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Old 07-29-2010, 09:58 AM   #1
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


Hi I'm hoping I can get an objective opinion from someone who knows how cinderblock walls are built.

I had a contractor install a 6' cinderblock wall for privacy in my back yard about 15 months ago, and it's just a wall not part of a foundation or anything. Now I'm noticing more and more "stepping" cracks in the wall. They aren't huge, but some of the hairline cracks go through the actual blocks, not just the mortar.

Also one side of the wall has stucco on it, and you can see the cracks through that too, and recently the crack has created a 1" hole in the stucco so you can see the block underneath.

I live in So. California so freezing/thawing isn't an issue. We've had a couple earthquakes, but nothing huge, and didn't cause any cracks in any of the other walls (though there are a couple of similar cracks in the older walls).

So my questions is, is this "normal" just something that happens to cinderblock walls over time, or could the contractor have done something wrong?

Also since they're hairline cracks is this something I can ignore for a little while, or should it be taken care of right away?

Thanks for any advice!

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Old 07-29-2010, 10:54 AM   #2
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


What sort of footer is under this wall? Sounds like the wall is settling.

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Old 07-29-2010, 11:15 AM   #3
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


They poured concrete and stuck rebar in it that's all I know. Is that settling just a normal function of gravity or is it something that could have been prevented?

The city did come out and inspect at least twice and I have the permits so I'm assuming its all to code.
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Old 07-29-2010, 02:01 PM   #4
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


This is a 6 foot high wall in an earthquake zone. I would think it would need a substantial base and vertical support from the base to the top.
If you didn't say anything about the earthquakes I would have said it sounds like it was incorrectly structured.
What does the building code say as to the correct methodology of this wall build? There should be some detailed requirements.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:43 PM   #5
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


What Ron said. I found out when getting my late father's house ready to sell that California has some seriously different code requirements.
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Old 07-29-2010, 03:48 PM   #6
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


"soil stability" in California looks like a good place to search.
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Old 07-30-2010, 06:45 PM   #7
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


Since the cracks go through the block it maybe a failed footing. Often times if the crack is through the block and not a step crack it is from footing failure.
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Old 07-30-2010, 07:45 PM   #8
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Brickie View Post
Since the cracks go through the block it maybe a failed footing. Often times if the crack is through the block and not a step crack it is from footing failure.
What's the difference between a, "failed footing" and a "footing failure"
Ron
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Old 07-31-2010, 12:09 PM   #9
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


Quote:
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What's the difference between a, "failed footing" and a "footing failure"
Ron
Nothing. I was being long winded and repeated myself.
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Old 07-31-2010, 02:18 PM   #10
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Did the contractor build the wall wrong?


If the wall was built properly, it should have lasted 50 years, not 15 months.
The wall will likely come apart in a short while.

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