Author Topic: If I were to buy this house, how much might this kind of horizontal crack repair  (Read 794 times)

LibrarIan

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I'm looking at a house and we were able to get a structural report that the owner had done prior to listing. Here are the pertinent parts:

My wife saw the part about the crack and immediately pulled out. This is very frustrating, as she has turned down like every house known to man and I just want to move into something. What would we be looking at here if we reconsidered?

Quote
On Thursday, March 21, 2019 I made a visual inspection at the above referenced property with the owner, [redacted] at your request. The purpose of this inspection was to examine the front basement foundation wall, per accepted industry standards, for any material defects that would affect the function of the property. Items of special interest are underlined. The house was occupied with a normal amount of furniture. For the purpose of this report, the house faces south and directions are from the front, facing the house. At the start of the inspection, the weather was cloudy and no precipitation. The soil was wet with the temperature between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The SITE was located in Fort Thomas, Kentucky on a sloping lot. This was a single-family house that was reported to be about 94 years old. The lot sloped down toward the front right and right rear yard away from the house at a 20H:1V grade.

The FOUNDATION was provided by a full basement. The basement extended below the front porch with a structural concrete slab. There was a one-car garage in the basement. The foundation walls were constructed with 8 thick concrete block, by about 6-10 high. Soil at the exterior was about 20 to 32 below the top of the front foundation wall.

A horizontal crack was seen at the front wall of the basement, probably due to minor movement. The top of the wall had leaned outward up to 1/2 as measured with a 4 hand level. While the wall appeared to be structurally stable at present, we suggest the wall be monitored by cutting out the cracks 3/4 to be tuckpointed with type S mortar.

No other observations were noted during this inspection. Please E-mail any questions regarding the above report. This report represents my opinion at the time of my inspection; no warranty or guarantee is implied or given. Please see our agreement for limits of liability. This report was prepared for your sole and exclusive use. Thank you for this opportunity to serve you.

lukebuz

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To "fix" it, many thousands.  To ignore it, like you should - $0.  If it's moved 1/2" in 90 years, you'll get full service out of it's lifetime.  Ask for $2000 discount on house, and be done.

Case

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I'm looking at a house and we were able to get a structural report that the owner had done prior to listing. Here are the pertinent parts:

My wife saw the part about the crack and immediately pulled out. This is very frustrating, as she has turned down like every house known to man and I just want to move into something. What would we be looking at here if we reconsidered?

Quote
On Thursday, March 21, 2019 I made a visual inspection at the above referenced property with the owner, [redacted] at your request. The purpose of this inspection was to examine the front basement foundation wall, per accepted industry standards, for any material defects that would affect the function of the property. Items of special interest are underlined. The house was occupied with a normal amount of furniture. For the purpose of this report, the house faces south and directions are from the front, facing the house. At the start of the inspection, the weather was cloudy and no precipitation. The soil was wet with the temperature between 45 and 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

The SITE was located in Fort Thomas, Kentucky on a sloping lot. This was a single-family house that was reported to be about 94 years old. The lot sloped down toward the front right and right rear yard away from the house at a 20H:1V grade.

The FOUNDATION was provided by a full basement. The basement extended below the front porch with a structural concrete slab. There was a one-car garage in the basement. The foundation walls were constructed with 8 thick concrete block, by about 6-10 high. Soil at the exterior was about 20 to 32 below the top of the front foundation wall.

A horizontal crack was seen at the front wall of the basement, probably due to minor movement. The top of the wall had leaned outward up to 1/2 as measured with a 4 hand level. While the wall appeared to be structurally stable at present, we suggest the wall be monitored by cutting out the cracks 3/4 to be tuckpointed with type S mortar.

No other observations were noted during this inspection. Please E-mail any questions regarding the above report. This report represents my opinion at the time of my inspection; no warranty or guarantee is implied or given. Please see our agreement for limits of liability. This report was prepared for your sole and exclusive use. Thank you for this opportunity to serve you.

It seems that the inspector was not particularly alarmed.  I dont think having it tuckpointed would be very expensive... isnt that just chisseling out some ofthe crack and reinforcing with mortar?  Obviously have a professional do that.

If the house looks great otherwise, have it inspected on your own.  Taht will cost you a couple hundred bucks.

You dont seem too enthusiastic about the house, and are tired of house shopping, just want to get it done.  This is normal (house shopping is exhausting), but this is probably the biggest financial decision you can make.  If youi have the luxury of time, take advantage of it.

If your wife will forever dilly dally and nothing will be good enough for her, that is another story.

Moneywise

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Horizontal crack means water is pushing against the basement wall due to improper slope, drainage. Depending on severity, the right way to fix it would be to install a drain system with a sump pump inside the basement. This would require digging a trench along the wall below the footing and installing a french drain. The drilln 3/4" holes every 6-12" through the wall to allow the water to drain. It's more complicated than this so just to summarize, that can easily be a $10k job and most people who do it half ass it so make sure you watch them. Easy fix is to skip that house.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2019, 10:27:43 PM by Moneywise »

better late

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Horizontal crack means water is pushing against the basement wall due to improper slope, drainage. Depending on severity, the right way to fix it would be to install a drain system with a sump pump inside the basement. This would require digging a trench along the wall below the footing and installing a french drain. The drill 3/4" holes every 6-12" through the wall to allow the water to drain. It's more complicated than this so just to summarize, that can easily be a $10k job and most people who do it half ass it so make sure you watch them. Easy fix is to skip that house.

An inspector told us the same thing about a horizontal crack in a concrete block foundation wall - water pushing against the foundation due to slope and drainage.

Better Change

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The house is 94 years old.  Of course there will be cracks.  The fact that there's only one truly noticeable horizontal crack is pretty good, actually. 

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the wall is bowing OUTWARD, not inward from the force of water.  It doesn't seem like you have a water ingress issue here.  Things are going to shift after 94 YEARS.  I'd get another opinion, and if you're (both) still interested in the house, go for it.  There are plenty of new builds that have way more serious foundation problems.

(source: owned a 60 year-old stacked concrete block home with plenty of horizontal cracks.  numerous structural engineers told us to fill up the cracks to keep things dry but otherwise leave it all alone)

Jon Bon

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Most likely not a big deal at all.

The BEST thing you can do. Is spend that $2000 from the seller on kick ass gutters, guards, and make-sure your storm drains are completely clear. Maybe check your grading as well.  Foundations issues are 9/10 actually just water issues.

Patching a small crack is also no big deal to DIY.

SwordGuy

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Most likely not a big deal at all.

The BEST thing you can do. Is spend that $2000 from the seller on kick ass gutters, guards, and make-sure your storm drains are completely clear. Maybe check your grading as well.  Foundations issues are 9/10 actually just water issues.

Patching a small crack is also no big deal to DIY.


Yep.

ChpBstrd

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LOL, I once owned a 10 year old house with cracks like that. With a full basement, it's even less a problem because you have options to jack it up, brace it, etc.

100% of 90 year old houses will have cracks in whatever foundation they have. I'd put in gutters and a french drain and then call it a day. Before you do that, though, look at the joists above the cracked area; are they still level or pivoting and pushing the wall outward?

However, I am intrigued by the 8" concrete blocks (cinder blocks?). This does not sound like a material used in the 1920s. Was the house moved or the foundation rebuilt at some point?

lakemom

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LOL, I once owned a 10 year old house with cracks like that. With a full basement, it's even less a problem because you have options to jack it up, brace it, etc.

100% of 90 year old houses will have cracks in whatever foundation they have. I'd put in gutters and a french drain and then call it a day. Before you do that, though, look at the joists above the cracked area; are they still level or pivoting and pushing the wall outward?

However, I am intrigued by the 8" concrete blocks (cinder blocks?). This does not sound like a material used in the 1920s. Was the house moved or the foundation rebuilt at some point?
The house I grew up in was built in 1921 and had a block wall basement.  I was a kid so can't say for sure it was concrete but it was definitely block construction.  My parents just recently downsized to a much smaller house built in the '40's and it has concrete block basement foundation as well (same area of the midwest).