Foundation issues?

Discussion in 'Framing and Foundation' started by sugarmag, Jul 26, 2011.

  1. Jul 26, 2011 #1

    sugarmag

    sugarmag

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    I'm pretty sure i'm having some foundation issues and have had a engineer come out to the house. He said it is just normal settlement, but I keep noticing more and more issues.

    I'm in a 23 year old 2 story house on block basement. I starting noticing issues about 6 months ago. Some of the issues I have are cracks above a couple of doors/arches, a few sticking doors, some cracks around outside basement windows( the stuff they put over the cinder block) a few small hairline cracks in kitchen tile and since the engineer came I have noticed tons of nail pops on walls and dimpling in some ceiling spots. The basement the staircase seems to be the worst spot. I have also noticed along that around the ceilings in some rooms it almost looks i can see the drywall tape through the paint(i hope i explained that right).

    I don't know what I should do next. This is something that has happened all within the last 6 months. Help.
     
  2. Jul 26, 2011 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    How long have you lived in the house?
    Have you seen new cracks in the foundation or basement floor?
    Is the basement finnished, how long ago?
     
  3. Jul 27, 2011 #3

    sugarmag

    sugarmag

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    I have lived here 3 years. Half the basement is finished the other half is not, it was that way when we moved in. I have not noticed any cracks in the part of the floor I can see. I honestly do not know if the cracks are new or old because I never really paid attention before. Once I noticed some of the other issues is when I started paying really close attention to the foundation.

    Thank you for taking time to respond.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2011
  4. Jul 27, 2011 #4

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    I do not have any answers but I do have things to think about. #1 Depending on the depth of the foundation, you may have had frost dammage to the foundation that would move stuff around and may take some time to settle back. #2 The concrete floor is never connected to the foundation and with high water levels could float and push up the basement walls lifting the floor upstairs. #3 I would expect you would have had water in the basement with either #1 & #2. #4 The soil under the foundation and barring walls has changed in some way, like water content or lack of water, something to cause the soil to carry the weight defferently than it did. You would expect to see new cracks in the foundation.#5 Are there places in the house where someone may have removed a barring wall during a remodel, your engineer should have looked for that.
    I had a house that had two bedrooms over a carport, the footing and foundation for the carport was not attached to the house. That end of the house went up 1" every winter.
     
  5. Jul 27, 2011 #5

    sugarmag

    sugarmag

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    We have not had any water in the basement. The previous owners did have a flood at one time, but we do have a sump pump that works well and a thing i think called a french drain(a seperation alonng back basement wall and floor)and havent had any water probelms. (the ones I can see)
    No walls have been removed in the house at any time. We did have new front steps put on about a year ago but he used original foundation that was there.
    We also have 2 pillars on thiose steps that needed replacement due to weathering wood. Those are really the only things that we have done besides redoing 2 bathrooms and the kitchen.
    Im sorry i do not know the technical terms to use, Im a single mom and no real experience in any tpye of construction.
     
  6. Jul 27, 2011 #6

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Sorry I couldn't have been more helpfull, the only other thing I can suggest is to get a level and check door and window frames and floors for level and plumb and record each thing that is out and by how much. Then you could monitor the house for changes over time.
    Maybe others will be along with other ideas.
     
  7. Jul 27, 2011 #7

    sugarmag

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    I appreciate you trying very much. Thanks and hopefully someone else can suggest something.
     
  8. Jul 27, 2011 #8

    inspectorD

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    Welcome,:)
    I would call back my engineer and ask some questions.
    How often does their company deal with this issue, and what are their experience levels.
    Just because your an engineer does not mean you understand theses issues. They sometimes just look their information up in a book, do the calculations and collect the $$.
    If you do not feel comfortable with theses folks, ask around for someone else, it sounds like you where not satisfied.
    Why did they not document what they saw when they did the investigation? This is what should have happened, and a report written.
    Other than that, I have to agree with Neal, maybe it's just still movin around and it needs to be monitored.
    Sometimes those cracks have already been there, but you just notice them now since you are understanding "what" to look for.
    I'm not tryin to be a pain in the arse, I just think they need to communicate, and educate you better as to what you are seeing.
    Keep us posted.:D
     
  9. Jul 27, 2011 #9

    sugarmag

    sugarmag

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    The guy who came out said that since there was nothing that he could see that he didnt consider normal he didnt want to charge me for a report. He charged me $150 for a visual inspection that took about 1.5 hours. He said he could write up a report for another charg but didn't think it wouldbe fair to me since there was really nothing to write that was of importance. I checked his references and he has been doingthis for 20 years so i figured he was decent.
    I decided to have someone else come in and have an appointment for Thursday morning. Hopefully they will confirm my suspicions or put my mind at ease. Either way im driving myself crazy with worry.
    I will let you know what they say. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
     
  10. Jul 27, 2011 #10

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Was your guy an engineer or a home inspector, there is a difference? Make sure your new guy is an engineer and expect to pay more.
     
  11. Jul 27, 2011 #11

    sugarmag

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    He was a structural engineer, not an inspector. The new guy is also a structural engineer as well. I tried to find a foundation engineer but no luck. The first guy was 500 originally, but since he said no report was needed he didnt charge me the full amount. This one is 750 and i WILL get a full report in writing even if he says i dont need one.
     
  12. Jul 28, 2011 #12

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    I would still record how much out of level everything is so that next time you could check it yourself every six month or so. You can do that with a 4ft level and a long wedge of wood like a cedar shingle. You slide the wedge under the level until it reads level and measure the thickness of the wedge at that spot.
    We didn't talk about insect or rot dammage, you want the engineer to look for that.
     
  13. Jul 28, 2011 #13

    sugarmag

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    Well, engineer # 2 left a little while ago and basically told me the same exact thing #1 told me. He sees no structural damage, normal settling, good strong house, a few things i can do to fix certain issues, but he also does not anything that worried him in the least.
    He does think i may have a small leak in bathroom and gave me a spot to watch.

    So, I need to thank you guys and let this thing rest.
     
  14. Jul 28, 2011 #14

    nealtw

    nealtw

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    Great, now you will sleep better.
     
  15. Jul 29, 2011 #15

    inspectorD

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    Glad we could help.:beer:
     
  16. Aug 12, 2011 #16

    BridgeMan

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    If all else fails, you may want to have a local foundation repair outfit take a look at what you have, and give you an estimate (usually free) of what they think is needed to correct the situation. With sticking windows and doors, I'd definitely look at foundation settlement of some kind. Doors and windows "stick" for a reason.

    PM me if you want to pick my alleged brain (I'm a semi-retired civil engineer and former home inspector, and have performed more than 3500 inspections of all types of structures in the last 44 years).
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2011

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