then you need a drainage system installed. That will cost thousands. If the footings are failing, that is a bigger problem. The solution could be as simple as turning off the sprinklers or regrading the property. minor cracks in the concrete are easily grouted, but some people will not like having grouted cracks (this is silly, ALL concrete cracks to some extent).


If your lot is elevated, you could have complete failure of the lot. that is probably your worst case scenario. Your house could have been built on fill and the grader/soils engineer failed to subexcavate and backfill properly. That might be worse, but it should have appeared sooner than 20 - 30 years later, so that is unlikely.


Many times these problems are caused by over watering flower beds and lawns. too many people think that if waster is good for your plants, then a lot of water is better. Or they just get careless. Water can be very damaging.


By the way are you sure that the cracking is not just normal shrinkage cracking that someone is panicking over?


Waterproofing the basement walls is pretty much a waste of money. waterproofing does nothing to relive hydrostatic pressure and will eventually fail. You need to drain the water away from your basement, not seal it up like a great big boat.
We are actually in a 4 bedroom, 2 bath bi-level with our family room, a bedroom with bath, and laundry room downstairs. The bedroom was once part of the 2-car garage but was converted. We've never had a water problem and supposively the person that built this house put in a good draining system to keep the water away from the house. There was nothing in the house inspection that suggested additional follow-ups on the foundation, but because of the mentioned and visable cracks, I guess this alerted the buyers. I am praying that your suggestion of normal shrinkage is the issue. We'll know soon enough. Jeannie
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-01-2008, 05:58 PM
 
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan and Sometimes Orange County CA
15,819 posts, read 32,425,087 times
Reputation: 11867
You may need to get your own consultant. Be sure that you get someone qualified in concrete/block foundation issues, not just a general builder. I have had builders tell me that concrete is defective because it has cracks. they thought a good concrete job has no cracks. All concrete cracks. 100% of the time. There is no concrete with no cracks because it shrinks as it cures and it must crack.

Good luck.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 12:08 AM
 
4,285 posts, read 10,371,229 times
Reputation: 3697
Are these the same buyers that claimed the septic system was defective and that you needed to replace it?

Despite the fact theat you want to sell your house, it may be time to explain to your realtor that your house is "as is, where is" and if the prospects don't like it they can move on to fresher ground.

Does it not seem strange that these prospects manage to find so much wrong with the house, and yet are still willing to fork out money for inspectors with the idea of buying it?

These people like the house, but are playing a game to get the price reduced.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 02:11 AM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
3,689 posts, read 6,913,181 times
Reputation: 915
Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
I always love the misconception of settling. If the house is settling, there's a problem. Generally its a soil condition that wasn't evident at the time the footing was done (but not always- sometimes it could be from a final grade issue, reverse slope- no drainage away from the house).
Whenever I do a H/O orientation/final walk through- my opening statement always contained:
"Your new home is as "big" as it ever will be. All the materials (lumber, wood flooring, concrete, paint, etc.) used in the construction of this house contain moisture. And it has only been in a conditioned state for just a week or so (heat or air turned on). As time goes by that moisture will eventually be drawn out and shrinkage will occur. This is not settling. Once the moisture level of the house stabilizes you will see less signs of shrinkage. For example, crown moulding pulling away from the wall or ceiling. Corner miters at casing opening. Caulking shrinking and cracking. Hardwood floors opening between boards. All are normal characteristics of a new home."
Cracks in a foundation are not caused by age, something caused the cracking to occur.
Since your house was built in the '70's- I'm assuming that the foundation is a block wall. If its on a crawl space- it had minimal footing and probably no damp proofing or perimeter drainage. If it's a basement- then there probably is damp proofing (waterproofing was practically non-existent then) and a perimeter drain. But after 30yrs, the drainage system is probably clogged and/or non-effective. This leads to a static water pressure buildup on the wall, which could cause cracking. There can be other issues as well- the other most likely cause is tree roots.
I'm guessing that this engineer is coming after a private inspector? Maybe the private inspector saw something that didn't look right.
Structural damage is usually something that has happened over the course of history. Like a tree hitting the house, or a fire in the house. Or maybe a major remodel where the floor system was compromised. But not all of those things would effect a foundation.
Ditto

If you are concerned, You can obtain your own structrual engineer to inspect the house as well.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 10:45 AM
 
Location: beautiful North Carolina
7,574 posts, read 7,184,886 times
Reputation: 5462
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cornerguy1 View Post
Are these the same buyers that claimed the septic system was defective and that you needed to replace it?

Despite the fact theat you want to sell your house, it may be time to explain to your realtor that your house is "as is, where is" and if the prospects don't like it they can move on to fresher ground.

Does it not seem strange that these prospects manage to find so much wrong with the house, and yet are still willing to fork out money for inspectors with the idea of buying it?

These people like the house, but are playing a game to get the price reduced.
Yes Cornerguy, the same buyers. We were told by an engineer, sent by my realtor that our septic that was installed 15 years ago was not installed properly stating that one of the tanks was not deep enough? Now, the plot thickens...when my husband pulled out our septic inspection report from 10 years ago when we purchased our home, guess who passed our septic inspection? The engineer sent by our realtor. Humm.....
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 02-02-2008, 04:38 PM
 
Location: Northglenn, Colorado
3,689 posts, read 6,913,181 times
Reputation: 915
I would be very learry then, you might be able to get him in a little hot water lol. Show him a copy of the report and asked why he had approved it before hand.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $84,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top