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Old 12-01-2005, 08:45 AM  
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Default Tilson Home's cracked concrete garage

When we signed off on our new house there were hairline cracks in the concrete floor of the garage. They were explaned as expansion cracks BUT there was a pattern to them.
The garage is ~24 wide and the the two most noticable ones were running parallel to each other, and the house, from the double garage door to the back of the garage, dividing the garage into three parts.

Over the past year these 'expansion cracks' have widened, spread like a spider web, and new ones appeared. In areas I can feel where one side of the crack is higher than the other. This is found toward the center of the garage.

Tilson Homes has specs in their contract defining a crack, I think they ignore anything under 1/8" wide.
I was told that if I had their engineer out he would ignore anything that did not cause doors or windows to drag or hang up.

A Tilson employee told me that 'he' can't figure out why he sees so many cracks in their garage floors and not many in their houses.

Of all of the steel work on the slab the garage was the place I thought would never give problems with cracks. The attached garage is that, attached and not part of the main box structure of the house so I assume there is a greater probablility that that portion can move. BTW - yes, clay soil and was pored during a 3 month drought and the beams were not flooded prior to poring.

** When does an expansion crack graduate into a crack in a slab?

Okay I have a garage splitting into three parts with two main cracks doing the seperating.
Any concrete/foundation experts on the board?
I am attempting to do a little research before I call the engineer out.

Thanks for your comments on my problem. Or is it a problem?


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Old 12-01-2005, 05:08 PM  
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Offtopic but what area of Texas do you live in?

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Old 12-09-2005, 05:57 PM  
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Default cracked garage

Are there any control joints in the floor? (Grooves put in concrete to control cracks)
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Old 12-09-2005, 06:49 PM  
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We have a 28'x24' garage with an 18'x45' shop next to that. No expansion joints. There are a couple small cracks to the drain, but I put an epoxy paint on the floor that filled them in and they haven't reopened in 3+ years. Poured a 18'x26' outbuilding about 3 yrs. ago, again no expansion joints and no cracks yet. Good base is key. I used c-6 road mix and packed it good. Wet it down and packed it again.

Our nieghbor had his garage floor poured and had expansion joints cut in. It cracked (not in the joints) and shifted slightly. It's hard to keep concrete from cracking, but IMHO the prep work before you pour is key.
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Old 02-17-2009, 03:40 PM  
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Default Tilson

I too have a Tilson home that has less than desirable concrete work. I have 30 years of construction background (electrical) and have done home inspections in Arizona. I am not an expert in concrete but I have some comments.......Concrete cracks, plain and simple. They are not an issue as long as they don't seperate completely. The difference in elevation in your garage gives me concern that seperation has in fact happened. There should be control joints in your slab (they give the concrete a place to crack) if not, shame on Tilson. Your location matters as well, some soils are "expansive" meanig with moisture and drying cycles the soil can heave and settle causing your concrete to crack. Most states have tolerances for fractures and 1/8 th of an inch is fairly common. Another thing to consider is, Where was the concrete mixed ( who supplied the mud?). Some concrete suppliers use fly ash as a component in the mix. This is an undisireable substance and causes a weaker pour. You may what to make some calls to other concrete suppliers to see if they'll tell you what your contractor used. Hope this helps, good luck.
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Old 02-17-2009, 04:03 PM  
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Stankyfeet -

You are obviously not an expert on concrete as you did admit.

Fly ash is not necessarily a undsireable substance has many beneficial properties that cannot be achieved any other way. It just has to be used correctly. It is also used in the manufacture of Portland cement.
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Old 03-10-2009, 06:49 AM  
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I have one for you, Tilson Homes started building my house in February 2007, I was REQUIRED to pay $8000.00 to chemically inject the soil for stabilization AND I was REQUIRED to pay an additional $5600.00 for the beefiest slab Tilson designs. The day before the concrete was poured on my house, I noticed that the slab in places did NOT meet the minimum of 4 inches think per the engineer plans. I called John Shell, the construction supervisor and notified him and told him it needed correcting BEFORE the poured the concrete the next morning. I also called Sinclair’s Engineering because the signed off on the slab stating that it meet ALL the requirements per the plan including the thinness. He said I would have to talk with Tilson. The morning of the pour, John Shell was going to ignore what I told him about the thickness until I told him they WOULD NOT pour until it was corrected. John would not let me see the level when they were removing the base gravel and he said they were ready. Fast-forward to September 2008, we live in the house and I start noticing all kinds of cracks in the garage floor, we remove all the carpeting in the house for wood and ceramic floors (wife’s idea) and I see more cracks all over the house. In the master bedroom, I notice the black plastic used as a moisture barrier coming through the concrete. I called Tilson about all the cracks and then the plastic. They sent their "slab guy" out and every since I have been getting the brush off. Well, I was still concerned about the slab thinness on those same areas the extent from the front of the house, through the kitchen and through the master bedroom. I drilled a small hole in the cement and ran a wire gage in the hole. Low and behold, the slab is only 2 1/2 inches think in that area. I fear that it is the same for the entire run. I am thinking at least, all that slab will need to be broken up and poured to the minimum of 4 inches think per the engineer plans. Does anyone have any other suggestions?
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Old 03-14-2009, 10:36 AM  
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My suggestion - I recommend contacting Tilson's corporate office and requesting someone in management come out and see your home. I've truly never had a problem getting a satisfactory response from Tilson. In fact, I was so satisfied that I referred them to my brother and a couple I went to college with and they all have great things to say about Tilson.

I built with Tilson almost 5 years ago and have had an amazing experience - from the slab all the way through - including customer service. They came out and fixed everything I asked them to. I too have some surface cracks in my garage (and probably other places, but I haven't removed any floor coverings). They don't really mean much of anything unless your doors are sticking, you can fit a coin in the crack, or if one side of the crack is considerably higher than the other. So long as the house isn't moving apart, the slab (and the steel therein) is doing exactly what it was designed to do - support the structure.

In addition, the slab thickness (or thinness) between the grade beams matters very little compared to the beams. It's the width, depth, amount, and proper use of steel and concrete in the interior and exterior beams that makes the difference. A pier and beam foundation is more or less the grade beams minus the 4" concrete portion between the beams. This is a loose interpretation, but hopefully helps the description.

In conclusion - CALL TILSON and tell them you want to talk to someone who can make decisions regarding possible foundation problems. They're a solid family company that has been around forever. They didn't get where they are today by not servicing their customers or building less than stellar homes.

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Old 03-14-2009, 06:43 PM  
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Default Welcome Hamilton

Hamilton, It sounds like the gentleman already contacted the company and is getting the run around. Did you not read the post? Or do you possibly work for or have a share in the company. Your reviews are glowing.....
Contact your lawyer at this point, and an engineer to document the issues.
Hope it gets better.
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Old 03-16-2009, 03:18 PM  
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Thanks for the warm welcome InspectorD, but I feel that it's less than sincere. Your judgment regarding me having a "share in Tilson", while very objective and based on loads of empirical data, couldn't be further from the truth.

If you're sensing the sarcasm, that's good because I'm laying it on pretty thick. I'm a satisfied customer - nothing more, and certainly nothing less. I didn't realize that it wasn't kosher to post about positive experiences with companies. I'll try to keep my comments to "company bashing" ones in future posts. Why take the road less traveled, right?

I did read AlanC's summation of the facts, but it didn't say anywhere that a TILSON representative or anyone in management had visited the site, only a "Slab Guy." This could be the third party engineer that designed the slab or the sub-contractor.

AlanC asked for suggestions and I'm suggesting that he go to the folks that run Tilson (you know . . .guys like me (sarcasm)) and tell them that he feels like he's running out of options and would like to meet someone FROM MANAGEMENT at his house. If it truly is a foundation issue, they're on the hook for 10 years here in Texas anyway by Law. If they're arrogant enough not to respond to that simple request, then move on to other alternatives (like lawyers, inspectors, and engineers all of which I'm sure will have AlanC's best interest at heart). Please note - more sarcasm. Truthfully, if you've ever dealt with an attorney or engineer, you are probably aware that the longer it drags out, then the more billable hours accrue, thus more revenue for the lawyer. They also like to hire "experts" like engineer friends and yes, even Inspectors (a.k.a. builders recovering from bankruptcy) so it's truly shocking that a guy with the screen name InspectorD would immediately suggest litigation as a solution. Does anybody else find that odd? (Sarcasm - again)

Lastly, a quick run of your numbers reveals over 50 posts per month for the last 3 years and 3 months STRAIGHT on House Repair Talk alone! That's without taking a day off! That's an uncanny amount of available web goofing time you have. Now who's post looks suspicious. You did get what you wanted I guess . . . . a non glowing post.

Thanks again for the warm welcome.


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