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Old 08-01-2008, 12:42 PM
 
43 posts, read 135,528 times
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I have bought a townhouse that began showing signs of a cracked slab three years ago. By now we have doors that won't open and cracked saltillo tile in the kitchen and rippled carpet upstairs. Olshan was the original repair company that did work about 10 years ago on it for a previous owner. I called Olshan/Atlas and they came three years ago and said it was the ground outside, not the slab shifting. Fast forward to two years ago- same thing, but saying it might be shifting a bit. Last year they said yes, the slab has moved a bit and I might want to wait for all the digging and mess until it is a little more significant. So--this time they are scheduled to come in two weeks and take a good look and presumably do something about it, as the problem is significant to me. The question:

What should I look for/ask about when they propose a plan for doing the work? I understand that it is under lifetime warranty, but are there hidden costs or things that I should ask about?

Thanks.
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Old 08-01-2008, 05:42 PM
 
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People toss around the term "cracked slab" when it isn't a cracked slab, it may just be settling. There is a difference.

As for warranties, usually it comes down to "Oh well yes, the piers we put over there are under warranty, but your settlement is over here, where we didn't put any piers, so you will need to add some new piers.
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Old 08-01-2008, 11:59 PM
 
Location: San Antonio-Westover Hills
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The first thing I would do is check with your homeowner's association and make sure the foundation is your responsibility, that you own your townhome in "fee simple" (if you haven't already, that is).
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:09 AM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,447 posts, read 49,513,057 times
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There is no such thing as a lifetime warranty on any part of the home. There will never ever be a lifetime warranty on anything made of cement including slabs or driveways.

Cement is suppose to crack. That is the nature of the product. Even HOW allows a quarter inch crack before they force the builder to make a correction.

If I hear of an old slab cracking I suspect no r-bar but you said 3 years old. If a proper web of tied r-bar was burried in the wet slab as it was poured then even if a crack happened in the future it would still be flush on the slab surface. Some times not even affecting secured tile or lino.

Settling smettling. Something is really wrong there. No way of me knowing without looking but I suggest you go over the builders head. At worse you may need to hire a structual engineer. Easy and inexpensive you can hire a regular ol home inspector. Get their unbiased opinions. Take it from there.

Let us know how you make out.............
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:35 AM
 
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They came out 3 years ago. Work was performed something like 10, who knows how old it was when that was done. Sounds like settlement to me.
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Old 08-02-2008, 11:24 AM
 
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Kind of unrelated, but I was walking around some new construction in my neighborhood the other day and they were pouring a slab with a "cable lock" type system prebuilt in. I asked the guy about it and he said if there is ever a problem, they can just go in and tighten the cables thare are already in the slab to pull it back together. Has anybody ever heard of this? It sounds kind of useful.
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Old 08-02-2008, 12:23 PM
 
332 posts, read 1,317,538 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermac34 View Post
Kind of unrelated, but I was walking around some new construction in my neighborhood the other day and they were pouring a slab with a "cable lock" type system prebuilt in. I asked the guy about it and he said if there is ever a problem, they can just go in and tighten the cables thare are already in the slab to pull it back together. Has anybody ever heard of this? It sounds kind of useful.
That's post-tensioned concrete slab construction. They put tension on the steel cables after the concrete cures; concrete under compression is much stonger. This is a very common construction practice here as our clay soil expanding / contracting with moisture levels puts tremendous forces on the slab. Every home in my neighborhood (all custom builders) used this technique -- not sure if mass production homes are built the same way.
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Old 08-02-2008, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,447 posts, read 49,513,057 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supermac34 View Post
Kind of unrelated, but I was walking around some new construction in my neighborhood the other day and they were pouring a slab with a "cable lock" type system prebuilt in. I asked the guy about it and he said if there is ever a problem, they can just go in and tighten the cables thare are already in the slab to pull it back together. Has anybody ever heard of this? It sounds kind of useful.
I seen it here in southern Nevada for the first time in my life. To my knowledge I have never heard of any problems where tightening was needed.

When, not if a crack develops, if the slab has a web of tied re-bar the crack will never seperate. It will just remain a crack.
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:52 PM
 
43 posts, read 135,528 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modster View Post
People toss around the term "cracked slab" when it isn't a cracked slab, it may just be settling. There is a difference.

As for warranties, usually it comes down to "Oh well yes, the piers we put over there are under warranty, but your settlement is over here, where we didn't put any piers, so you will need to add some new piers.
Understood!
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Old 08-04-2008, 09:54 PM
 
43 posts, read 135,528 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Feebs View Post
The first thing I would do is check with your homeowner's association and make sure the foundation is your responsibility, that you own your townhome in "fee simple" (if you haven't already, that is).
I'm pretty sure it's our responsibility, as the previous owner had to pay for the work which we now have a "lifetime" warranty on.
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