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Old 01-31-2012, 08:38 PM   #1
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


Hello, we are considering purchasing our first home and when we went to see it for the 2nd time I noticed this crack on the front of the house. It appears to have been fixed, but should I turn away and look elsewhere or will this be fine come 10 years from now if I decide to sell it?


The link is my skydrive I used to upload a picture from my phone where I took the picture.
https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx...LedYpbcwR_eugc

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Old 01-31-2012, 08:51 PM   #2
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


Looks like a common foundation settling crack that was repiared completly wrong.
The joint should have been cut out with a diamond blade and filled with matching morter. It's called tuck pointing.
Looks like they tryed to use concrete patch in a tube.

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Old 01-31-2012, 09:11 PM   #3
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


If whatever caused the crack has stopped or been corrected, then you might be fine. If whatever caused it is still doing it for the next 10 years, then you'll be dealing with it for the next 10 years.

There's no way to know which scenario you have or how it's going to play out by looking at one photo.
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Old 01-31-2012, 09:18 PM   #4
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


I have no way of knowing either unless we get an engineer to take a look. I'm not sure if I want to sink that much money into it and prefer to walk away I guess.


I'm no expert and am looking for any input. The house has been redone from top to bottom inside and is on a slight slope (nothing major) and since the house was built in 1974 didn't know if this could just be the house settling due to age or the start of something terrible.

We have been looking for a house for over a year and it seems every house we look at has some type of foundation/settling issues. (We live in the Ohio/WV area region where everything is largely hills)
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Old 02-01-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


Here is a closer view of the cracks

https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx...DK11tjBXsszhWY

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Old 02-01-2012, 10:52 AM   #6
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


The house has been there for 36 years, personally I wouldn't worry too much about it. But that is me. I would however, like was suggested is remove the patch material and remortar it with matching mortar.

I would however, take a look at the foundation just to see if there are any glaring problems that are obvious. Just a little more due diligence on your part with looking it over.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:51 AM   #7
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


I have looked at something like ten houses with cracks in the brick. In the U.S., most brick houses are veneered brick, as opposed to structural brick. Veneered brick can crack in a manner similar to the crack you presented in the photo for a number of reasons:

1. Foundation settlement. Evaluation of foundation settlement requires a structural engineer with a precision surveying instrument. An initial evaluation only rarely determines if the settlement is ongoing, usually you have to install a strain gage (sometime called a crack meter) to monitor movement over time.

2. Improper detailing of the attachment of the brick to the structural wall. Sometimes this is caused by lack of brick ties, use of an improper brick tie, inadequate number of brick ties, or deterioration of the brick ties. Evaluation of this issue almost always requires accessing the cavity between the stud wall and the brick, assuming there is a cavity. This is invasive surgery, hard to do on a house you do not own.

3. Improper brick type. As amazing as it seems, I have run across houses that were built with interior brick rather than exterior brick. This can cause a variety of issues.

4. Improper mortar type. Most of the portland cement mortars are stronger than the brick, unlike the old lime mortars that were in use for thousands of years. This can lead to cracking of the brick due to temperature fluctuations in the brick veneer due to solar gain. The temperature fluctuations cause the mortar to expand at a different rate than then brick, and if the mortar is stronger than the brick, the brick can crack. If the mortar is poorly adhered to the brick, the mortar can crack instead.

There are other causes of cracking that are less common. The only way to make an intelligent assessment is to hire a local, competent engineer or architect familiar with brick problems. This of course is not a free service, and in my opinion cannot be performed by the average home inspector. If this house is not of sufficient interest to you to warrant spending money on a professional investigation, I suggest you walk.
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Old 02-01-2012, 11:54 AM   #8
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
If this house is not of sufficient interest to you to warrant spending money on a professional investigation, I suggest you walk.
I agree if you are already questioning yourself on this, this is a good point above.
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Old 02-01-2012, 02:46 PM   #9
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Buying a house is this crack cause for concern?


When you say the house is on a slight slope i hope you mean the surrounding the landscape and not the actual house.

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