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Wedge Crack at corner of exposed foundation

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leedawg77

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Hi guys, I am new to the forum.


We have a pretty big wedge crack at the corner of our house foundation. I believe it may have been due to my own stupidity since I did not drain water far enough from the house in that corner. Anyhow I've read that in house's with slabs, this is mostly a cosmetic issue. Bu unfortunately ours looks a little more serious and we have a basement.

I've posted some pictures, how serious is our issue? Really hoping it's not too serious. Have a baby on the way next month and a wife that is about to be laid off. So hoping for a cheap repair.

crack.jpg

crack 2.jpg

IMG_4058.jpg

IMG_4059.jpg
 
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inspectorD

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That there is cosmetic, Not an issue. You can fix it, or leave it till it falls off.
Sounds like you have more pressing issues comming soon.
Good luck.:D
 

leedawg77

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I really appreciate it. I will fix it when I have some free time, but big relief to know it's cosmetic.
 
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leedawg77

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Didn't think my first post went through. I don't really repeat everything I say twice.
 

BridgeMan

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Contrary to what others have told you, here are a few things to think about:

While everyone thinks the cracking may not be significant at present, the one photo shows the broken corner being pushed outward, away from the main body of concrete. That simple fact tells me that there's something going on, as normal brick veneers bearing on concrete foundation walls don't usually exert enough force to crack and spall the wall concrete. And they don't typically exert lateral forces, but rather act vertically, downward. It could be something as simple as an accumulation of moisture and freeze-thaw forces acting in the crack opening over a period of time, or as complicated as differential foundation settlement (caused by any number of unknown factors), or even lack of adequate brick ties. Are there any visible weep holes in the brick veneer, at or near the bottom courses? If not, that could be a factor in causing what you're seeing.

The sooner you address the problem, the easier (and less expensive) it will be to make things right. Especially before you find yourself in full-blown diaper changing mode. A good start would be to seal the visible cracks with a low modulus adhesive (epoxy gel, or even liquid nails), with some Portland cement worked into the surface to make the repair unobtrusive. Grand total of a few hours of your time, and a few bucks for materials.
 

leedawg77

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BridgeMan thank you for your reply, though not exactly what I wanted to hear..I appreciate the thoroughness of you answer. I did not notice weep holes in the brick, but I didn't really look for them either. I will look again in the morning. We have had lots of freezing of late. However the house has shown some signs of settlement in recent months (built 15 years ago) or more likely I've just noticed the signs in recent months, because I was looking for them. Maybe I should get a contractor to look at it?
 
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leedawg77

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Bridgeman, just asking a question. But isn't that what wedge cracks do (brick veneer expanding and pushing outward on the foundation)? It seems like most wedge cracks I see online that is exactly what is happening. In fact usually the wedge will fall off from the outward pressure. It is my understand that it isn't downward pressure on the foundation but outward pressure from expansion??

Please don't take this as disrespect of your opinion. By your screen name it seems you know what you are talking about when it comes to concrete. Just wanted to clear that up.
 

BridgeMan

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Don't be scared off by anything I said. A satisfactory repair would probably be a nickle-and-dime job for most contractors. Don't be surprised if they tell you the only fix is to remove the entire corner of your foundation wall, installing steel lintels to hold up the brick, and forming and pouring the wall, to the tune of umpteen thousand $$$ (to make it worth their while). Not likely to need all of that, but just trying to give you a heads up. If it were mine, I'd request repair quotes from at least 3 experienced foundation repair people, making sure I was there to pick their brains while they were snooping around. And then taking the best of their ideas, and doing the repairs myself.

Should you decide to get quotes, come back to this forum and tell us what the contractors tell you. Also, before they show up, make sure to check all other corners of the foundation walls, tapping on them with a steel-handled hammer, listening for differences in sound to see if any others are showing delaminations (and eventual spalling, like the corner pix you posted). Sound concrete will have a higher pitched "ring" to it, while cracked or delaminated concrete will have a duller "thud" sound.

And to answer your question, so-called "wedge cracks" should not be happening if a properly-reinforced and adequately constructed concrete wall is supporting a properly-tied (and drained) brick veneer above it. A common fault I've seen (on literally hundreds of concrete walls, piers and abutments I've inspected during their construction, in the last 45 years) is inadequate consolidation at the corners. The spud-man stands on the forms at the corner to brace himself in opposing directions, thereby neglecting to vibrate the corner concrete directly under him. And the corners are the first place for the concrete to freeze, before properly hydrating, if it's a cold weather placement that isn't properly insulated.
 
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inspectorD

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If you look at it, that crack was there when they installed the brick, wiggle that piece, is it even loose? Or someone has already done some repairs and did a really good job of matching the mortar.
Don't loss any sleep over this. Take some more pictures of the connection at the wall and foundation...and get the water issue fixed.
 

nealtw

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If in fact this was caused by moistrue and frost wouldn't you leave this so water could get out in the future.
 

BridgeMan

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Moisture accumulation and freeze-thaw action only made the problem worse, and didn't necessarily cause the initial cracking. Other forces are at work, as I referenced earlier. And, no, just allowing things to remain "as is" is not a practical remedy. Freeze-thaw damage always becomes more pronounced when dirt works its way into a crack, which tends to hold onto moisture and enabling it to expand in volume (and displace things) when frozen. The spalled corner will continue to displace, to the point of completely breaking free. At that point, a proper repair becomes more complicated, and definitely requires more of an effort, if done correctly.

Going on half a century, I've monitored and administered (under DOT and private consultant contracts) concrete repairs of several hundred structures, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, that often started with shallow, "non-structural" cracks that no one ever thought were serious enough to do anything about. The photo in my avatar is one such structure, which will likely cost its owner several million $$$ to either properly repair or completely replace.
 
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leedawg77

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Thanks everyone for your replies. This site has been invaluable. I will probably go ahead and do a patch job and cover it with Portland this weekend (if it warms up enough). Then I will watch it periodically. All other corners of the house are fine. The only other section that shows any wear is the foundation around the garage (not above basement) has some mortar that has worn away. I will check if the piece is loose in the morning. For some reason there appears to be weep holes in the concrete foundation low to the ground (in fact almost covered by mulch) but not the brick veneer itself which as you all suggested probably contributed to this. How hard would it be to add these? Or is it worth it? It's not the first corner my "custom" homebuilder cut in building my home.
 

mudmixer

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In my opinion, it is unfortunate the the man running a equipment to backfill hit the corner and knocked off a little piece. Patching concrete is difficult, especially on an exposed corner near ground level.

The brick veneer was laid much later after the house was squared up and framed. You can see the foundation was not precisely square, as evidenced by the slight overhang. Poured walls tend to be a little problematic as the forms shift during pouring as opposed to concrete block that are laid continuously with a level as construction proceeds.

The slight overhang of the brick is not a problem since it is within the overhang tolerance and is less than the amount allowed for architectural corbelling. The lack of weeps is not a major problem since buildings have been built without them for decades. Trying to add weeps after the lack may be counter-productive since the wall system may not have been built to use the concept.

It is not a structural problem since that are only supports a small amount of the brick veneer dead load and not any of the real structure or a durability problem, but is a minor cosmetic concern.

Dick
 
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