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House Foundation
Old 12-15-2016, 07:17 PM   #1
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House Foundation

Has anyone ever had to deal with foundation issues on your house? I have a crack occurring in a wall and am deciding on calling a company to check foundation sinking issue.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:03 PM   #2
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I recently purchased a foreclosure, and the financial institution spent $9K to put a drainage system and sump pump in the basement.

My buddy, a home inspector, found sheet rock in the "man cave" to be too wet. After the sheet rock was torn off, the drywall had been glued to the foundation--rather than installed on furring strips. The wall had been sweating.

Foundation contractors are very specialized. But they're your only option to handle a cracked foundation. Maybe the fix won't be that difficult.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:36 PM   #3
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I should have been more specific. Crack is inside the house, in drywall, emanating from corner of a doorway.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:52 PM   #4
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I realize you said inside the house, but it is on an interior wall or exterior wall? Could just be normal settling over time. Why not try filling it in and see if cracks again before getting too excited.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:57 PM   #5
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Sounds like settlement most likely. Had the problem in corner of a garage an L-shaped ranch back in 1994, garage was the short "leg" of the "L". Atlas Piers installed a pier below that corner of the foundation. Sold the house (bought in 1991) in 1997 with full disclosure and transfer of the life of the structure warranty at a good profit. Of course, that was good seller's market at the time. I would research companies and get estimates and not wait too long. These problems don't get better and often get worse with time.
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Old 12-15-2016, 08:59 PM   #6
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yes, more info would be good, but settling over time is not the issue, all houses do that. The degree of unevenness of settling causes cracks.
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Old 12-15-2016, 09:06 PM   #7
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Over time, houses shift and narrow cracks in drywall are not uncommon. First, try gouging out the gypsum, applying a new coat of mud, prime and repaint. If it recurs then it might be indicative of a more serious issue that needs to be addressed.

My old split level house had a foundation that was 3/4 below grade in the back and 1/2 below grade in the front. The back wall was out of plumb... when we were selling the home inspector noticed it and the buyers brought in a structural engineer who did some measurements and indicated that the severity was not uncommon for homes in the area and unlikely to become a serious problem... the buyer accepted that conclusion and we closed a week later.

In the cathedral ceiling of our living room we had a crack between the ceiling and a wall that would open up to ~3/8" or so in winter and almost nothing in the summer. I finally put trim around it attached to the ceiling but not attached to the wall and it hid the crack nicely.... problem solved.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:07 AM   #8
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In the cathedral ceiling of our living room we had a crack between the ceiling and a wall that would open up to ~3/8" or so in winter and almost nothing in the summer. I finally put trim around it attached to the ceiling but not attached to the wall and it hid the crack nicely.... problem solved.
I had the exact same problem with a cathederal ceiling. My first thought was to fix it like you did. DW, however was so concerned that we had a major problem, she insisted we have a structural engineer look at it. $300 later, he said there was no problem, and we should just hide it with trim.

BTW, I am a degreed Civil Engineer, a registered Professional Engineer, and at the time held the company's construction license in 10 states. But we had to call in a "professional".
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:11 AM   #9
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Agree with others that it may be normal settling and foundation repairs are very expensive. I'd patch and reassess over time. It is not likely to suddenly get worse or cause an emergency. Make sure the down spouts drain well away from the foundation.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:16 AM   #10
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My mother's house had a crack in the ceiling near a doorway. It was typical of homes in her area, just a bit of settling. It does look like something serious, but it isn't. If the home is not new and the only evidence of cracking is one piece of drywall, there's probably nothing to worry about.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:32 AM   #11
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I've seen a few episodes of 'This Old House' where they were renovating older homes with foundation issues and it always seemed to be something obvious like doorways out of square so the doors wouldn't close properly or floors that were way out of level. Not suggesting one should wait that long but minor cracks in walls are common, I've repaired a few in my current house.
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Old 12-16-2016, 07:55 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Pilot2013 View Post
I should have been more specific. Crack is inside the house, in drywall, emanating from corner of a doorway.
It's probably nothing to worry about. Especially if it is 1/4" or less. Get some white/clear flexible caulk, fill the crack, and wipe it smooth with a wet rag before it dries.

Then, paint over it.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:16 AM   #13
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We got screwed on a home with a basement that had moved in at least 12" at the top of the basement wall. Improper drainage was the cause.
Not much cracking, but you could hear some occasional pops as the house moved. A structural engineer figured it out and recommended a basement expert.

I'm sure you would have much more visible cracking. We did, the prior owner had spent a lot of money covering up the damage. I'm with everyone that says patch and see.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:34 PM   #14
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Thanks for all the feedback. It is an interior wall, starting at the corner of a large (wide) doorway/throughway. The problem is, I have noticed as it has gotten very cold, it has gotten worse, meaning longer.

As far as less than 1/4", I assume you are meaning the width of the crack, and not the length? It is MUCH narrower than that maybe 1/32 or max 1/16 wide, but much longer. It goes at 45 degrees from the corner of right-top of doorway/throughway.

Didn't want to spackle and paint as I didn't want it to seem as though I am trying to hide it, although probably not selling for a little while.

On another note, gas pack (heat) went out today. Waiting for HVAC guy to call me back.
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Old 12-16-2016, 12:40 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Pilot2013 View Post
Thanks for all the feedback. It is an interior wall, starting at the corner of a large (wide) doorway/throughway. The problem is, I have noticed as it has gotten very cold, it has gotten worse, meaning longer.

As far as less than 1/4", I assume you are meaning the width of the crack, and not the length? It is MUCH narrower than that maybe 1/32 or max 1/16 wide, but much longer. It goes at 45 degrees from the corner of right-top of doorway/throughway.

Didn't want to spackle and paint as I didn't want it to seem as though I am trying to hide it, although probably not selling for a little while.

On another note, gas pack (heat) went out today. Waiting for HVAC guy to call me back.
Sounds like nothing to worry about. I'd spackle it with a flexible spackling product and paint over it. You are not hiding a major defect, you are performing maintenance.
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Old 12-16-2016, 01:02 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the feedback. It is an interior wall, starting at the corner of a large (wide) doorway/throughway. The problem is, I have noticed as it has gotten very cold, it has gotten worse, meaning longer.

As far as less than 1/4", I assume you are meaning the width of the crack, and not the length? It is MUCH narrower than that maybe 1/32 or max 1/16 wide, but much longer. It goes at 45 degrees from the corner of right-top of doorway/throughway.

Didn't want to spackle and paint as I didn't want it to seem as though I am trying to hide it, although probably not selling for a little while.

On another note, gas pack (heat) went out today. Waiting for HVAC guy to call me back.
You're are not hiding, those types of cracks are normal. One tell tale sign is if you have window, doors that bind or stick. Hearing loud popping noises. Those are problems.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:17 PM   #17
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Yep, fine line between fixing and hiding........

I knew a man who "fixed" wood rot in his window frames with wood putty and paint. When his Realtor told him that a buyer could sue him for covering up, and not fixing a defect, he did not understand why his solution was a problem.

Of course, the home seller was a used car salesman for 30 years....
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Old 12-16-2016, 03:04 PM   #18
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I had the exact same problem with a cathederal ceiling. My first thought was to fix it like you did. DW, however was so concerned that we had a major problem, she insisted we have a structural engineer look at it. $300 later, he said there was no problem, and we should just hide it with trim.

BTW, I am a degreed Civil Engineer, a registered Professional Engineer, and at the time held the company's construction license in 10 states. But we had to call in a "professional".
this could sooo happen to me (if I were an engineer, that is....)
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:43 PM   #19
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Yep, fine line between fixing and hiding........

I knew a man who "fixed" wood rot in his window frames with wood putty and paint. When his Realtor told him that a buyer could sue him for covering up, and not fixing a defect, he did not understand why his solution was a problem.

Of course, the home seller was a used car salesman for 30 years....
makes perfect sense then... he probably could have easily done it with only 5 years of experience as a used car salesman.
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Old 12-16-2016, 08:44 PM   #20
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You're are not hiding, those types of cracks are normal. One tell tale sign is if you have window, doors that bind or stick. Hearing loud popping noises. Those are problems.
+1... you're simply fixing a cosmetic issue.
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