staircase crack in brick wall

Old 01-17-06, 05:34 PM
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staircase crack in brick wall

We are looking to buy a brick house. It is about 50 years old, has a slab foundation, and is in southern Louisiana. On the exterior wall there is a staircase crack that is about 6' long and ~1/2" wide. The inspector found the elevation inside to not vary by more that 1/2", but he still recommended that we see a structural engineer.

Here's a picture of the crack:

I spoke with another structural engineer, and he said that an engineer couldn't tell you much about the foundation of a house simply because it had not been originally designed by an engineer.

Several questions:

-Is this something we should worry about? Should we not consider the house?
-What is the worst-case scenario and implications?
-Should we hire an engineer?

Any help is appreciated.

Old 01-17-06, 05:58 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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staircase crack in brick wall

Find a better engineer that is willing to give you an opinion. A good engineer should be able to tell you the age of the crack and the possible cause(s). It may be due to long term settlement ot it may be a more recent structural problem.

If you do offer to buy the house, make sure it is inspected and the an engineer certifies the structural adequacy. You will have to initially pay for the inspection if you want an independant opinion. Perhaps the purchase agreement could state that the seller pay for the inspection if the house fails.


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