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Old 05-22-2011, 07:54 PM
 
172 posts, read 163,315 times
Reputation: 75

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Why can't buying a house be easy! After looking for weeks, we finally found a place we liked, but of course, there's a catch:

The house has 4 primary walls (rectangle), with one foundation wall totally buried, two that are partially buried, and one that's not buried at all. The wall that's totally buried is the front of the house, and on the disclosure it is reported that the wall was buckling and has been repaired. It was repaired by The Crack Team, who put seven carbon fiber supports on the walls. You can noticeably see how the wall buckled, from both outside and in, and you can see where they installed the strips. They say it hasn't moved since. This work was warrantied and the warranty would transfer to us. There is a massive tree in the front yard (and thus borders the wall in question), though it is a pretty good distance from the house, I can't help but wonder if it's roots play any role here?

The two partially buried walls both have cracks that walk down. There are parts where you can put a piece of your finger under enough to feel the ledge created. These walls have had no work done.

Each time we've visited the home, there has been a dehumidifier running in the basement. The walls look as though they have been damp in the past, and one small part was damp upon my own inspection today when visiting.


I am looking for ANYONE who can tell me a bit more about:

1) Foundations in general
2) Carbon Fiber Supports, their use and reliability
3) The Crack Team
4) Recommendations on a foundation company or person I could have come out and see the property. Send via PM so as not so advertise in here.


Thanks in advance, I don't know anyone with knowledge, and am feeling a little more in the dark than I like to be when spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.
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Old 05-22-2011, 08:33 PM
 
Location: suburbs
284 posts, read 201,841 times
Reputation: 171
Sounds like you found a home which is nicer than many other homes in your price range There is, of course, a reason for that, basically its foundation is falling apart. Every sentence in your post screams: run away...

A couple of things come to mind:
- Most likely the house comes heavily discounted because of the foundation issues. You will have to do the same if you end up selling this house eventually.
- It will not matter much if you invest in repairing these walls. The sale price will be lower unless these walls are rebuilt properly.
- You may have issues with your mortgage lender and/or insurance company if they find out about it.
- Find a really good structural/civil engineer (not a regular home inspector!) He will be able to tell you the real condition of the foundation and will give you an idea of what it will take to repair it.
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Old 05-22-2011, 09:09 PM
 
172 posts, read 163,315 times
Reputation: 75
Any advice on where to find such an engineer? Searching Google led me to: Capstone Structural Engineering & Consulting - Pittsburgh
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Old 05-23-2011, 05:32 AM
 
101 posts, read 118,347 times
Reputation: 38
I’d also highly suggest anyone that buys a house or land around here check and make sure it’s not a mine subsidence area. The state has a site where the biggest issues are. That could be another issue with the foundation.
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:20 AM
 
Location: About 10 miles north of Pittsburgh International
2,168 posts, read 2,074,141 times
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I can't comment on 2, 3, or 4, but on #1, I've had some experience, although that question is a little too wide open to make anything but broad generalizations here.

As a broad generalization though, step cracking in both of the side walls, combined with the problem described in the front wall, could be a sign of the house being built on ground that wasn't entirely suitable, or perhaps the foundation being not properly constructed. Or mine subsidence as mentioned above.

The moisture issue could occur in any basement in these parts, not just one that's cracking, although it could also be an indication of other problems associated with the cracking problem.

The tree, if it's any distance away probably isn't a factor.

In any of those cases, I think I'd keep looking...
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Old 05-23-2011, 07:06 AM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,660 posts, read 7,989,512 times
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1. It is under warranty
2. I am not familiar with that company, we have always used Matthews
3. It was probably due to the builder years ago pushed soil against the home to make the front not have steps.
4. Read the warranty and if you have more questions ask the closing attorney that will handle the sale about it.

These anchor companies have been around for decades. I am not sure about the one you mentioned, but if it was Matthews, I wouldn't be concerned about it. No matter what, everything is fixable, but you better know what you are looking at. You can get an independent company to look at it. Matthews might do it, but I am not certain.
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Old 05-23-2011, 08:28 AM
 
172 posts, read 163,315 times
Reputation: 75
I talked with the guy from Capstone, seemed very knowledgeable. There is drywall covering part of the repaired wall, I've asked the owner to remove it and will have an engineer take a look at it so I'm not flying blind. The cost is less than $500, and well worth it in my eyes.

Once I know more, I'll decide if walking makes sense. Appreciate all the insight, it's good to hear others opinions, keep um coming.
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Old 05-23-2011, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh area
9,888 posts, read 10,169,962 times
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My house actually has wall anchors from Matthews, installed a few years before I bought it. These are on the back wall, which is the most buried (and has a hill going up after about 15-20 feet of flat yard). Over the years I have wondered at times about the side walls. One I can see because it's in the garage; the other I can't see because it's inside a finished room. But in general I am not concerned. I may at some point have Matthews come out and take a look again just to make sure all is well.
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Old 05-23-2011, 01:25 PM
 
172 posts, read 163,315 times
Reputation: 75
Guy's coming out Thursday, costing me $200-225. Well worth it for a professional opinion.

If he thinks it's fixable and/or nothing to be concerned with, I'll pay an addition $200 to have him do a formal writeup and present it to the owner with an offer, likely will ask for Matthews to do any further repairs. If it's in too bad of shape, or needs a lot of work, I'll walk.

Sound about right?
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Old 05-23-2011, 06:08 PM
gg
 
Location: Pittsburgh
11,660 posts, read 7,989,512 times
Reputation: 4230
Quote:
Originally Posted by greg42 View Post
My house actually has wall anchors from Matthews, installed a few years before I bought it. These are on the back wall, which is the most buried (and has a hill going up after about 15-20 feet of flat yard). Over the years I have wondered at times about the side walls. One I can see because it's in the garage; the other I can't see because it's inside a finished room. But in general I am not concerned. I may at some point have Matthews come out and take a look again just to make sure all is well.
Typically the wall anchors are designed to be tightened a little at a time. They are on a schedule. There is a large nut that you can tighten with a wrench they usually leave with the home. It is of course possible that the wall was plumb when they left and there is no further tightening required. You don't HAVE to tighten most of the time. The anchor systems work very well. Not as uncommon as people may think. Nothing wrong with having a foundation under warranty from a good company that has been in business for decades.
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