Author Topic: Cracks where floating porch joins house  (Read 322 times)

Sun Hat

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Cracks where floating porch joins house
« on: September 06, 2017, 09:39:06 AM »
Hi Mustachians!

I'm looking for advice on what do to about my porch. I've lived in my house for 1.5 years and so far it's been a money pit. Last year I had piles installed underneath the whole perimeter of the house to stabilize the shifting foundation - the ground here is a clay gumbo. This year has been quite dry, and while the house has stayed put, the far side of the enclosed porch sank a couple of inches. The result is cracks at the vertical seams with the house, a crack inside my living room (where it seems that the weight of the porch is pulling the wall outwards) and a slight cant in the porch which has pulled the screen door frame out of square.

I gather by the cracks in the stucco that this has happened before, but perhaps not to this extent. However, the previous owner neglected a lot of necessary maintenance, so I'm not sure if continuing to just ignore the problem is a good plan.

So far, all I've done is to sand the door frame so that the door can close again, and later I'll use a silicone caulk to patch the crack in my living room wall (it's a horizontal space between the wall and crown moulding) and exterior silicone caulk to plug the exterior cracks.

Those fixes obviously don't fix the underlying problem though - my porch floats while my house is now stable. Any ideas on how I can keep the problem from recurring - or whether I should just let it be? My only ideas are to have piles installed under the porch to render it as stable as the house, but that'll easily be $20k. Since I'm already $300K into a house worth $225k, I'm reluctant to spend that much if there are cheaper options. Ideas?

former player

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Re: Cracks where floating porch joins house
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2017, 10:14:08 AM »
Demolish the porch?

As a minimum, detach it structurally from the main house.

Sorry you are having all these troubles.
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

ChpBstrd

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Re: Cracks where floating porch joins house
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2017, 03:45:11 PM »
Check your gutters/drainage first. Is water causing these sags?

There are foundation repair companies that use large drills and hydraulically pressurized concrete to push support under concrete slabs, if that applies.

If it's a new house, you might just need to wait a few years for the settling to finish and then pour new concrete level over the slab.

Sun Hat

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Re: Cracks where floating porch joins house
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2017, 04:56:10 PM »
Water may be a factor, but in a different sense. It's been a very dry year here, so the clay soil is shrinking. Apparently some of my neighbours are having some more minor settling issues in their add-on structures too.

However, I think that the reason that mine is so much worse than others' is because while I had some foundation work done to the house last summer, the work crew dug a hole under my porch (they got their wires crossed as to where the piles went) and removed a post from the porch in the process. Evidently the added weight on the remaining posts is driving one into the ground at an accelerated rate.

I only discovered the knocked-out post today while chilling under my porch (I'm sure that I had a reason to be under there, but I can't recall at the moment ). Since I'm not only Mustachian, but also anxiety ridden (the 'take matters into your own hands' double whammy of initiative) I knew that I didn't want to leave the porch to continue to sink while various contractors took their sweet time in getting back to me, so I installed teleposts! For today I've just installed them under the beams to keep it from sinking further, but tomorrow I'll rent/borrow a jack to begin to sloooowly lift it back into place, and re-adjust the teleposts accordingly.

Even though it's not a permanent solution, I am WILDLY proud of today's DIY.

Goldielocks

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Re: Cracks where floating porch joins house
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2017, 11:47:41 PM »
flex joint / free standing porch not tied to house, wit flexible flashing (up to 6" deep) covering the join.   You need to cut the attachment to the home and add posts for the porch at your house line instead.   Not it can heave 4" or more without a problem.

Alternative is a smaller porch / deck that is entirely supported / cantilevered off your home, if your home will support it.

Sun Hat

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Re: Cracks where floating porch joins house
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2017, 07:16:12 AM »
This is a great idea Goldilocks! Since none of the contractors that I've spoken with have provided me with estimates for the helical piles + replacing the ledger to the house plan (beyond one that said that it would run 6-10K), I admit that a DIY to sever it from the house and letting it float is very tempting.

Do you think that the heaving will cause a problem for the roof, which is a continuous line with the house? Also, do you think that gravel+ concrete pad+ teleposts is sufficient, or do I need to dig post holes (not easy given the limited headroom)?