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Old 03-06-2012, 09:58 AM  
db2776
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Default cracked wooden foundation posts

Greetings from Costa Rica. I was invited to see the almost-completed wood, prefab home of my friend's parents. The house is being built by a company called "Xilo" www.grupoxilo.com
I was very concerned by major cracking in the brand new foundation posts that support the large, wooden deck of the house. Some of these posts are more than 6' tall, as the home is built on a relatively steep hillside. They are about 15" in diameter. The posts are set into cement footers. There are no angular/lateral support posts.
Costa Rica is a very seismically active country. I have built 3 homes here, but they've all been cement block and rebar. I don't know anything about wooden foundations, but I've been told that if new wood is cracking like that, it's because it was processed before it was sufficiently dried. The company claims to use kiln drying. I'm very concerned that this very nice, elderly couple is getting ripped off, and that their 45' x 15' deck will be vulnerable to earthquake damage because of the vulnerability of the posts to lateral movement. Should they be concerned? If so, is there any way to repair the posts without replacing them? I have already told them to add the lateral supports.
Second, the inside of the home is constructed of laterally placed logs, 6" - 10" in diameter. They're cracking too. For aesthetic reasons, the people decided to cover the logs with long 1" x 6" pieces of treated wood, so the inside looks more like the outside of a home because of the "siding."
The company has an excellent reputation for their anti termite treatment. My concern is that once the cracked logs are covered, the cracks will open up more and wood will be exposed that didn't absorb the anti termite treatment, but because the logs are covered, nobody will be able to see any damage from termites or rot. Should they pull the 1 x 6's off? Thanks for your time. I hope I'm just over reacting out of lack of experience with wood.



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Old 03-06-2012, 10:26 AM  
mudmixer
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I have seen many homes in the area and understand the need for block construction with the hurricanes and they can be easily reinforced for seismic and they clean up quickly after s "blow".

For a deck with posts and no diagonal bracing, I would be concerned about the depth the the concrete and posts have into the soil to guarantee stability. It would have to be substantial unless there is rock there and they are anchored adequately.

Dick



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Old 03-06-2012, 10:43 AM  
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Your building code needs an engineers report every step of construction, these would be questions for him. From what you have writtin the only concern I would have is the termites, but the engineer would be considering that too.

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Old 03-06-2012, 11:00 AM  
db2776
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For a deck with posts and no diagonal bracing, I would be concerned about the depth the the concrete and posts have into the soil to guarantee stability. It would have to be substantial unless there is rock there and they are anchored adequately.

Thank, Dick. I don't know the depth of the footers or how far the posts extend beneath the surface. The soil is red clay, and that's not optimal either. So, are you less concerned than I am with the cracked wood?

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Old 03-06-2012, 11:02 AM  
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Your building code needs an engineers report every step of construction, these would be questions for him.

You're of course right. Problem is that this is the 3rd World, and codes aren't enforced like they should be, if at all. The engineer works for the company that sells the prefab houses, and isn't likely to want to point out any problems.

From what you have writtin the only concern I would have is the termites, but the engineer would be considering that too.

So the cracked foundation posts aren't a concern?

Thanks for your time, Don

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Old 03-06-2012, 12:49 PM  
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http://www.hfinc.com/markets/investigative-services-pace/horizontal-cracking-in-heavy-timber.html
You might find some good info at this site. I don't know enough about timber framing but I think some cracking is ok. I would be looking at how the joints are made, top of posts and how the deck is attached to house. I guess their best bet would be to hire another engineer to check it out, but that might be pricey.
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Old 03-07-2012, 07:24 AM  
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Thanks for the web address, Neal. I read the article. It seems that as you say, some cracking is O. K. I sent off an e-mail to the guy who wrote the article asking for his opinion in depth on this particular situation. I hope it's all going to work out.



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