Foundation Cracks the Result of Too Much Water?

Old 09-18-07, 03:41 PM
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Foundation Cracks the Result of Too Much Water?

I have several step cracks in the concrete block basement wall of my 60-year-old 2-story brick duplex. A structural engineer determined that the cracks were the result of a rainwater management problem, and suggested getting gutter guards and putting extensions on my downspouts to divert the water farther from the house (all of which makes sense).

However, I do not have water coming into the basement, and a roofer who recently gave me a gutter protection estimate commented that he didn't think the cracks where the result of water because I'm not getting water in the cracks (which also makes some sense).

Who do I believe? Can cracks be the result of something other than too much ground water? Everyone I ask seems to tell me something different, and I'm getting quite frustrated. Please help.
Old 09-18-07, 06:40 PM
Join Date: Apr 2007
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Take it from me, the engineer gave the correct answer, well sort of, if that's what he told you.

Cracks such as yours are the result of uneven settlement, which may well be the result of water saturating the soil supporting the foundation (deep down), which, combined with poor uneven soils either left or placed under your foundation during construction would create the conditions for uneven settlement. There is nothing practical that you can do about the soils under the foundation now, so the logical thing to do is to follow the engineer's advice, as that is the only thing that you can do at this time. It may or may not help.

As to why the cracks aren't leaking, it's possible the soils next to the cracks are porous enough that water gets away rather than pushing its way into the cracks (it'll always find the way of least resistance), and the soils under the foundation are not as good. Normally water would go into the cracks but not necessarily so, as I just explained.

As for the roofer, you should tell him to do his roof jobs, hopefully he knows more about that than soils!

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