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Old 07-28-2008, 06:13 PM  
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Default Buying Arts/Crafts with cripple wall buckle

Hello, I am new to this board and have been researching a worrisome thing I noticed about a vacation house we are buying in an historic district which doesn't allow tear downs. The house has an outward bend at about two feet up from the ground. The basement is dry but the monster next door (very close by at 8 feet away) is draining its roof onto the side yard. Anyway, we had a house inspector look at the house and he declared it very solid and wasn't worried about the buckle - said we could put in reinforcements. I didn't know what to call this situation, I now know from online research that this component is called a cripple wall because there are all kinds of earthquake articles about cripple wall failure. So this is what I can see from standing in the cellar: The sill plate is up about an inch away from the stone, tilting backwards. The cripple wall seems to be putting most of its weight on the outside edge of the sill plate wood and tilting that. Then at the top of the cripple wall, the floor joists seem to be pushing it back a little. The inspector told us it probably had been like that for fifty years. HOwever, the house was supposedly recently painted and I can tell from the outside that there has been more outward pressure at the buckle because the paint is popped away. So does a new foundation wall need to be poured out where the cripple wall is now or does the house have to be pulled in 2-3 inches or is this just hopeless? It is a 2-story house and the second story floor at the opposite end is sagging. I wonder if it is moving backward and the front porch is hanging onto the front wall and the floor joists are pulling apart up there to allow the back end to sag out.
Anyway is this the type of thing that is repairable by jacking the house? Thank you for any insight because my house inspector is not the worrying type.

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Old 07-28-2008, 07:30 PM  
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Welcome to the Forum, I don't blame you for being worried about the leaning. you may want to get the opinion of a foundation contractor.

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Old 07-29-2008, 06:22 AM  
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Well a picture would help, but you also need another opinion.
Being a Home inspector, and trainer and educator, sometimes home inspectors need some help too.
This one should have recommended an engineer to evaluate the issues, that is the only qualified professional to tell you the building is sound.
Unless your inspector has an engineering degree and writes it down on paper, get someone professional to look at it.

Hope it turns out ok.

Ya, that house was like that there for 50 years, right to the day it fell down.

I love those guy's.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:23 AM  
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Thank you for your replies. I have come home without a photo of the sagging, but will go back in a week or two and get some photos. I now have the written house inspection report and the inspector does note that there has been some shoring up in the past. He describes what seems to be some concrete filled pipes in 3 places, I didn't notice them when I was there, the basement was so murky and piled up with storage. And he mentions that the foundation could be "additionally supported". Doesn't say with what. I'm worried with additional support or not that the house is moving in a backward direction. I did see another house when we were looking in the area, that was also an arts and crafts foursquare, same floor plan, but this one had had a "house lift" and a new basement all around. But this house also had a bend at about the same height as the house we purchased. Now I'm thinking it was the exact same cripple wall issue. So apparently the house lift doesn't get rid of it. I have to find someone somehow to figure this out. The foundation company that was recommended is the same company that does all the house lifts in that area and also did the house lift on the other 4square that still has the bends.
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