Jump to content
The Inspector's Journal

can I buy house Horizontal crack in basement wall?


Recommended Posts

I will buy 7 years old house, but I found 3 walls have horizontal crack in basement, please see attached pictures. The crack is 1/16 of an inch wide. From there the crack does go about 12 feet in total long and also on outside of concrete wall, on same position there is same thin horizontal crack. In basement I found some mold spot, it is in corner close to heat water tank. Could you like to tell me that is big issue or not ? If need to fix how much about? Thanks.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822165512_IMG_0594.jpg

33.25 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822165639_IMG_0586.jpg

33.91 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201382216588_IMG_0626%20(1).jpg

66.51 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822165946_IMG_0635.jpg

33.74 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201382217033_IMG_0663.jpg

24.6 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201382217150_IMG_0649.jpg

37.7 KB

Link to post
Share on other sites

I did inspection, inspector said as long as there is no lateral movement it should not be a problem. He recommend monitor horizontal crack in foundation annually. But he is not structural engineer, I am still worry.

Every body think that I need to hire structural engineer? Please tell me Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all replies. I still have questions below.

In second picture, you can see a crack, it goes about 20 feet along light dark color in top picture, and the crack always under the light dark color.

1)this is Cold joint??? not horizontal crack?

2) cold joint always is with a crack line? and it is so long?

3) cold joint always has crack on both side (inside and outside) of foundation wall?

4) crack of cold joint is getting worse when house gets old, cold joint is not stable?

5)White power was caused by leaking from crack of cold joint?

6) do I need to fix this crack if I buy this house?

7)Do I need to hire a Structural engineer to look the crack and get a stamped report, so I can show next buyer in future when I need to sell .

Sorry, too many questions, it is first time to buy house.

Thank you everybody.

Click to Enlarge
tn_201382220259_IMG_0580.jpg

43.46 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822202715_IMG_0586.jpg

33.91 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822202853_IMG_0634.jpg

40.73 KB

Link to post
Share on other sites

I add other pictures, may you can see crack clear.

Thanks.

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822212353_IMG_0656.jpg

30.37 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822213216_IMG_0642.jpg

34.33 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_201382221336_IMG_0589.jpg

32.83 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822213412_IMG_0587.jpg

25.98 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822213546_IMG_0593.jpg

33.34 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822213759_IMG_0595.jpg

32.38 KB

Click to Enlarge
tn_2013822213912_IMG_0588.jpg

31.83 KB

Link to post
Share on other sites

First, please listen to Hockstein. Get the best inspector in your area to check it out; it's hard to know for sure over the internet.

Second, it does not look serious; it's a cold pour line, with a small crack. It means the foundation contractor wasn't scheduling their trucks in and out very well; the first placement didn't bond fully to the second placement. Cold pour lines are not often a serious condition; can be, but not often.

Do not make a purchase decision based upon our observations; really, get an inspector to help you on site. It's worth the money.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The only way to have your questions properly answered is to have an inspector visit the site. I do not know who your inspector was, but is he/she was qualified they would be able to answer your questions.

Likely one of this forum's participants are in your area.

Just an aside; I would be really disappointed if one of my clients came on a web forum to have a question answered. I suppose there could be an instance where seeking multiple opinions would be good, but mostly I strive to answer client questions or get in touch with someone that can.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everybody who can answer my 7 questions? I spent $500 inspection

this house, but he does not know what kind crack, his just reported monitor horizontal crack in foundation annually. Please help me to find what kind problem ? Thanks.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We're not here as an unpaid service to answer your seven questions. If you want to pay me, I'll fly out and answer them.

We are here to help folks figure stuff out; that's not always possible on an internet forum. From everything in the pictures, I tend to think it's not a significant problem, but again, this is internet...if I can't stand in front of it, touch it, and look the whole house over, how the hell can I know?

"Monitor the crack" is inspector-speak for "I'm covering my ass with a bullshit statement so if anything happens in the future, the guy can't sue me". Which, of course, is not true; anyone can sue anyone for anything.

Maybe your inspector is competent, but when people tell their customers to monitor something like this, I tend to think they are not competent.

Like Les said, you want an inspector that can make the call; this guy didn't make the call. It's a foundation, it's holding up the house. If an inspector can't make the call on a foundation........hmmmmmm.......

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all replies. I still have questions below.

In second picture, you can see a crack, it goes about 20 feet along light dark color in top picture, and the crack always under the light dark color.

1)this is Cold joint??? not horizontal crack?

It's both.

2) cold joint always is with a crack line? and it is so long?

Cold joints almost always have cracks associated with them. They are as long as they are. If you had a 100 foot long cold joint, you'd have a 100 foot long crack.

3) cold joint always has crack on both side (inside and outside) of foundation wall?

Yes.

4) crack of cold joint is getting worse when house gets old, cold joint is not stable?

Well, that's the question, isn't it? The cold joint is a weak spot in the wall. Whether or not that weak spot will ever matter can't be known without knowing what kind of lateral loads will be imposed on the wall in the future. That said, cold joints are very common in older houses and we seldom see ongoing problems associated with them. If your foundation was otherwise well designed and if you control the water in the soil around the house, the overwhelming likelihood is that these cold joints and cracks will never be an issue for you.

5)White power was caused by leaking from crack of cold joint?

The white powder is called efflorescence. When water moved through the concrete, it picks up soluble minerals. When that water evaporates on the interior surface of the wall, it leaves those minerals behind in the form of a white powder. It's harmless.

6) do I need to fix this crack if I buy this house?

The only repair that you might want to make is to seal it to prevent further water entry. That would best be done from the exterior, and that would require excavation. Trying to patch it from the interior would be sketchy.

7)Do I need to hire a Structural engineer to look the crack and get a stamped report, so I can show next buyer in future when I need to sell .

If you really need the peace of mind, then go for it. But, frankly, there's little that a stuctural engineer can tell you at this point.

The best thing that you can do is keep your gutters clean, slope the surrounding soil away from the house, and make sure that all of your roof water gets directed well away from the foundation. If water entry through the cracks becomes a problem, have them sealed from the outside. Glance at the cracks every so often to make sure that they aren't getting bigger or bulging inward (an exceedingly unlikely possibility).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Katen did answer your questions - all seven, from a few photos on the net. Seems like your inspector could have done the same.

I agree with his answers, now send the invoice for $500 to your inspector, who you did not talk to (communicate). Bonnie Trenga would love that sentence.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you so much Jim Katen. Last question if fix it how much about ?

Thank you again.

I don't know.

Since I'd advise fixing it from the outside, the cost will depend on how easy it will be to excavate around your house. Is there landscaping? Flatwork? Associated structures (sheds, fences, etc)?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Even well-built houses can sometimes be damaged by earthquakes.

I don't see a major structural fault and would not make a big deal out of that cold joint if I were to write the report but if you worry a lot maybe you'll like to see other houses. Just to end the worry.

Marc

Link to post
Share on other sites

For crack issue in basement ,I want know this house will fall at earthquake or become tilt by itself several years later? I still worry, I am first buy house, but I real like this house. Thank you.

If an earthquake happens, the house might or might not be severely damaged, but the cold joints and cracks will probably not play a part one way or the other.

Likewise, the cracks will certainly not cause the house to tilt. That's just not one of the possibilities.

The worst thing that can happen as a result of these cold joints and cracks is that the foundation could bulge inward if it's stressed by a large enough force from outside. This is unlikely. I see hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of houses that have such cold joints and cracks for every one that I see with inward bulging at the crack.

Furthermore, you have some ability to control the risk by controlling water near the foundation.

If I liked this house, I would not let the cold joints and cracks prevent me from buying it.

Imperfections are not the same thing as defects. Sometimes you need to accept imperfections - just like with a marriage. Are you married? Is your spouse perfect or does he or she have a few cold joints and cracks?

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.

×
×
  • Create New...