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Old 10-23-2011, 08:58 PM   #1
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Cinderblock Foundation Crack.. Pictures!


Hey all, Did a few searches didnt get exact info I needed. I was going to insulate the basement becasue I repaired the outside tiles and regraded yard and now i have no water in basement but I am going to insulate and put the exterior black bubble roll down on floor INCASE anythin does come in. I dont recall seeing cracks exterior when I did drain tiles but ripped off panelling and old insulation today and found a crack runs verticle from top off wallto about 3 feet from floor runs along mortar line about 12 feet long and stops feathers off into the motar. The crack is minimal size looks bigger in pictures but the other walls aroudn thecorner has not one crack. So im kind of nervous abotu this about reading the stuff I have read so far on here about foundation cracks. The cracks look like they crack but have no shifted or bulged or anything. Im just wondering if I should get structural engineer in here and pay him bunch of money to check it out or not? I have some pictures check it out fellas!
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Cinderblock Foundation Crack.. Pictures!-photo2.jpg   Cinderblock Foundation Crack.. Pictures!-photo.jpg   Cinderblock Foundation Crack.. Pictures!-photo3.jpg   Cinderblock Foundation Crack.. Pictures!-photo4.jpg  

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Old 10-23-2011, 09:24 PM   #2
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Cinderblock Foundation Crack.. Pictures!


just took a deeper look, the cracks are all in the same place no shifting and the vertical crack has the green sealer in the crack that was applied 25 years ago atleast becasue parents bought the house off my grand parents 24 years ago and homeowner prior made basement into living space and havent touched it. the vertical crack has been there for 25years atleast and the horizontal crack hasnt shifted so hopefully just mortar crack!

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Old 10-25-2011, 06:15 PM   #3
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Cinderblock Foundation Crack.. Pictures!


no one?
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Old 10-25-2011, 06:59 PM   #4
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thats a structural crack. i would consult an engineer and have them look at it.

in my experience. block foundation walls are garbage, their more prone to cracking and much more likely to leak compared to a poured foundation wall
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:38 PM   #5
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I do foundation assessments and flood/disaster inspections for a living. You should get your foundation checked out.

(The following are not meant to frighten anyone into action. They depict the result of velocity flow of floodwaters on a foundation. The first shot was a client who allowed me use of the photo. The second was from a home nearby that was taken from the street.)
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Old 10-25-2011, 09:24 PM   #6
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Shwanzy -

That is really not a structural crack according to what I see.

It is a shrinkage crack from when the wall was built (probably backfilled to soon) for a number of reasons:

1. Strucural shear cracks are horizontal and do not die before a barrier or opening. Since there is also no movement/deflection, is stable the backfill was probably too early, wet and the wall was not braced. It is minor and has been stable.

2. The vertical crack starts vertical and never gets down to the footing, so the footings are sound.

3. Since both cracks have the green paint (applied 24 years ago), they are definitely old and "dead" in engineering terms.

It is good the moisture problems in the soil are finally solved, but it still performed well for probably more than 20 years after the crack occurred,

I am also a registered structural engineer and home inspector with 40 years experience and have served on the codes committees (ACI, MJSC, several state codes) and on establishing standards (ASTM) as a voting member.

If it makes you feel better, call an engineer, but if it was mine, I would not bother. If it was my furnace heat exchanger that showed any crack, a profession would be out there within 24 hours.

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Old 10-26-2011, 09:56 AM   #7
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Enlighten me concretemasonry. You state:

It is a shrinkage crack from when the wall was built (probably backfilled to soon) for a number of reasons:

From what I can see, that is a concrete block wall. How do you figure concrete block wall formed a shrinkage crack? Block is cured long before it is delivered to the site, unless you think it was delivered with a series of vertical shrinkage cracks that just happen to line up vertically between adjacent blocks, I don't see shrinkage as a cause of those cracks.

Then you note that the wall was probably backfilled too soon. That might be relevant if it was a cast in place concrete wall, but how does it relate to a block wall? It's not like a concrete block wall has to cure to develop strength. If you are talking about the mortar between the blocks curing, well those cracks go through the block itself, not just the mortar. Or do you think that is a cast in place concrete wall that was tooled to look like a block wall?
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:53 AM   #8
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Daniel -

Cracks (direction and location) tell a lot about the cause/history. A vertical crack is typical of a shrinkage crack (classic example) A shrinkage crack starts at the top and usually does not progress to the bottom of the wall because of the restraint caused by the bonding to the foundation. Usually, in above grade masonry construction, control joints and are specified by codes for crack control, since any concrete or masonry wall will crack along a vertical line to create a vertical line to create a natural control joint. Below grade, after completion and backfilling the condidtions are much more stable since moisture and temperature factors are minimized.

Masonry wall do have to cure a certain amount before being loaded, the time requirement is usually less. The block are not necessarily 100% cured when delivered and the only real requirements relate to the block delivery are for compressive strength and moisture content for crack control. There nothing in the performance based ASTM requirements for percentage of curing, but some production methods can provide block up tp 8500 psi before leaving the factory, but most are just meet or exceed the minimum strength requirements and cure later to higher strengths. Mortar is a cementitious material and does require time to gain strength. Cold weather masonry requirements are clearly and depend on the temperatures and exposure, providing the materials are at the proper temperature.

Step cracks are typical of some potential structural problems, especially if they end up being full height.

Horizontal cracks are the classic problem of a lateral "out of plane" force. Usually this is soil pressure, but could be construction related. This horizontal crack is a little lower than typical, but backfilling or construction conditions can also be causes. A normal horizontal crack is usually about 1 course below the mid-height. Construction delays ( different days of construction) or cold weather without proper protection while curing can also cause a weak shear plane since shear strength takes time to develop, especially in a wall with no vertal load.

Fortunately, the cracks are old and "dead" and are the in-fill portion of the masonry wall since the corner "leads" are built first and then the rest of the wall is filled in next. The horizontal cracks did not progress because the corber "leads" are stronger and there is edge restraint from the corners or any vertical steel in the wall. This is more of an interesting condition than a problem.

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Old 10-27-2011, 10:15 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggie67 View Post
I do foundation assessments and flood/disaster inspections for a living. You should get your foundation checked out.

(The following are not meant to frighten anyone into action. They depict the result of velocity flow of floodwaters on a foundation. The first shot was a client who allowed me use of the photo. The second was from a home nearby that was taken from the street.)
Aggie, with all due respect, the two foundations in the pictures you were generous enough to share were in far worse shape, likely for years, before they failed. A foundation that has evidence of having those cracks (the evidence is the paint inside the cracks) for 20+ years will not fail in anything but a slow, obvious manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
Enlighten me concretemasonry. You state:

It is a shrinkage crack from when the wall was built (probably backfilled to soon) for a number of reasons:

From what I can see, that is a concrete block wall. How do you figure concrete block wall formed a shrinkage crack? Block is cured long before it is delivered to the site, unless you think it was delivered with a series of vertical shrinkage cracks that just happen to line up vertically between adjacent blocks, I don't see shrinkage as a cause of those cracks.

For the same reason control joints have been common practice in commercial CMU work for decades Dan. Mortar that contains substantial amounts of lime shrinks much more than Portalnd cement or concrete. Although each joint is only about 3/8" to 5/8" wide, you need to add the total of all head joints to evaluate the actual potential of thickness.

Then you note that the wall was probably backfilled too soon. That might be relevant if it was a cast in place concrete wall, but how does it relate to a block wall? It's not like a concrete block wall has to cure to develop strength. If you are talking about the mortar between the blocks curing, well those cracks go through the block itself, not just the mortar.

Experience tells me the odds are good that those block are "full 8"", 8" wide, with 1/3 or 1/2 of them being "split-ables" for versatility. If there are indeed split-ables in the wall, there's a good chance they'll crack down the center of the block than a regular old "stretcher".

The other thing you have to keep in mind is that Type M has often been the mortar of choice for below grade block basements, die to it's performance in damp enviroments. It's not uncommon for some Type M mortars to actually yield a higher compressive strength when cured than most standard CMU's.


Or do you think that is a cast in place concrete wall that was tooled to look like a block wall?
I hope you're trying to be snide/cocky here..............
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Old 10-29-2011, 08:55 AM   #10
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IMHO, I was taught and mentored early on that assessing a structural issue from photos alone and no site visit fails to meet an adequate, professional standard of care. I also don't believe it meets the definition of due diligence.
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Old 10-29-2011, 11:10 AM   #11
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I would agree with Dick that concrete blocks can suffer from shrinkage cracking after they are laid. AAC are much more prone to this, but standard concrete in long runs crack like this also. Usually the cracks are uniform in width and stop at the DPC.

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