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Old 06-29-2009, 11:51 AM
 
129 posts, read 314,847 times
Reputation: 36

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i recently pulled out of contract on a house because the inspector found the foundation unstable. i don't doubt his call on that one, but now my husband is suspicious of any crack he sees. we just saw a nice house, but my husband worries the cracks might be bad. there were a few vertical cracks, but when he tried looking up info online, the cracks could be bad news given where they're located. is there any way to find out if these cracks are fine besides shelling out money for another inspection?
i'm starting to tire of the house hunt and want to buy already. i don't want to make a bad purchase, but doesn't every house have cracks? does anyone know anyone who bought a house with a bad foundation and had it turn out badly?
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Old 06-29-2009, 03:09 PM
 
Location: New Jersey
2,510 posts, read 1,372,114 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetpotato View Post
i recently pulled out of contract on a house because the inspector found the foundation unstable. i don't doubt his call on that one, but now my husband is suspicious of any crack he sees. we just saw a nice house, but my husband worries the cracks might be bad. there were a few vertical cracks, but when he tried looking up info online, the cracks could be bad news given where they're located. is there any way to find out if these cracks are fine besides shelling out money for another inspection?
i'm starting to tire of the house hunt and want to buy already. i don't want to make a bad purchase, but doesn't every house have cracks? does anyone know anyone who bought a house with a bad foundation and had it turn out badly?

Please describe the cracks in question.......is it a block foundation ? Are the cracks verticle, step or horizontal.....how wide, how long and how far up the wall are they ?
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Old 06-29-2009, 04:02 PM
 
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From what I understand, concrete is supposed to be designed so it has joints that can expand and contract as needed. So if you have cracks, it wasn't designed right. I don't know what that means structurally. The parts of my basement that I can see (poured concrete) have no cracks. If it's a slab foundation, then a crack may not be such a big deal. I think you have to get them each checked out by a structural engineer to be certain, or maybe even the regular home inspection could give you some insight.
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Old 06-30-2009, 09:35 AM
 
129 posts, read 314,847 times
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i wish i took pictures, my husband was the one who noticed and was trying to analyze them. i can't remember specifically. they were all vertical, i think one of them went down to the ground. one was by the side door, others were just around the foundation, they were all very narrow, some were longer than others.
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Old 06-30-2009, 11:32 AM
 
Location: Ridgewood
302 posts, read 1,039,955 times
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I would say that if you were satisfied with the home inspector to use him again and established a rapport, give him a call and run by the info with him. I would certainly do that for a client.
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Old 06-30-2009, 06:14 PM
 
Location: Bernardsville NJ
50 posts, read 123,717 times
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Maybe you can pay him for a pre-inspection/inspection? In other words not the whole package. Call him up and see if for $100 he would take a run over and take a look at that specific area for you.

Worth a shot, they are slow.
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Old 06-30-2009, 10:33 PM
 
Location: Ridgewood
302 posts, read 1,039,955 times
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Not so, JerseyJames. Business is booming right now. Houses are being sold at a very brisk pace, at least in North Jersey.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:11 AM
 
Location: Home
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Hairline cracks are usually nothing to worry about. Things to look for in them would be rust stains, spalling (chipping out) and displacement (one side higher than the other, or pushed out noticably).

What you also look for are things above, see if there are gaps or bent areas on the wood framing resting on the foundation. What you are generally looking for in foundation damage is simple.

Settlement: Is that house sagging? DO you see one portion of slab lower than the other? If the cracks are bigger than 1/8" it may be a sign of something more than a bad pour/shrinkage/temperature.

Water infiltration: Most residential buildings do not have much reinforcement in their concrete foundation. They just don't really need it. You see this sign of damage on structures requiring more strength, like mid/high rises or bridges (hell, look at half the overpasses in NJ and you can probably see some exposed bar). Water infiltration can get bad, however, especially above the freeze line where it might, well, freeze and cause further damage due to teh water expanding. Again, the degree to which this is happening is usually what should give you an idea to the condition and if you should worry. (It will also tell you a bit about your areas possible susceptability to flooding....)

Those are really the teo major points. Age is also something to fator in. If you see some of these big cracks, weird diagonal cracks from the corner of the building and that sort of thnig and the building is only a few years old, they may have rushed thnigs and did not compact the soil correctly, or got the concrete mix wrong, or whatever.

It is not AS MUCH of an issue with older buildings unless it either is something much more definite, or it has only happened recently (the crack looks "fresh". More jagged edges, less schmutz in it from time). "New" cracks could be a sign of something changing, like soil displacement (from nearby construction, and I mean NEARBY, not 200 feet away unless they are using something that could REALLY disturb the soil from that far....), or possible new water flow (sinkholes, etc).


I know this is not complete, but I hope it helps. Post some pics next time and maybe some peeps on here could give you a betetr idea of if it is something you should take seriously or not in considering the purchase....


GL in hunting!
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:17 PM
 
129 posts, read 314,847 times
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wow, this info is so helpful, thank you. i will go visit the house again and take pictures this time and post them. this house is an old colonial house that was completely gutted and redone inside about 6-7 years ago. so, i just wonder if during the construction if they could've damaged the foundation? if those cracks are v old then i'm less concerned. the exterior foundation is also stone that was painted over, probably to mask the cracks a little. the basement has been finished with drywall interior so you can't see the foundation from the inside.
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Old 07-04-2009, 11:28 PM
 
1,914 posts, read 2,087,449 times
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Call these guys: East Coast Waterproofing. They do structural repair and give FREE estimates. They work all over NJ. John Casale is an engineer and fixed a cracked, bowing foundation (with water issues) for me about 2 years ago. Extremely happy with the outcome. He'll come take a look and give you his opinion. Keep in mind that any structural repair is not cheap.

1-800-428-1335
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