I recently had an inspection done on a home I am purchasing and the inspector told me that the cinder block foundation had signifigant cracks that would be very difficult and extensive to fix. I received the report last night and although the cracks are mentioned, the only recommendation is to seal the cracks and monitor the foundation. The house was built in 1940 and so it does not have any weeping tile which the inspector also placed a great deal of concern on. However, once again when I recieved the inspection report, it briefly mentioned that there is evidence of water beneath the house. I have three days to make a decision on whether or not I will continue with the sale. Should I bring in a structural engineer to check things out? The inspector first said it would be 10-12k to fix the foundation and 15-18k to put in new weeping tile. Now he is saying 5-7k to do both. Tenille.
I can help.Let me read your question a bit closer.
I read over your description of the situation and I would definitely have a structural engineer come out and make a site visit and report. Foundation issues can be very expensive to repair and can also severely damage a house if they are not repaired correctly. This damage can spread to other elements of the house.This is a very large and important purchase for you and you want to be making a good purchase decision based on the best facts you can compile.You have to remember that a Home Inspector is not an Engineer. They usually are ex-building inspectors or ex-contractors, so they do not have the expertise to identify specific causes for issues like this. I think you can tell that by how your inspector seems to be changing is recommendation all over the place.
Over 28 years of Structural Engineering experience
Being a cinder block foundation, are cracks a bigger concern? How long does it take a crack that's about 1/4 inch wide accross the length of one wall to create signifigant damage? He said there is evidence of deflection but no high moisture readings.
1. Cracks are a bigger concern in cinder block foundation walls than they are in a reinforced concrete foundation walls. Do you know if your wall is grouted with reinforcing steel?2. The biggest issue with cracks and settlement is whether you have differential settlement or uniform settlement. For example if a whole structure settles uniformly, you would not have any real problems except for possibly utility connections to your structure. If you have one portion of your structure settling and another portion firm, then the structure will start racking and thing like doors and windows will start to have trouble opening, etc. So it really depends on what is causing the settlement to come up with an estimate.A horizontal crack near the mid height of a basement wall could mean the wall is not reinforced and soil pressure is causing the wall to deflect inward. In this case the basement wall is strutted (held in place) at the bottom by the basement slab and strutted at the top by the first floor diaphragm, but the middle of the wall could deflect if the soil behind the wall gets saturated.
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