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Old 01-01-2011, 07:01 AM   #1
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


I have what has been described to me as a well room (I have also seen it called a cold room) underneath my back stoop--It's approximately 4x4. The room itself is set off from my finished basement. Since the room is under my back stoop, it is not under any wall of the house. Typically, we simply keep the door closed in that room since it tends to get very cold in there (it's not insulated at all). Moreover, the door that is on the room does not seal it off very well. The previous owner had a refrigerator installed in the room which we are looking to have removed.

Anyhow, the room has been a mild annoyance for a while. The cold from the outside combined with the heat that manages to find its way into the room causes condensation in there, and it is damp at times. Within the past month with the cold weather, however, a new problem developed. Approximately 6 feet up, a crack developed around the wall of the room on all three exterior sides. Obviously, I want to have this fixed as soon as possible. Before I call a contractor in to fix it, though, I would like ideas on what should be done. Honestly, I am not looking for the room to be pretty or even functional. I just want for it to be safe and secure. I feel good knowing that it is not a load bearing wall--at least I don't believe that it is--but I want the room to be fixed if for no other reason than to keep my heating bill low.

Could I simply remove the fridge, caulk the crack, and put insulation around the room? I don't know these answers...any advice would help.

Thanks a lot!



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Old 01-01-2011, 07:22 AM   #2
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


In my mind the repair of the crack is secondary to the cause of the crack. What has happened lately to the area around the house that would cause this? Construction? Severe weather? Plumbing leaks on the water main?
Ron

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Old 01-01-2011, 07:53 AM   #3
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


From what I can see, nothing recently happened that would cause the issue. The only issue is that we have thus far had a very cold winter and that room stays very cold. My daughter, at times, opens the door to the room, letting warm air in. This causes condensation in the room, but I don't know that these air temperatures would cause a crack like this.
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:04 AM   #4
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


If the stoop is integrated into the construction of the room, a water leak under ground could freeze and lift the front stairs and crack the mortar.
Depends on how it was constructed. If there are no associated cracks where the room connects with the basement, I would think the top part raised as opposed to the bottom part sinking.
Any associated damage anywhere else?
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Old 01-01-2011, 08:54 AM   #5
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


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If the stoop is integrated into the construction of the room, a water leak under ground could freeze and lift the front stairs and crack the mortar.
Depends on how it was constructed. If there are no associated cracks where the room connects with the basement, I would think the top part raised as opposed to the bottom part sinking.
Any associated damage anywhere else?
Ron
I can't tell if the stoop itself is integrated into the construction of the room; however, I would initially doubt it. The stoop is a single step covered by an awning. It looks as though the concrete work is newer than the room itself. Though it is tough to see in the picture, directly above the refrigerator is a hollow, circle-shape. I'm assuming that this is where the well once was (the house is was built in the 30s). It was obviously sealed off some time ago--perhaps when the stoop was installed.

At the juncture of the rooms, I see no cracking. What I am wondering about, though, is your observation about the water freezing. My driveway in the rear of my house is concrete and runs to the stoop. However, after examining the meeting of the two, I can see that the previous owner sealed the divide with a concrete sealer--actually, something more rubbery in nature. Portions of this has peeled away, leaving a divide between the stoop and driveway. Is it possible that water is coming into there, and, after a December of below freezing temperatures, the water froze and separated the wall? If this is the case, what can I do now? Would it be appropriate in these temperatures to seal the divide between the stoop and the driveway?

Thanks for all of your advice.
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Old 01-01-2011, 06:46 PM   #6
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


Can you post photos of the area outside, around the stoop? Does the area around the stoop pitch away from the stoop or towards it?
Is the water main in the vicinity?
Sealants need to be applied in a dry, clean environment. I don't know if they're all temperature sensitive.
Ron
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:31 AM   #7
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


The room may have served as a cold cellar for storage of produce for storage after the harvest. It would have been made to stay cold.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:14 PM   #8
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


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The room may have served as a cold cellar for storage of produce for storage after the harvest. It would have been made to stay cold.
I don't understand the post. Uninsulated spaces in cold climates are, well...cold. They don't crack unless a force has been inappropriately applied.
The poster isn't curious about the nature of the room, just the causation of the crack.
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:39 PM   #9
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Okay, over the past few days, here in Pittsburgh we have had warmer than normal temperatures (above freezing, well into the mid to high 40s). I just checked my crack issue in the cold room and found that the crack appears to be all but sealed. Is the because the cold weather caused water in the ground to freeze, thus cracking the room?

I'll get a picture of the back stoop as soon as I can. Water does not pitch toward the stoop; however, like I mentioned, the seal between the stoop itself and the drive is not complete.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:00 PM   #10
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


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Originally Posted by TomPgh View Post
Okay, over the past few days, here in Pittsburgh we have had warmer than normal temperatures (above freezing, well into the mid to high 40s). I just checked my crack issue in the cold room and found that the crack appears to be all but sealed. Is the because the cold weather caused water in the ground to freeze, thus cracking the room?

I'll get a picture of the back stoop as soon as I can. Water does not pitch toward the stoop; however, like I mentioned, the seal between the stoop itself and the drive is not complete.
It's a Christmas miracle.
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:16 PM   #11
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


Quote:
Okay, over the past few days, here in Pittsburgh we have had warmer than normal temperatures (above freezing, well into the mid to high 40s). I just checked my crack issue in the cold room and found that the crack appears to be all but sealed. Is the because the cold weather caused water in the ground to freeze, thus cracking the room?
Ayuh,... Amazing what frost can do ain't it,..??
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Old 01-03-2011, 06:31 PM   #12
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Well Room (Cold Room) Issue--Advice Needed


I would even go so far as to say the previous owner had the same issue. Sealed the gap in the driveway to keep out rainwater and caulked and painted to hide the hairline crack.

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