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gan_nair 06-09-2007 10:40 PM

Cracking Foundation
At my house, the foundation is noticably cracking, havent noticed it spreading, but the point is that something caused it to start cracking. The ground around it I believe has been sunk down durring the time that we have lived here. I mean the ground has actually sunk down, it isnt at the level it used to be in numerous places. Whenever I am able to I will take pictures to show what I am trying to describe. What I was thinking about doing was patching all the cracks and holes all throughout the foundation and concrete in between the bricks of our house.

Then just for safe measure, although I really dont know if this would help out any, I wanted to add support all around the foundation. Basically I was thinking about digging about 6 to 8 inches wide and 8 to 12 inches deep into the ground, and then filling the newly dug trench with concrete. The concrete would come out above the ground maybe 6 inches. I really dont know if this would do anything, I dont know if the house is just settling, or if it is becoming uneven under the foundation. Either way I definatly dont have the money to have someone come out and fix the foundation, if there was a problem like that.

Dont really know if this would do anything, sorry if it seems like a really stupid idea, I really dont know much about home repair, Im trying to learn. Thanks for any answers.

glennjanie 06-10-2007 09:43 AM

Hey David:
It is the nature of masonry construction to crack but it is no problem unlesss the house shows settling and distortion. It would be a good idea to caulk the existing cracks but save the concrete; it wouldn't change anything.
The sinking ground usually is caused by building on fill dirt improperly coompacted, over a landfill, a coal mine caving in, an underground river, a weak salt dome or several other reasons. They are all called subsidence and can become quite dangerous. We have a lot of underground coal mines in Western Kentukcy and, over the years, they begin to fall in; sometimes taking the surface with them. Large "sink-holes" open up that seem to have no bottom. You can test your land surface by using a 10' steel reinfrocing rod to see how far you can push it into the dirt. If you find a spot that has no resistance, it indicates an open cavern. This is not a conclusive test but will give you an idea of underground conditions.
If you find a cavern, you need to call the state or county authorities and report it. Don't let me alarm you though, if there were serious subsidence the house would be showing distrotions like a brick wall falling away from the house.

gan_nair 06-10-2007 03:00 PM

Alright, thanks for the information. There really is no signs of the house falling or sinking when you put it like that. So I guess all is good, and I can just chaulk up the cracks and make it look nice again. Also is there like a paint or something I can put over the foundation, mainly for cosmetic purpses, but also maybe keep moisture out of it. If nothing can really hurt the foundation, then I would still like to paint it, just to make the house look better, what kind of paint do I use?

glennjanie 06-10-2007 07:47 PM

Hey David:
There are several different caulks available; some look like mortar in the brick joints, several colors and clear. Tell the sales person you plan to paint the foundation so they will sell you a paintable caulk; silicone is unpaintable.
Any latex paint will do for the foundation; I get mine at Wal-Mart.

gan_nair 06-13-2007 06:56 PM

Thanks for the reply and advice, I will do that, maybe I will be able to take before and after pics of the work I do around the house, this way people can tell me if I did something wrong, so that I can go back over and do it again. I love the feeling I get when I fix something that is broken, rebuild or upgrade anything that needs it and get it looking new or better than new. I have experience with cars and motorcycles, now I get to try my hand at a house.

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