Cracks in concrete block basement walls


  #1  
Old 02-11-06, 09:09 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Strongsville, Ohio
Posts: 2
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Cracks in concrete block basement walls

My house is 10 months old and I've noticed cracks(vertical) in basement blocks since last May. Approx 60 blocks cracked(some cracking goes 4-5 courses in a 12 course wall) and there is some stair stepping in the mortar joints. I had the mason over and he repaired? 8 blocks by chipping out the face of the block and inserting a half block and piping mortar around the sides and top of block. I was told by a bricklayer friend that this was a cosmetic fix and told the mason so. He sent over a structural engineer and he said that the cracks were from shrinkage and was only on the inside of the blocks and not to worry(didn't offer to dig on the outside). I wasn't satisfied with his assessment and called my city's building dept. They sent out an inspector and he was shocked at the amount of cracking and the builders attitude about the situation. He sent the builder and the mason letters stating "it has been determined that in order to sufficiently repair and ensure the structural integrity of the walls it would be necessary to pressure grout the entire foundation with high strength grout. Gave them 14 days to repair it to boot. "Failure to correct said violation will result in revocation of certificate of registration under provision "c", faulty or defective workmanship". I don't know what "pressure grouting" entails but the inspector said, in essence, that my walls would be like a poured foundation wall(solid). Is this the proper fix for this problem? I haven't had any leaks(no heavy down pours or snowmelt around here this winter) and I do have a sump system(inside) installed(pump does run quite a bit when it rains). I'm worried that 5-10 years down the road I'm looking at major foundation repair. Should I hire a lawyer and have my own structural engineer inspect whats going on with the walls? Is the city inspector trying to placate me(I know these guys are on a first name basis with all the builders in this city) or is he looking out for me with his solution. My home warranty expires 4-1-06. Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.
 
  #2  
Old 02-11-06, 05:44 PM
B
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Michigan
Posts: 353
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
A certain amount of "wall checking"is normal especially when the blocks are laid up during certain weather conditions. As the wall drys out and seasons, shrinkage occurs. Your description sounds much more serious so far as the walls are concerned.

Having said this, I'm not as worried about the walls as I am about the soil bearing characteristics and settlement of the footing. Assuming the walls and corners were constructed perfectly level plumb and were laid up by a reasonably good block Mason,it can be easily checked. The foundation should be shot with a transit for level and corners checked for plumb. Tight Mason twine can be stretched along outside of walls corner to corner to determine if walls are straight or bowing in or out. Try sighting down wall joints to make sure wall is straight to get an idea. Elevations should be recorded and compared to a stationary bench mark to determine if your building is shifting or settling.

In areas of questionable ground stability, soil borings should be conducted by an engineer to determine bearing characteristics of soil. Are any neighbors in area having similar troubles? Was house possibly built on filled land or soil with bad qualities. Was basement or crawl space tiled properly and backfilled properly to provide for relief of water pressure from outside of walls?

I urge you to persevere in you quest. I once had to repair a house that had settled 8" from side to side due to poor soil bearing capabilities.

Good luck to you.

bs5
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description: