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msuwigwam

foundation issue in potential home purchase?

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Hello All,

My wife and I are considering making an offer on a house soon. If our offer is accepted, we will for sure be getting it inspected. However, I wanted to upload an image I took of the corner of the house for an opinion from the community regarding a potential foundation issue. I figured if it was an obvious foundation issue that could be diagnosed from the forums, it would save us the time and resources of even bothering with an offer.

I realize that with one picture it may be difficult to even give an opinion. But do you think the image looks to be an obvious major foundation issue big enough to not even waste the time on an offer? Thanks in advance!

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Hello All,

My wife and I are considering making an offer on a house soon. If our offer is accepted, we will for sure be getting it inspected. However, I wanted to upload an image I took of the corner of the house for an opinion from the community regarding a potential foundation issue. I figured if it was an obvious foundation issue that could be diagnosed from the forums, it would save us the time and resources of even bothering with an offer.

I realize that with one picture it may be difficult to even give an opinion. But do you think the image looks to be an obvious major foundation issue big enough to not even waste the time on an offer? Thanks in advance!

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011214162226_photo.jpg

59.32 KB

Looks like a *smile* crack. Brick is expansive and will pop-off foundation out-corners just like that. Is there a mirror image of the crack on the other side of the out-corner? If so, doesn't look like an issue ('course, like you said, just one pict to try and diagnose from).

Also looks like older brick (at least 30 years), and so the wall above will have been time-tested; any cracking in the brick reflecting foundation movement below? Again, if not, probably not an issue.

Jerry www.illinoisbuildinginspection.com

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The photo does not give us enough info to make any valid statements or offer an opinion. Jerry and Chad have commented and make valid points.

Could be this is a corner of a garage at grade on a slab. Could be a corner of a basement. etc.. Vastly different conditions.

Need more info.

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Thanks for the quick replies!

A little more info... House was built in 1955 in a Chicago suburb. The image I posted is of the corner of the basement that has a concrete sidewalk on one side (left side) and an asphalt driveway on the other side (lower part of image covered with snow). Unfortunately, the basement is finished with drywall on both the walls and ceiling, so no easy way of looking at it from the inside.

Thanks again!

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A little more info would help, but if I had to guess from that pic, it's a standard "corner pop".

The crack radiates from the "inside" to the outside; the chunk cleaved off the foundation. The foundation isn't moving.

Corners are cold. Decades of expansion/contraction, creates hairline cracks. Water gets in, freezes-thaws. Corner pops off.

I've seen a few thousand of these over the years.

Shameless plug......

I live in Evanston; where's the house?

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Hello All,

My wife and I are considering making an offer on a house soon. If our offer is accepted, we will for sure be getting it inspected. However, I wanted to upload an image I took of the corner of the house for an opinion from the community regarding a potential foundation issue. I figured if it was an obvious foundation issue that could be diagnosed from the forums, it would save us the time and resources of even bothering with an offer.

I realize that with one picture it may be difficult to even give an opinion. But do you think the image looks to be an obvious major foundation issue big enough to not even waste the time on an offer? Thanks in advance!

Click to Enlarge
tn_2011214162226_photo.jpg

59.32 KB

Looks like a *smile* crack. Brick is expansive and will pop-off foundation out-corners just like that. Is there a mirror image of the crack on the other side of the out-corner? If so, doesn't look like an issue ('course, like you said, just one pict to try and diagnose from).

Also looks like older brick (at least 30 years), and so the wall above will have been time-tested; any cracking in the brick reflecting foundation movement below? Again, if not, probably not an issue.

Jerry www.illinoisbuildinginspection.com

What Jerry said. We call them V-cracks down here. Results from sunlight warming the brick veneer more than the concrete foundation. The warmer brick expands more, pushing out the weak corners in the concrete. Rusty rebars that were installed too close to the corners contribute to the formation of V-cracks.

At least that's a common theory here. We don't get freeze/thaw this far south.

Marc

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Yeah, it could be rebar delam, brick heave, or freeze/thaw.

That's why we call them "corner pops". I see them all the time on high temper brick houses.

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Agreeing, mostly, with the above comments, looking at one location is not enough information. One has to see the big picture for evidence of structural problems. What does the other side of the corner look like? What does the structure above this area show? Inside and outside?

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To me, it doesn't look like a corner has popped off , it looks more like some freeze heave has pushed the wall inward to the right of the corner.

I'd sure like to see an establishing shot from about 15 ft. back and then shots from both angles down along the foundation walls right where the brickwork meets the concrete.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I agree, more pics would be better.......but.....

I'm not exaggerating....I've seen thousands of these. Thousands.

Jerry described it best; if there's a mirror image of the same crack on the other side, it's a smiler.

Foundations don't indicate "failure" by popping off a corner. There'd be all sorts of crap all over the place if it was a major foundation problem.

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What Jerry said. We call them V-cracks down here. Results from sunlight warming the brick veneer more than the concrete foundation. The warmer brick expands more, pushing out the weak corners in the concrete. Rusty rebars that were installed too close to the corners contribute to the formation of V-cracks.

What bears the opposite/ upward thrust of the brick? Why doesn't the veneer crack where the pressure is relieved directly adjacent to an area where the pressure isn't relieved over the sound foundation?

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If it's a 'corner pop', it has as much (or more) to do with the quality of the concrete. Too hot, too wet, too dry, too much air, any one of a hundred variables could weaken the mix to the point where that mode of failure is likely without damaging the brick.

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I agree. Sloppy mix, extreme cold on the outside corner (we can get down to -25degF), warm on the inside, water absorption, etc.

I don't understand the "expanding brick" theory.

I think it's the usual wet pour concrete and 50 years of weather.

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What Jerry said. We call them V-cracks down here. Results from sunlight warming the brick veneer more than the concrete foundation. The warmer brick expands more, pushing out the weak corners in the concrete. Rusty rebars that were installed too close to the corners contribute to the formation of V-cracks.

What bears the opposite/ upward thrust of the brick? Why doesn't the veneer crack where the pressure is relieved directly adjacent to an area where the pressure isn't relieved over the sound foundation?

I admit that I don't present a crystal clear picture on the mechanism of V-cracks but I haven't heard any other theory unless rebar delam alone is responsible. I've seen it on houses under 5 yrs old and I don't recall ever seeing it on houses that were clad with any siding other than brick veneer.

Marc

It takes 3-6 attempts to download any page from the TIJ site. Most times it fails outright (page cannot be found).

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More information and pics are required. That crack is within the confines of the average minimum foundation wall thickness. It's strange. Without more info, it could be anything from completely cosmetic to who knows what. The fact that the brickwork shows no cracking is encouraging...

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