Holy Crack Batman


  #1  
Old 01-22-06, 09:23 AM
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Holy Crack Batman

Dumb title I know, but hey, it got you hear didn't it?

I recently bought a house with a half above ground half below ground basement. Picture this:

The wall is about 6 feet hight with a 2' x 2' window in the above ground section. Now run your finger from the top left of the window to the bottom left of the window. When you reach the bottom of the window move your finger towards the bottom right corner. When you get about 2/3 of the way there drop your finger straight down the wall to the floor.

Now imagine that invisible line you drew with your finger represents a crack that starts small at the top of the window between the frame and the wall, becomes absolutely huge at the bottom of the window (about 2"-4")and then tapers out small again once you hit the floor.

This is a large crack that has developed in the foundation that I can feel and practically see the outside through in the above ground parts. Though strangely I haven't had any water problems with snow and rain I am concerned at having such a large vertical fracture in the stone and concrete.

Being a first time homeowner I am looking for similar stories or advice on how to remedy this problem. Do I just fill it and forget it or will this only get worst over time?

Thanks!
 

Last edited by FizorZed; 01-22-06 at 09:24 AM. Reason: typos
  #2  
Old 01-22-06, 11:21 AM
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Holy Crack Batman

I assume you either did not have a home inspection or the crack occurred after you bought the property. In either case you should have an engineer look at the crack to determine the cause and method of repair.

Vertical shrinkage cracks are much narrower than this. You crack is probably structural in nature so it should be examined.

Dick
 
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Old 01-22-06, 01:18 PM
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upstairs remodel the culprit?

The crack definitly occured after the purchase of the house. Our home inspector found no significant problems with the foundation at the time of purchase. The house is a hundred years old so i'm not terribly surprised by it but am just unsure of how a crack like this forms or how it is repaired. My only theory is that we removed all the paster and lathe from the master bedroom and replaced with drywall. Could the sudden reduction in weight on that side of the house do this? The crack on the same side of the house as the work we're doing.
 
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Old 01-22-06, 01:30 PM
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Holy Crack Batman

Doubtful that removing that weight would be a cause of the crack since it is insignificant in comparison to the total load and that load may not have been on that basement wall in the first place.

Without knowing your climate, frost could somehow play into the picture but I do not know how.

You would best be advised to get the services of an engineer (not contractor) to determine the cause of this.

I don't understand whether the crack was 2" to 4" wide or 2" to 4" below the window, but because it is new on an existing, established foundation, it should be looked at.

Dick
 
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Old 01-22-06, 01:40 PM
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Thanks for the advice. I will have it looked at. Just to round out the info I live in Chicago with wildly varying temperatures. The crack seemed to occure at the end of the summer but cant be sure.

The 2" to 4" crack is at its widest at the bottom of the window frame (about a foot or two above ground) and tapers to zero when it meets the floor.

In the meantime I have sprayed in some insulating foam in the crack to keep out the elements. I'll contact someone to have it looked at. What kind of specialist does this kind of work? Am I looking for a structural engineer or a mason? Any advice?
 
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Old 01-22-06, 03:40 PM
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Holy Crack Batman

You want an engineer and not a mason or a masonry contractor.

Dick
 
 

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