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Old 04-11-2011, 04:32 PM   #1
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Foundation settling or ?....


Hi. I've been wondering about this for awhile now, so I decided it's finally time to ask the question.

First, here are the symptoms, then'll I'll give more details and photos. I don't know if all of these items are related, but I thought I'd mention them all just in case:

1. Interior doors slowly swing closed, towards the rear of the house (west) (for doors that swing east/west - to/from front/rear of house).

2. Bathroom door that swings north/south (sides of house are north & south) won't close all the way. The upper part of the door opposite the hinge binds on the door frame. There's also a crack in the drywall on the outside of the bathroom above this door. Very small crack, but a crack nonetheless.

3. Concrete is chipping/breaking off just below the bricks (house is single story, fully bricked (up to roof).

4. Floor joist that rest on the front foundation wall (foundation is poured concrete) started twisting sideways.

History:
House was built in 1996. Everything was inspected by the local authorities during the building process. I was around during the whole project so I know some details about how everything was built. A few years ago I started noticing the doors inside the house would slowly swing towards the rear of the house, as if the rear of the house was lower. I guess the bathroom door became an issue around the same time the doors swung closed on their own, but I can't say for sure. I noticed the twisting floor joist within the last year and took steps to knock it back straight and brace it so it won't try to kick out the way it was before....and I plan on buying some more 2x10's to fix it up better when I have time. The foundation where it's chipping off here and there has been going on for quite awhile I guess but I noticed it's happening in quite a few places along the front of the house, a couple places in the rear and almost nowhere on the sides. I did not notice any stair step cracking in the bricks. They all look good. The foundation wall looks good inside - no chipping off pieces like I see outside. I have great drainage, more or less. I'm on a ridge and all the water goes downhill fast and I also have a buried perforated pipe that's buried behind the house with round gravel on top to drain water away from the back side. The front is all downhill but the back has a small piece of ground that can shed water towards the house. There are no leaks/drips in the basement at all even after very heavy rain. Oh and we have had a few bad droughts over the last couple years but I've tried to keep the soil damp near the foundation but I may not have kept it damp enough. Just noting that so you know.

I'll post the photos below. Knowing all this...what do you think is going on and should I worry much about it??? Thanks!

House is an L shape more or less. Full basement under entire footprint of house. Rear wall is 50' long (straight) and front is about 30' before you get to the part that sticks out and about 20' more for that. One side is about 35' and the longer side (where the L part is) is maybe 40 something.

The chipping on front of house:




Crack on front corner:


Bathroom door pinched, won't close most of the time, but occasionally depending on how much moisture is in the ground, it will loosen up a little more, but it's still tight.


Small crack above bathroom door that's tight:


The floor joist with the red hook in the photo is the one that was wanting to kick out to the right. The board looks like it might have a natural warp to it, but I would have thought that with all that weight on it at the wall, it would want to stay put. I only put the brace on the right since that's where it was trying to go and I plan on bracing it all the way down once I have time:


Closer view:

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Old 04-11-2011, 05:12 PM   #2
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Foundation settling or ?....


It's certainly not going to be easy to tell from the internet if the foundation is settling, but it does appear that the foundation wall "could" be shifting inward. The chipping of the top of the wall is just a minor sign. I'd suggest checking the wall for plumb along the entire length (every few feet or so) with a 6' level, or even string a straight line off of the bottom of the floor joists & measure back to the wall. Any obvious cracks on the interior of the foundation wall?

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Old 04-11-2011, 05:50 PM   #3
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Foundation settling or ?....


Sure, I understand. I'm just looking for some input as to likely causes for this sort of thing and you know, if someone saw something that was an obvious red flag for something.

I haven't done any official measuring but I'll try to get a 6' level soon (don't have anything longer than maybe 3 feet) to check it that way since that would be the quickest way for me to do it reliably. I can say though, looking down the wall just eyeballing it, it looks as straight as can be to my eyes.

There are a couple vertical hairline cracks in the front wall spread out pretty far apart. You wouldn't notice them unless you got closer and started looking for cracks. On the back wall, I only see the one vertical crack that's been there for quite awhile and it actually did drip several years ago, but that was before I put the buried drain behind the house and put some hydraulic cement on it. Hasn't been moist since then.
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Old 04-11-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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Foundation settling or ?....


jomama45, could the weep holes be plugged and the moisture freezing after it pools between the mudsill/brick during Winter? The spalling looks to be an on-going thing from water intrusion. Brick is a water reservoir siding.

The corner crack appears the back-hoe bumped it on back-filling? Since there is brick mortar in the spalled area there.

The tight door is normal settling of the framing or door installation.Though the casings should have been puttied at nail holes.

The drywall crack is from settling (normal) on the joint between two boards.

The floor joist moved because two of the three rim nails missed. The floor nails (shiners or air-nails) should have been pulled and re-nailed as they tend to squeak when touching the joist.
The rim insulation (fiberglass) existing is worthless, replace it with foam board, air sealed with canned foam; http://www.buildingscience.com/docum...m-at-rim-joist

Gary
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Old 04-12-2011, 06:15 PM   #5
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Foundation settling or ?....


Quote:
Originally Posted by homeowner_101 View Post
Sure, I understand. I'm just looking for some input as to likely causes for this sort of thing and you know, if someone saw something that was an obvious red flag for something.

Honestly, the chipping foundation would throw a red flag for me. I think it could be an indicator of rotation at the top of the foundation wall.

I haven't done any official measuring but I'll try to get a 6' level soon (don't have anything longer than maybe 3 feet) to check it that way since that would be the quickest way for me to do it reliably.
You could also use a 4' level with a very straight section of lumber to check for plumb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GBR in WA View Post
jomama45, could the weep holes be plugged and the moisture freezing after it pools between the mudsill/brick during Winter? The spalling looks to be an on-going thing from water intrusion. Brick is a water reservoir siding.
Could be a slight chance Gary, but it appears that there are clear, open weeps where some of the damage is occurring, as well as what looks to be a self-adhering base flashing. If water was freezing behind the brick and over the rubber, I'd expect to see the brick to fail first.
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Old 04-16-2011, 10:20 AM   #6
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Foundation settling or ?....


Sorry for the delay in replying. The weep holes that were there when the house was built are wide open. The ones you see with the silicone were drilled after the fact by mistake and we won't get into that story, but the important thing to know is the weep holes are actually open and they are entire spaces open between the bricks (they just didn't put mortar between the bricks every 4 or 5 bricks or so).

I went ahead and blocked up the entire length of the floor joists in the section where this one joist was twisting. It's pretty straight now and the whole length is blocked up with 2x4's so one shouldn't push on the other and knock another one out of place.



Also, I think someone asked about this. The sill plates are resting on top of a piece of foam. Oh and there's no water behind the wall...my house is very dry everywhere so I don't think the chipping of the concrete outside is due to moisture and freezing of that moisture or whatever.

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Old 04-16-2011, 11:10 AM   #7
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Foundation settling or ?....


I'd like to get a look behind that brick. If there is excessive motar that dropped behind the brick during installation, it could trap/absorb moisture, then freeze and push against the floor framing. That would cause the brick to ease forward over time. If the surface of the poured wall was worked too much, it could be weaker than the bond of the mortar, causing it to fracture away from itself.

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