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Old 11-22-2010, 08:34 PM   #1
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


Hey guys, I'm in contract on a 1921 foresquare house. It's all brick and 2,144 sq. ft. Most of today's inspection checked out fine, and the main house appears to be very well built and ready to stand another 89 years.

But an addition in the back did raise an issue with the inspector. At the rear of the house, to the right of the window seen in some of the inspector's photos, is an old addition, where the back of the house was bumped out about 4 feet probably 6 years ago. Beneath it is a crawlspace and foundation. The rest of the house has a full basement of thick brick.

Anyway, you can see the seam there where the house was extended beyond the original footprint. That back corner is a bathroom, and above all of that is an outdoor porch on the second floor.

As you can see, the caulk in the seam is cracked in some laces, and that column to the left appears to be leaning out. The floors inside do feel a bit uneven, or sloping down toward the back, but that may or may not be associated with what I'm describing here. And the foundation under the area pictured (from the crawl space) does not appear to be pulling up, cracking or anything like that.

The inspector said the add on should have been tied into the rest of the building at the brick between the old and new. I haven't read or seen anyone doing that. The seam by the way is just on that one side. around the corner on the back it is shingled over, and presumably wood, and then turns back into the brick of the rest of the house and continues on.

Do you guys have any thoughts on what is going on in these photos? Does this look like some kind of serious settling or structural issue? How might it be fixed?
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Old 11-22-2010, 08:35 PM   #2
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


Here is one more photo:
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:03 PM   #3
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


Foundation/crack problem that could be due to poor compaction or materials.

For such a short slab addition, you would not see any cracks because it moved with the footings. The height in relationship to the width magnifies any settlement and causes a separation at the jucnction of old and new construction that is greater than a caulk can handle.

Dick
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:07 PM   #4
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


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Foundation/crack problem that could be due to poor compaction or materials.

For such a short slab addition, you would not see any cracks because it moved with the footings. The height in relationship to the width magnifies any settlement and causes a separation at the jucnction of old and new construction that is greater than a caulk can handle.

Dick
Thanks Dick, that does make sense. Oh, by the way, I meant to say "60 years" not "6 years" in my post.

My gut feeling is to have a masonry person look at this, would this be a good course of action? Do I need to act in the short term? We have about a week to send remedies to the seller, so, unfortunately, I have to move fast and the holiday weekend is fast approaching.
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Old 11-22-2010, 09:52 PM   #5
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


If you under a contract, you need to have a structural engineer look at it before you finally sign. I am surprised the inspector did not suggest that.

If you have a professional opinion (not a contractor's sales pitch) you can determine the long term effects. since the addition was made long ago, it might be cosmetic, but if the original and addition were different types of construction (wood frame or wood) there could be some other compatibility problems and just tying the brick veneer is not a real solution.

Do not have a masonry contractor "look" at a problem that may be a long term situation - he will just try to sell an immediate, but a professional engineer does not do work because he works for you. A mason contractor can do a good job if he has the some direction.
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Old 11-22-2010, 10:31 PM   #6
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


The "wedge" shaped crack in the last picture appears to be a classic example of wall movement due to a subsiding foundation - if the addition is actually 60 years old, and the movement is actually recent, then I would look for a recent change in drainage patterns - including gutters and downspouts, grading, recent construction, etc. - at this or the adjacent lot(s).

And yes, if I saw that, I would recommend a SE's evaluation.
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Old 11-23-2010, 12:04 PM   #7
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


thanks for the replies. yes, we're going to have an SE take a look to let us know what's up. At this point we simply don't know if it is recent or not. Cracks in caulk could be from contraction in the caulk as opposed to recent movement, or they could be from recent movement.

I'd like to know which it is before I buy!
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Old 11-23-2010, 06:05 PM   #8
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Old brick addition on old brick house, pulling away?


Let us know what the SE says...

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