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Cracked studs in Superior Walls precast foundation

4603 Views 11 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  stadry
I'm purchasing a townhouse (built in 2004) with a Superior Walls precast foundation (still in the contingency period). I noticed many of the concrete studs are cracked near the top where they meet the upper plate. The basement is mostly finished, so I can't see the rest of them, but all the ones I can see on this wall have similar cracks. One has been filled with some kind of caulking material and the others have not. I don't see any evidence of water infiltration and the place is in great shape otherwise. Is this normal with these foundations due to settling or does this probably indicate a serious problem? See the images below for details. Thanks in advance.
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Note the cracks near the tops of the studs.


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I agree with you. Possibly a settling issue. What kind of soil is it built on?
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To be honest, I'm not sure. This is my first house purchase and I know next to nothing about soils. The area is southwestern Pennsylvania, not far outside of Pittsburgh, and pretty much every place I've looked at has had some kind of foundation issue. Some are minor and some are major.

My home inspector didn't think it was a big deal, but I'm seeking as many opinions as possible.

My concern is just whether or not it's likely to cause a problem with this foundation system since much of the support is apparently provided by these concrete studs.

Thanks again.
You're welcome.

I would continue to monitor it like you're doing. Take detail pictures, date stamp them, then compare them going forward to see if they are getting worse.

If cracks keep getting deeper or worse, there may be other issues that need addressing; Like slope, water, soil type, etc.

Home inspectors are not thoroughly trained in a specific area like this, they just give general advice and suggestions.

If you are really worried about it or situation gets worse, you could hire a structural engineer to do an assessment of the situation. They will address the area, soil type, any water issue, slope, etc. and find out exactly why it continues to sink or settle. In my area, upstate NY, this service costs 300-500 dollars. But you will have a detailed report and recommendations from a structural engineer on how to fix it. Just a suggestion.
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The main office of the Superior Wall Co. is in Pa. Give them a call. They will tell you what is going on. The cracks don't look that big, but if each is cracked, my guess is the framing was not done to superior walls specs.
A lot of framers are not familiar with their specs
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To be clear, I haven't purchased it yet. I'm still in the contingency period of my contract. I am going to have an engineer and/or Superior Walls assess it. Outdated kitchens are one thing, but structural problems are another entirely.

I'll update this thread once I have results in case others run into this situation.
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... my guess is the framing was not done to superior walls specs. A lot of framers are not familiar with their specs...
That's very possible. From what research I've done, these were just beginning to see use in this area at the time this place was built. It would make sense particularly then for few to be familiar with them.
Request the owner to give you the permit papers. It should tell you what rules were followed and what eye witness evidence were checked off. The owner just has to ask for it, it is not that complicated. If not, walk away. That kind of foundation always require a footing drain and you may be getting a great system, if done as required - check for mid line clean out or outlet somewhere, including a sump. If you know the manufacturer, call them and see if they have a record. The installation may have been done, at least with the manufacturer representative present.
It's a townhouse, so who built it, is there a warranty, etc? The town has these records and the owner can get them. If not, again walk away. Press the real estate agent to get these for you. Make them do work.
i like carp's 2nd suggestion - go find another place,,, you're risking much pain in your life otherwise
Pretty sure that footing is stone if i remember right,as opposed to concrete.
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just now remembering working on these about 20yrs ago in nj,,, 2 of them - same bldr - same development - cracks in the same place,,, our clients were the h/o's & we epoxy-welded the crks,,, as i recall, the 'footer' was 57stone, woody

iirc, 'this old house' featured this for 1 of their projects,,, not sure it got wide acceptance after passing thru its 'au courant' period
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