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Any Concrete Foundation Experts here?

April 10 2017 at 9:47 AM
(Login ORTitan)
YC

I am looking at a small home that has something going on with the foundation. Anyone here that has knowledge in this area? Just wanted a little advise.

The house was built in 1968 it is a poured concrete foundation and the native soil is some type of red clay. There appears to be no re bar in the concrete. What I have are some vertical cracks larger than 1/2" with some large displacement. I am likely to get an engineer to inspect and advise.

The downspouts were not piped away from the foundation and there has been standing water of some depths in the crawl space. There is no basement. I have not been able to measure the amount of un level of the floor but when you walk on it you are not able to notice it. The doors in that part of the house have minor fitment issues as well as some drywall movement. BTW if it makes a difference the floor is supported in the post and pier style.

I can email hi res pictures if you think you can give better info.

Thanks!

 
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Jesse
(Login boscoebrea)
AR&P

buit to code?Find that out,downspouts should run away from house

April 10 2017, 12:05 PM 

Remember when I had a problem like yours,was like opening a can-of-worms...
get lot number from county,find out was it built to code and what the code called for.
Research and please get that engineer to check it out,we can only give you a calculated guess.

 
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Mike
(Login Houlihan54)
YF12

My 2 cents for what little its worth..........

April 10 2017, 2:07 PM 

G, not seeing or knowing the location of this residence I’m at a loss but will chime in if nothing else to ease your mind just a little.
What you describe is not uncommon, I say that with some reserve, as I’m not present and seeing this damage first hand. I also need to make the disclaimer that I am in no way a concrete professional nor contractor nor engineer, however, I have built a few homes myself and have done every aspect of building a house.

When I say that your situation is not necessary uncommon is that you mention foundation being built on clay which that in itself can cause exactly what you have described more so if slabs are involved. Clay constantly moves and pumps due to its nature.

Need to identify the cause then you would have better means to choose action. Bottom line is most foundations do have cracks but to identify them and the source of cause may help to prevent further issues.

Questions to ask: are you in a geographical area for earthquakes, do you have trees near the foundation or in the vicinity and what kind of trees can give rise for alarm. You already mentioned being constructed on a clay bed.

Not knowing the building codes for your area especial back in the sixties one may not know if your foundation has rebar or not and quite frankly may not be of an issue. Many older homes have been built on post and piers without a foundation perimeter and are still standing proudly today but I know this is not comforting to you but don’t think you have a condition to panic but sounds like you are taking precautionary measures to eliminate future concerns.

They do make a concrete epoxy that can be applied like a caulking that would fill the cracks but don’t know if this will solve future issues but would prevent small critters, bugs, and water from entering at will.


As to interior issues, and again not being present, I can only speculate, and can’t comment whether or not caused from cracked foundation. I don’t know how long you have lived there to know if this is something new going on with foundation or is it an old situation. A new house will undergo changes and settling more the first year than any other time unless something drastic is going on and perhaps give rise to sheet rock cracking, fit and finish of doors etc. and may or may not be reason for alarm.

With all being said, to reason with caution may be cheap insurance and getting the advice of an engineer or a trusted contractor may give rise to better sleep at night.

Sorry I wasn’t much help but I doubt the cracks are of great concern, however having them looked at is in order. I would be more concern since you mention water drainage issues and standing water with having issues with termites and dry rot! Keep us informed as I am now curious and if I was a neighbor know that I would be there to help!

Cheers


    
This message has been edited by Houlihan54 on Apr 10, 2017 2:11 PM


 
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Jeff D
(Login jcdx25)
YC

Get the Engineer

April 10 2017, 4:02 PM 

What you describe is not terribly uncommon in my area on older structures. My house is actually on a heavy clay mix lot with active 'springs' (No surface water but a 10" deep trench will start to weep within minutes). The dug foundation filled with 3 feet water overnight. A pretty intense drain system that pipes 200 feet from the house was installed even as the grading was raised 6 feet around the building sight so that the foundation pit could be lined and filled with 6 feet of stone. Even have a variance that pushed my septic reserve nearly 350' away from the house. (that drain from under the house flows water 24/7/365, if it ever stops... that's when I call the engineers back after taking the family to the hotel)

20 years later, we're still good.

Our developer got pinned with a lot of this cost and the remediation was before the first concrete was poured but I can't even begin to imagine the problems or the remediation after construction was done. Unless it involved donating the house to the fire department for practice, followed by a couple of large bulldozers...

Only point.... Find out what you can, don't take a chance on something like that without getting comfortable first.

 
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Bill S
(Login tripleguy)
YC

No expert

April 10 2017, 4:57 PM 

I've dealt with cracks and deflection in a full basement. I'd be very concerned with 1/2" vertical cracks with deflecfion. Don't have enough details of all the variables (depth of crawl, frost depth if any, water table height, drain tile if any, slope of ground, etc.) You need a structural engineer to review the situation. It would throw big red flags for me. Which walls have deflected, how much? Load bearing walls? Repairing could prove costly.
"but I'll be needin' that gun, fer squirrels and such."

 
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Ray
(Login RayMcD)
AR&P

Mold issue

April 10 2017, 6:13 PM 

Watch out for MOLD, r

 
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Eric Waters
(Login amarillo783)
YF12

Not an "expert," but been in home building for 20+ years.

April 10 2017, 8:38 PM 

Whether a house was built to code in 1968 is irrelevant. Chances are, especially if this is in a small town or rural area, there was not even an enforced code or code official in 1968. Hell, some areas still don't today.

I would not involve an engineer. You will pay a small fortune to get a report that will send you running in one direction and the seller in the other. I suggest consulting a local contractor that specializes in foundation repair and stabilization. They are problem solvers and will provide a free quote to do the work that an engineer would suggest having done. Use the estimate as a measure of your comfort level and also as a bargaining tool if you chose to make an offer on the house.

Mold is a whole different issue. Damn near every residence that anyone reading this lives in has some sort of mold. Harmful or not is another issue. If you suspect mold, you should request that a test be done at the sellers expense.


 
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G
(Login ORTitan)
YC

Thank you all

April 10 2017, 9:08 PM 

This is a house that we are considering purchasing. The foundation questions I have arose when I accompanied a licensed pre purchase home inspector whom preformed a separate pest and dry rot inspection. As an example here are two photos that I hope I can get to work here. These pictures are of the same spot just from different angles.

[linked image]
[linked image]


    
This message has been edited by ORTitan on Apr 10, 2017 9:09 PM


 
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G
(Login ORTitan)
YC

added info

April 10 2017, 9:18 PM 

This home is in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. We have an average annual rainfall of 40"+ per year. Earthquakes can happen but are not very common I can only remember 2-3 in the last 20 years. We have very mild winter temps so the frost depth would rarely be more than a couple of inches deep. There are no trees or shrubs near the home. You can see in the pictures that the soil is saturated. It was raining and we had accumulated more than 1.5" of rain in the last 24 hours. We have had 43" of rain since Oct 1, 2016. The lot is quite flat and level. So there is standing water in the front and back yard. The gutters are now within the last few years piped to the street but were previously not. The crawl space averages about 24" in height from the rim of the poured foundation.


    
This message has been edited by ORTitan on Apr 10, 2017 9:21 PM


 
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Mike
(Login Houlihan54)
YF12

WOW something isn't right, diffenently time for an inspection.

April 10 2017, 9:47 PM 

I personally would choose an area to expose both sides of the foundation beneath the ground just to see if that foundation even has a footing. check with you county records on the building codes of 1968 if there was any (doubt if there is any. How's the rest of the remain foundation. If the price is right a new foundation can be added and or repaired.

P.S. Eric provided sound advice and as mentioned before a an inspection of the premises as my concern would also be with regards to termites, dry rot and mold (which I had forgotten to mention earlier)


    
This message has been edited by Houlihan54 on Apr 10, 2017 9:57 PM


 
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Bill S
(Login tripleguy)
YC

Doesn't look structurally sound

April 10 2017, 10:17 PM 

I'd bail - no need for an inspection. Unless I'm missing something that home is not structurally sound at this point. I know you have only provided limited photos but to properly cure that you'd need to lift the home and put it on a new foundation.

The reason I said engineer is that around here, basement contractors are snake oil salesmen. For some, the solution is always the same - excavate the exterior walls, straighten, reinforce, install new outside perimeter drain tile and pay be $40K. Most basements here don't need that drastic of measures. Interior drain tile replacement and drill out block cores will fix most problems due to clay soil and plugged drain tile. That is not your problem here - you probably have a crawl that was improperly constructed. It may not even have a proper footing. I'd bail unless the home is priced such that you can have a new crawl constructed and be at market value when you're done.
"but I'll be needin' that gun, fer squirrels and such."

 
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James Perotti
(Login jpsaxnc)
AR&P

Don't waste your money on an engineer. The place is a

April 10 2017, 10:08 PM 

"nightmare", look for something else!

 
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Montivagant
(Login Montivigant)
YF12

As an expert....

April 11 2017, 2:31 PM 

Briefly, I'm a professional civil/structural engineer with more than 3 decades of experience. Have been an expert witness in both federal district court and superior court proceedings.

I won't proffer an opinion based upon 1 photo. I will share that everything follows a statistical bell curve--home contractors, architects, engineers, hone inspectors and even the guy that lays your carpet. I have spent a goodly portion of my career identifying the parties that were well below the median on that curve to the extent that insurance claims or litigation resulted. Generally speaking, the Building Codes in effect in 1968 required cast concrete residential foundations to be reinforced and of a certain minimum dimension. Home inspectors do NOT inspect to Code. If the original builder skimped on rebar what else will you find when you open the can? I've seen stem walls with no continuous footing. Was it permitted and inspected at the time of construction? What did the Seller disclose on the Form 17? Does it make $ense to make improvements to something that lacks "good bones?" Shady Realtors only want to get paid and do not hold your interests above their own. Good ones will have your back. Seen it. Seek counsel that has your interests as paramount, including your own that caused you to inquire here....

 
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Jesse
(Login boscoebrea)
AR&P

That was a great read...nt

April 11 2017, 2:34 PM 


 
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G
(Login ORTitan)
YC

Thank you

April 12 2017, 7:56 AM 

That was helpful. I am just trying to not pay a high stupid tax.

 
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