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Old 05-12-2009, 09:40 AM   #1
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Cracked Foundation


I have a sun room that was added to my 31 year old house about 25 years ago and is made up mostly of windows. It sits on a poured concrete slab, no crawl space. The main house is on a slab, no basement or crawl space. The slab on the sun room runs with the grade such that towards the end, the foundation wall is exposed at a height of about 15". There is a 4 ft. crack that starts thin and gets bigger going away from the sun room, no more than 1/16" at its widest. I have had 2 contractors come out so far that say it is due to settling and suggest major repairs, one excavating and putting in a new footing, the other using a push pier. Now, I'm just a woman so what do I know but here is what I think. What is actually cracked and buckling is the parge attached to the cinder block. There is absolutely no evidence of settling inside or outside the room. When I take my level to measure at certain places near the crack, on the floor inside, siding above parge, window top and bottom, that little bubble sits right in the middle. Are these contractors messing with me with their 4 figure fixes? Do I just need to have some reparging done? Should I pay $300 to $400 for a structural engineer? Any help would be appreciate. Thanks.

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Old 05-12-2009, 01:37 PM   #2
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Cracked Foundation


Post pictures, inside and out. Can't really tell you a solution with just the description.
Ron

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Old 05-12-2009, 01:50 PM   #3
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Cracked Foundation


The pictures would be helpful and if you could answer a few questions that would help also.

Are both sides of the crack even or is one lower than the other and if so how much lower?

Do you know when the crack started?
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:01 PM   #4
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Cracked Foundation


I have attached pics of the cracks in the parge. If you look closely at the full pic of the sunroom you can see the crack slightly below the vinyl siding running under gutter toward house and around the corner where the deck hides it. Does this help?

thanks for advice
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Cracked Foundation-cracr-022.jpg   Cracked Foundation-cracr-025.jpg   Cracked Foundation-cracr-026.jpg   Cracked Foundation-cracr-039.jpg   Cracked Foundation-sun-room-004.jpg  

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Old 05-12-2009, 03:07 PM   #5
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Cracked Foundation


forgot to mention that I just noticed the crack this past Sunday. Though it is horizontal it does not run straight but curvy. There is nothing to see from the inside which I guess is evident from the sun room picture. Nothing on the inside shows any signs of settling, no cracks in wall etc.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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I am not an engineer but I don't think that is anything I would worry about unless it gets bigger at a fast pace. If it gets to be say 3/32" over the next year maybe I would be more concerned. It may have been there some time and gone unnoticed. As long as there is no evidence of the soil washing away or some other signs of instability I would find other things to worry about.

If you are in an area where you get freeze/thaw cycles I would seal it up with caulk or some other sealant.

Rege
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:24 PM   #7
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Thanks Rege. Since I'm planning on putting this house up for sale next spring (hoping the economy improves by then) I just want to pretty it up a bit. I don't want some inspector to come out and open up some can of worms.

In the meantime I will take your advice and find something else to worry about.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:28 PM   #8
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When a foundation is starting to fail problems such as cracks in the foundation, cracks in plaster, uneven floors, sticking doors and jamming windows are warnings that you should not ignore as the problem will likely get worse. You say your floor is level...are windows and doors giving you any problems? It could just be the parge...can you stick something thin in it to see how deep it goes? If it's just surface depth and no other issues you are probably okay for now...but would be aware of it in the event you experience additional symptoms as mentioned above.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:35 PM   #9
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The parge is a pretty thin layer and it is getting all ragged at the bottom. The windows are 100% fine, no problem opening, the floor is level, and there are no cracks around windows or the french doors on the deck front. also there are no separations in window or floor molding. I just don't see any interior evidence.

Now there might be cracks in the cinder block behind the parge but someone told me it would be a mistake to take that layer of parge off and not to mess with the crack.

btw, if anyone wants to buy my house, just holler. LOL
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:54 PM   #10
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Like the earlier post...it doesn't sound like you have a concern at this time. Good luck with the home sale. Hopefully things will begin to turn around in the housing market soon.
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Old 05-12-2009, 03:57 PM   #11
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Thanks Renegade. I sure hope things are better by next spring.
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Old 05-13-2009, 04:49 AM   #12
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http://boards.diynetwork.com/eve/for...6/m/2511087204

bob vila has a forum as does hgtv but i'd expect you'll get the same answers there
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:03 AM   #13
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thanks yesitsconcrete and I did post on that site as well. I have actually had a couple more contractors come out and this time after doing my extensive research and talking to folks, I came across more savvy with a "please don't snow me" attitude. They agreed I have no structural issues, just cracked parge.

However the estimates to pretty it up have ranged from $400 to $600. So, today I am off to my friendly hardware store to purchase an epoxy fill and do the job myself. Or should I use sakrete? Even though I live in the congested Northern VA area we have a mom and pops hardware where they personally walk you through your project with a smile and enthusiasm. No kidding!
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:30 AM   #14
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At first glance I would says that is just a cracked parge simply because the crack is horizontal and due to its location on the foundation wall. If that corner of the foundation were settling I would expect to see a more vertical crack and actually the crack would be at around a 45 degree angle. In fact you would see a more vertical crack on the foundation wall on each side of the corner.
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:29 AM   #15
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Thanks wildcat. Good illustration. I've learned a lot on this post. I just had a contractor out who said it was just cracked parge, no big deal and for $45 he bought a new tube of concrete repair (he said you don't want to use concrete), patched up the cracks plus a couple more on the other side and even let me keep the tube. He said before I put the sale sign up next spring, to put some dryloc along the parge if I wanted to.

So I went from someone who wanted to charge me $3200 for major excavation work to $45. I'm glad I did my homework!

Again, thanks to all for your help.

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