Serious issues or patch jobs?

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Old 02-18-13, 03:59 PM
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Serious issues or patch jobs?

At this point I'm at a loss for how to figure out the severity of the problem and whether it's worth attempting to fix or not.

Enclosed back patio:

Concrete including the roof, which doubles as a 2nd floor deck with railings & a door coming from MB. The 2 outer corners are cracking at the base both on the inside & out; the largest crack is 1/4" on inside (4th pic). The concrete roof cracked & leaking in 2 places and has rusted re-bar exposed on soffit area.

Front porch:
Concrete slab (separate from house foundation) has 3 concrete columns, which are also cracking at the base. the largest crack is 1/2" on middle column (2nd to last pic). The porch slab appears to have sunk slightly to the front & right corner where there is no downspout.

Other cracks:
Window: (1st floor, side & center of house) Thin vertical cracks on exterior.
Garage/Driveway: Thin horizontal and vertical cracks.

Issues I'm in the process of trying to resolve:
1) Lawn sprinklers are directly up against both the back patio & front porch.

2) Trees, plants & bushes being used as landscaping directly up against both back patio & front porch, which appear to be taking over and even expanding to the point of breaking the concrete landscape border.

3) Gutter don't work properly and downspouts are missing and/or broken on both outer corners of the enclosed back patio and on the front porch.

I had the following inspections done:
1) Licensed Home inspector: (pre-purchase)
Did not even note these areas but when I asked him, he said they were minor patch jobs.

2) Local foundation repair company: (post-purchase)
Said front porch needs patch job (something strong not stucco) but enclosed back patio needs 2 pin piles on each outer corner.

3) Structural Engineer: (post-purchase)
Mentioned power grouting, pin piling & soil testing as possible options but I'd need to get house "plans"/"drawings" before he can draw up a plan, which unfortunately, I could not get but this sounds very expensive!

Any guidance here is greatly appreciated!

Thanks!
 
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Old 02-18-13, 05:28 PM
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Did you hire the inspector, or did the real estate agent "suggest" you use this particular inspector? If the latter, he was just there to facilitate a sale, and inspections of this type are suspect at best. I cannot believe he did not mention all these cracks, and passed them off as "minor" things. They are not minor, and you, now have to fix them at your expense, when you could have used it as a bargaining chip to buy the house. Some are moisture caused problems while others seem to be stress related. Luckily it is stucco on the side of the house, and if the moisture it taken care of, it can be repaired.
 
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Old 02-18-13, 07:31 PM
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It was a short sale sold AS IS so no real bargaining chips and I hired the licensed inspector through my own research initially through ASHI, where his profile states "Additional services offered : Structural Systems". He is also a licensed residential builder in this area with a clear and active record since the 80's. He's probably a bit past his prime however...My bad! FWIW, I did get my money back.

Moisture from the lawn sprinklers has been removed and I'm in the process of getting new gutters & downspouts so moisture has been under control except for rain. Thankfully, we haven't had much rain since I bought the place.

That said,

1) How do I tell moisture caused problems from stress related?
2) If moisture it taken care of, how it can be repaired?
 
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Old 02-19-13, 04:22 AM
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FWIW, I did get my money back.
Good for you !! It appears you have alleviated the exterior moisture problem, regarding the sprinkler system. That is probably most of the problem anyway. The stress related ones are the interior ones in the sunroom, but it could be just from settling. All the bad moisture damaged stucco should be removed and a new coat(s) applied. As far as the columns are concerned, are they concrete, too?? That is from moisture working it's way into the finish and peeling. Likewise, removing the bad stuff, sanding it down, filling in damaged areas, priming and repainting may go a long way.

Our paint guru, Marksr, will be along shortly to put in his professional opinion, so heed what he has to say about the paint, thingy, as I don't paint professionally.
 
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Old 02-19-13, 05:40 AM
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Provided the stucco is sound, caulking and repainting will take care of the cracks. Usually tapping the stucco with a hammer lets you know it's condition. A hollow sound usually means it's not bonded well to what's behind it. Do you know if it's cinder block construction? or wood frame and lath?

If I bid [or did] the paint job I'd offer to caulk the cracks as part of the paint prep but wouldn't attempt to fix the columns - that's too far out of my area of expertise
 
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Old 02-19-13, 01:38 PM
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...The stress related ones are the interior ones in the sunroom, but it could be just from settling. All the bad moisture damaged stucco should be removed and a new coat(s) applied.
The exterior of each corner has broken/missing downspouts still. How severe a problem am I looking at here? I was actually considering demoing the sunroom because the tile floor is uneven & cracking, some of the windows don't open, the roof/deck leaks & the railings need to be replaced.
As far as the columns are concerned, are they concrete, too??
I believe so...This may be a dumb question but what's the difference between stucco & concrete and how will I know I've reached good concrete or stucco? The answer to my last question may help me answer yours.
Provided the stucco is sound, caulking and repainting will take care of the cracks. Usually tapping the stucco with a hammer lets you know it's condition. A hollow sound usually means it's not bonded well to what's behind it. Do you know if it's cinder block construction? or wood frame and lath?
I don't believe the sunroom is wood frame. The columns sound solid on top when tapped but sound hollow when tapped where cracked. In the sunroom one corner sounds hollow where cracked the does not.
 
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Old 02-19-13, 02:31 PM
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The reason I ask about the columns, they appear to be built of concrete instead of wood. I can't really tell from the pix. Stucco is a concrete product, but so different in composition, as concrete is structural, while stucco is "pretty".

If you are having that many problems with the sunroom, it may benefit you to consider demo and rebuild........then you can do it right.
 
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Old 02-19-13, 10:01 PM
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The wider column cracks appear torsional-related, meaning the concrete has been subject to twisting forces it wasn't designed to handle. Not unusual if the bases were anchored to a slab that experienced excessive movement/settlement, while the tops were fixed in the roof structure. Could be repaired if delamination isn't too deep, and if adequate reinforcement is present. But if the hollow-sounding concrete is more than 1/3 the total depth, a better solution would be complete removal/replacement. I'd be tempted to use precast columns, anchored into new concrete top and bottom. Have some stout bodies (or adequate equipment) to help wiggle them into place--an 8" dia., 8-ft.-long column will weigh more than 400 lb.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 09:52 AM
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Thanks for the guidance!

UPDATE...

Front porch:
The porch slab DOES NOT appear to have sunk slightly to the front & right corner where there is no downspout but rather, it appears to have been pitched slightly that way to allow for water run off. Will some folks say anything to get work?

HOWEVER...There is a leak in the overhang that the 3 columns are holding up and it appears to hold water inside the roofing; I imagine that can get quite heavy especially within deteriorated concrete tile, wood decking, soffits, insulation, etc..

Enclosed back patio:
During a recent rain, I noticed that water actually comes out of the down spout about half way down & goes directly on that corner wall where biggest crack is and flows right down into the cracks on the outside.

Also, a window guy showed me that the windows do open & close properly but they're stuck due to broken mechanisms, springs, etc and he can fix them for $75 each.

And since the concrete roof deck is cracked & leaking in at least 2 places and has rusted re-bar exposed on soffit areas...

What are the chances the problem is coming from the top NOT bottom and the foundation is fine but rather it's all that water coming in from the top causing all these problems?
 
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Old 03-11-13, 01:12 PM
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You need to fix the water issues first! Hopefully while doing that you can better determine the causes of the other issues and have a better idea of what needs to be done.
 
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Old 03-11-13, 03:39 PM
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It's entirely possible that the majority of your cracking problems are related to water working its way down from the top (roof). As others have said, repair the roof leaks and deterioration first, before moving on to things below it. And be very grateful you don't live in a climate with freeze-thaw conditions, because I suspect your sun room would be laying in an ugly pile in the yard if that were the case.
 
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Old 04-06-13, 11:54 AM
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I'm convinced both the columns and the enclosed porch with roof deck are having primarily water issues starting at the main roof down through the soffits, stucco & paint and broken gutters & down spouts, etc..., which has caused minor settling.

FWIW, while getting bids on my main re-roof, local roofers have quoted me the following on the concrete roof-deck:
1) Nada, "paint it", "to be done by others".
2) Built-up roofs with new flashing & drip edge.
3) "Waterproofing systems" like Sealoflex & Sonoguard.

One GC quoted me for Sto Watertight Coat, VulkemŽ 350 Under Tile & VulkemŽ 350NF/351 Pedestrian Deck Coating System but I'm not really sure exactly what he's proposing due to a bit of language barrier, go figure.

FWIW, no one has mentioned fixing the cracks on the roof-deck floor first.

All of your thoughts and opinions are greatly appreciated!
 
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