My wife and I decided to build a house about two years ago. We didn't do our homework and we picked a lousy contractor. Anyway the house finally got done and we moved in. A little over a year later I noticed a LARGE crack running across the basement floor and some minor cracks running up the wall. We contacted Taylor Homes (who we contracted to build the house) and was told that concrete was going to crack and since our one year warranty expired we are on our own.
My question is this: Is my foundation sagging causing my floor and wall to separate and if so what can I do to repair the problem and at what cost?
I'll be the first to admit I don't know a lot about building or repairing homes but I did learn to do my homework. Any and all help is appreciated.
Welcome to the Forum Jetster:
Yes, there is some settling or shifting there somewhere. When a basement floor cracks, it is usually because the concrete was placed on un-compacted earth, there is no reinforcing wire in it, they didn't use any expansion control or control joints. OR the concrete was subjected to freezing and subsequent heaving. The walls are probably cracked because of poor backfill practices.
To repair the floor you could get a concrete saw and cut out a space 1' wide stradling the crack. If there is no expansion joint at the walls, you can palce it in the 1' trench (on both sides). After you place the new concrete use a 16d nail to rake out a groove at the cuts, to be filled with silicone caulk after the concrete sets.
As for the walls; I would take a wait and see posture. See if the cracks get exceptionally larger or some of the blocks begin to protude into the basement area or water begins to pour in.
Where is your home located (general area) I'm vaguely familiar with Taylor homes and some of their problems.
Thanks for your help but what can I do about the floor and wall problem?
If I understand you correctly, The floor is separating from the wall.
Is that the only crack in the floor?
The joint between the slab and the floor will open slightly as the concrete floor shrinks. If you chose to plug it, you can open it slightly to a dovetail shape and force hydraulic cement (a generic term/material and not normal portland cement) into the crack. As is cures/sets (10 - 30 mnutes), it expands into the voids. It has been used for many decades on commercial construction and water control structures.
Do not saw to make the joint wider. In fact you should have full contact (3 1/2" high) between the slab and the wall according to the building codes (2006 IRC) to provide additional stuctural insurance.
Years ago, some eastern builders tried to avoid installing a proper drain tile system, so they avocated the use of an open "channel" around the basement to collect the leakage that would not have happened if the basement was built properly.
If you have vertical cracks in a poured basement it is probably due to using concrete that was too wet. These are shrinkage cracks and will be near the center or quartrer points of the wall or may start at a window corner. These cracks may be caulked if they are not too large.
the floor cracks (depending on the location and pattern) could be either shrinkage cracks or due to hydrostatic pressure under the slab.
The wall cracks are not bad, no water leakage. My main concern is the cracks in the basement floor. One on each side of the basement and they almost meet in the middle. The wall/floor separation is upstairs in the bedrooms.
Shrinkage..... this is typical of homes which are built to fast.
However getting it built to fast is OK also. The issue is when the home gets finished and does not dry out until after you move in. Then in time you will see all those cracks show up in the first year or two.
The crack in the basement floor slab is typical when they do not have a control joint (a place to crack) and are large in size. With a typical residential home this is common and not usually a problem. When they settle or leak is another issue...or let Radon in through the new crack.Test your basement if you never did.
As far as the bedroom floor issue this is when you have a home which has dried out completely. I once inspected a home with an engineer and we found that the house foundation was not moving but the floor joists had shrunk half an inch on each floor. That means the house floors gave up one inch of a gap in the bedrooms....same thing you have.
No real way to fix that ....call an engineer if you feel you are unsafe in the home.
Let us know what happens.
Agreed with inspectorD on the floor joist shrinkage.
Agreed with Mudmixer on the floor shrinkage.
I know for a fact that Taylor doesn't build anything fast.
Taylor uses the cheapest contractors out there and then bargains until they get them to take a lower price. The project managers have their hands tied in a way and can't use contractors known for excellence in workmanship. They're limited by the amounts Taylor will pay, and who is willing to work within that budget. Once the settling and the shrinkage has subsided, Then you have the finished house that you will have to deal with.
Over the period of time while the house was being built, the more rain or snow you had, the worse the shrinkage will be. I've been under MANY Taylor homes with jacks and shims. Usually the cracks show up between the ceilings and the walls.
I would also LOVE to know what part of the state you are in and more details about the construction of your home.
What were the temperatures when the floor was poured and how wet do you think it was? These could be factors in what to expect next and how to approach the repairs.
I live in Bullitt county ky. It was fall so I would I would say that it was around 50 - 60 degrees when the basement floor was poured. They worked on it till dark then tried finish it using their truck headlights. The construction was poor and slow paced, the foreman was hardly ever there.
I was trying to work and be at the build site too, thankfully I showed up when I did because I told the foreman I was going to use my porch as my cistern and when I got there they were fixing to fill it with rock.
The best advice I can give anybody DON'T USE TAYLOR HOMES in Bullitt county!!
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