Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
1olaris

Stair Step Crack in Brick Veneer

Recommended Posts

Posted 05 May 2011 08:46 AM

I have attached photographs here:

Little background:

There are these 2 stair step crack in brick veneer;

One of them start underneath a buld out and extend almost to a basement window. The interior of the corresponding wall does not have a crack.

The other one starts from the top right corner of a basement window and extend to the edge of the build out. The interiror of the basement concrete does not have a crack.

However the interiror of the basement window does have a crack that starts from the right lower corner and extends to the flore.

There are no other crack in the exterior of the whole house. There are no other crack in the exposed portion of the basement interiro concrete.

The problem looks like localized to this one area between the build out and the basement window.

The basement wall is almost 60 feet long and get sunlight half of the day.

I have had 3 foundation reapair contractor evaluate the situation and 1 structural engineer. Initially they all thought it was a differential settlement but after looking at the interior and other areas of the house they could not come to a conclusion. The waste pipe seems to be running underneath the basement where all these crack are located.

Anyone familiar with such situation. Any opinion or advice would be highly appreciated.

thanks

Click to Enlarge
tn_201155131957_Crack1.jpg

33.15 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201155132023_Crack2.jpg

32.43 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201155132049_InteriorCrack.jpg

26.6 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201155132116_nearbyArea.jpg

44.24 KB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agents seem to hone in on the fact that a crack is stair-stepped, as if it's a redeeming quality, when in truth it's meaningless. The only telling factors of a crack are:

1. Does the wall surface remain a single plane, or has the crack made for two planes? (Bulge)

2. Is the crack bigger at one end than the other, which reveals heave, subside or differential movement/settlement.

In the case of the foundation settling over something (flexing), the farther you get away from the point of origon of the crack, the larger and more intimidating the crack will appear (a bit of deception). It's an angle, after all, so getting larger the farther from the point of origon is just a fact of simple geometry.

In spite of these helpful hints, only an engineer can make any type of qualified diagnosis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please state the age of the house and post pictures of each of the house's 4 elevations.

Please define the terms "buld out" and "interiro."

How long have you lived in the house?

When did these cracks appear?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you much for your so prompt reply.

1. Two bricks seem to be off little bit. Otherwise its a single plane. The two edges of the crack mostly will meet on one plane;

2. The gap is indeed wider at the origin. It actually originates from underneath a build out which is built on 2 canti livers. It almost looks like it is crawling towards the nearby window.

I did consult with 3 foundation contarctor and 1 structural engineer. All of them were baffled and puzzled since they could not come to a conclusion what was causing that crack. One of them measured the level of the house along the mortar joint. Even the pattern of the crack indicating a doward movement on the right, the house seems to be levelled all around. The structural enginner looked for bulging and leaning. She did not find any, either from inside or outside.

This is a forclosed property that i am thinking to buy. The house has been vacant for last 1 year and did not have heat or AC. The roof is falling off and the water from the roof coming to the wall at this point.

The big hole dug nearby the area - (its int he picture) is a mystery too. One guy suggested, it might be for an egress window. The other guy suggested tht it might be for checking the waste line pipe (where it connects to the sewer). He suspects taht at one point the pipe might have gone bad.

Doe it give you any more information?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank u. appreciate your prompt response.

the house is 13 years old.

the words would be 'build out' and 'interior' - sorry for the typo.

i don't live in this house yet. This is a foreclosed property which has been vacant for less than a year without heat and AC. I made an offer on this house which has been accepted.

The picture of 3 elevations (front, back, right- where all these problems are): The right side is almost like 65 feet long wall and almost 25-30 feet above the ground. Around 18-20 feet of it is brick veneer and the rest is siding.

Click to Enlarge
tn_201155143647_front.jpg

29.29 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201155143725_Back.jpg

28.89 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201155143817_nearbyArea.jpg

44.24 KB

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like you’ve got more to worry about then just some brick cracks judging from the pictures you posted. I would recommend hiring a home inspector rather than asking a home inspection forum for advice from just a few pictures.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ palm: what are the things i need to worry about more?

i indeed hired a home inspector. I called 3 foundation company folks to give me an estimate in the worst case. I hired a structural engineer for onsite visit. I sent the same pictures to another structural engineer for evaluation. None of them could find any smoking gun. From the first look of it, it seems like a shifting foundation. But no other signs of foundation shifting is visible anywhere else in the house. Here'e the opinion i got so far:

1. The first crack above the window is probably caused by the rusting lintel.

2. The second crack from underneath the build out do indicate differential settlement. But foundation at the the direction of differential settlement seems to be all in the same level. (measured by a foundation contractor - the laser travels along the same mortar join from the start of the crack to the end of the wall.). So the opinion i got here:

- can be caused by frost heave.

- can be caused by expanding/contracting building frame

- the movement in the cantilever.

- expansion/contraction in the wood frame of the build out.

- the final one, which i think might have been the cause: there might have been a failed waste line nearby where the line connects to the sewer. At the location of the hole that you saw in the picture, the waste line connects to the sewer.

I should mention here that the roof is almost falling off and the gutters are absolutely not working.

I posted this in this forum for advice and recommendations. I know pretty well that this is just what it is - a piece of opinion. There are many expert inspectors here in this forum who might see something what others did not. I am not going to buy a house without having it inspected by an inspector and other qualified engineers.

By the way - the inspector who inspected the did not have a clue as to the cause of this crack. He advised the crack to be inspected by a 'qualified' engineer too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ Jim - thats a concrete basement wall. Just painted. Looks like it opened 2 ice and every time instead of a proper fix they just caulked the gap. We had more than average amount of rainfall in last 30 days but there have been no sign of water leakage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the last picture, where does the concrete stop and wood framing begin?

Is the crack in the indoor picture visible from the outdoors?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ jim:

I appreciate your interest and hopefully you will have a clue to this crack.

no the indoor crack is not visible from the outside and the outside crack is not visible from inside. If you are standing indoor facing the indoor crack, the outside crack starts in the brick mortar is about 5 feet on your left. and ends within 2 feet of the crack. The crack near the wood frame of the build out is wider and almost hairline where it ends. it ends on the left side of the basement window that you see in the last picture.

The wood frame (of the build out) starts from the concrete. It sits on two (overly done - according to the structural engineer) steel beams.

If you have a phone number i can reach at, i can call you if thats not a problem for u.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the wood frame starts from the top of the basement window. Thats's where the build out ends. and the crack start right under neath the build out. SO the crack in the brick veneer has concrete on the other side all the way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@ jim:

I appreciate your interest and hopefully you will have a clue to this crack.

no the indoor crack is not visible from the outside and the outside crack is not visible from inside.

Well, of course you're not going to see the outdoor cracks from the inside. That's just brick veneer. You could knock it all down and you wouldn't see anything from the inside.

When I ask about being able to see the interior crack from the outside, I'm not talking about the brick, I'm talking about the concrete foundation below the brick. If that's a solid concrete wall with a 1/4" wide crack on the inside, I'd expect to see that same crack from the outside in the concrete below the brick. Are you saying that there is no crack in this location?

If you are standing indoor facing the indoor crack, the outside crack starts in the brick mortar is about 5 feet on your left. and ends within 2 feet of the crack. The crack near the wood frame of the build out is wider and almost hairline where it ends. it ends on the left side of the basement window that you see in the last picture.

The wood frame (of the build out) starts from the concrete. It sits on two (overly done - according to the structural engineer) steel beams.

Your descriptions are very cryptic and your photographs are singularly unhelpful.

If you have a phone number i can reach at, i can call you if thats not a problem for u.

Sorry, I'm a deaf mute and I don't own a phone. Let's just keep it online for now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...