Odd Foundation wall in new home


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Old 12-11-14, 09:54 PM
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Odd Foundation wall in new home

So we bought a split-entry house that was built in 67 and it has those half height foundation walls in the basement (3' tall). Well today as I was getting some stuff ready to paint I noticed in the family room one wall of that half height basement wall bows/curves in. It has one vertical settling crack in it, but the inspector didn't think that was an issue. I nor the inspector noticed the curved wall (or at least he didn't mention it). I didn't notice it at the time either
Basically if I look down the wall it seems the base of the concrete part of the wall curves about 1.5 to 2" into the room before it goes back to normal at the opposing corner. I can't tell if the top is just as bowed.. doesn't seem to be.
So basically if you start at one end and and follow the wall it curves into the room about an inch or two in the middle and back out to the other end (so both ends are even and the middle is into the room about an inch-ish). The linoleum which is a beautiful 80s yellow blocky pattern is cut to the curve so lines on the floor make the curve look even worse because they disappear into the curve. The slab floor doesn't seem to be impacted at all.

I have only owned this house for a week now, but am a bit sick about this. Should I call someone in? or is this something I should just accept or can I Do anything?
 
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Old 12-12-14, 04:23 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

To clarify, does the wall bow out into the room or back towards the ground behind it?
Have you taken a straightedge [long 2x4 would work] to measure just how much of a bow there is?
pics might be helpful - http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html
 
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Old 12-12-14, 05:58 AM
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If I go with the "bows into the room" description, my guess is it occurred during construction, or at least before the concrete floor was installed. Floors are usually poured inside the foundation walls so it would be very difficult with obvious damage if that wall moved after the floor was poured.

Draw a string from one end of the basement to the other, both high and low and you will be able to see and measure the deflection.

Bud
 
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Old 12-12-14, 08:36 AM
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Using a line it appears to be right about 1.5" deflection on the floor into the room. I didn't measure the top. Not really noticeable unless you are looking down the wall from one end or the other which is why I never saw it before. Also the exterior (which is the outside) about 8" or so of this wall is above grade and the rest is below grade.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 08:57 AM
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Does the wall stay dry? any effervescence? cracks?

1.5" seems a lot to me - how long is the wall?
 
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Old 12-12-14, 10:05 AM
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The wall stays dry. Room is very dry and we have had some heavy rains as of late. I see no signs of effervesence, but the wall was recently painted. There is one crack on that wall from top to bottom, but it is small and the inspector said it was a typical concrete settling or shrinkage crack. Wall is approximately 23'
 
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Old 12-12-14, 01:56 PM
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my guess is 1 side of the form blew out as it wasn't properly stabilized when they poured the conc wall,,, you can easily hide it by scabbing on some 2x4's on either end & putting up more drywall,,, fwiw, this is MUCH easier & cheaper than replacing the wall OR sawing it straight
 
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Old 12-12-14, 02:19 PM
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There's a difference between settling cracks and shrinkage cracks in concrete. Most home inspectors don't know that, so their canned response to any concrete cracks observed is usually "settling cracks" or "shrinkage cracks." If the vertical crack is truly a settling crack, it would normally be wider at the bottom than at the top, resulting from the 2 sections of wall (on either side of the crack) rotating towards each other as they displace downward.

Worry is wasted anxiety. But if "calling someone in" (meaning a foundation repair outfit) will make you sleep better at night, by all means go for it. And be prepared to spend several thousand $$$ (minimum) the foundation guy will charge to mitigate the bowing and glue the crack back together. Should he want to remove and replace the entire wall, the cost could easily approach $10,000.

If it was mine, I'd monitor the crack with a few extensometers to see if it's moving at all, and go from there. No movement, just seal with polyurethane caulking. If movement is evident, going with a low-modulus epoxy injection of the crack would restore its structural integrity, while minimizing the likelihood of any additional cracks occurring.
 
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Old 12-12-14, 06:50 PM
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' foundation repair ' may well be just an underpinning but, to save some$, patch the crk w/patchng plaster,,, if it crks, the conc's moving - simple,,, it MAY be your conc wall has enough flexural strength it could've bowed to the amount you measure but i doubt it

did you ever check the wall's exterior to see it its also bowed in ? no idea of cost til we figure out what's what

OR - since you & bdge're both in oregon, invite him for dinner :-) i'm surprised he didn't offer to drive over
 
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Old 12-12-14, 09:02 PM
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I looked at the inspection report and it says the cracks are shrinkage. You guys think I am concerned about nothing? I was just pretty surprised to find my wall bowing in. Looking at the other walls in the room it seems the all have some level of deflection. I am now wondering if whoever poured this.. this was their first job. Of course the house is nearly 50 years old too.
 
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Old 12-13-14, 02:23 AM
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post pics OR make dinner for bdge shrinkage cracks are typically shallow & don't necessarily detract from the integrity of the conc structure,,, a crk from top to btm isn't a typical shrinkage crk,,, that's about all i can think of from looking at your house from my house

1 more thing - this ' bowing ' i define as lateral rather than vertical - please confirm or deny
 
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Old 12-13-14, 04:14 PM
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If all the walls have deflection I'm betting that it occurred when the walls were first formed. The contractor was probably pretty green, braced the outside of the forms very well but didn't do very well embracing the inside of the forms. I seen this done many times and as long as the form just bows and doesn't blow out the normally just end up leaving them.
 
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Old 12-13-14, 09:11 PM
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Pics!

Pic from the wall at the bottom
Name:  Wall Bottom.jpg
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Pic from the wall at the top
Name:  Wall Top.jpg
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Pic of the crack around the middle of the wall.
Name:  Crack Close up.jpg
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Size:  20.3 KB

Also I did a lot of walking around on the slab basement. Pretty uneven in spots. I also pulled up some carpet and found quite a bit of shrinkage cracks. I realize this house is almost 50 years old. But how normal is this for a slab?
 
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Old 12-14-14, 03:23 AM
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IF its really bugging you, scab out a new wall,,, otherwise put a playboy bunny poster on the opposite wall then you won't notice the other side shrinkage crks aren't abnormal,,, random contraction cracking is/was preventable by installing a proper jnt pattern - whatever's the case, those guys got paid & they're long gone
 
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Old 12-14-14, 07:56 AM
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I would be very surprised to find any foundation without the cracks like shown and especially on a 50 year old house. Document some measurements and put those notes in the utility room and check them a year from now. If it keeps moving, then take action. Right now it is just cosmetic and of no risk to the house or those in it. But it is fine to ask and the folks here are always glad to help.

Bud
 
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Old 12-14-14, 09:17 AM
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If that's the only crack you have consider yourself fortunate! The crack you showed in your picture is purely cosmetic and certainly not an issue. As mentioned earlier, take some measurements and check them again in a couple of years.
 
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Old 12-14-14, 09:24 AM
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Having not mentioned it in his report, the (alleged) home inspector must have been asleep at the wheel to have missed that wall curvature during his inspection.
 
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Old 12-14-14, 10:05 AM
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What do you think bridgeman? Should I call the inspector? Should I call in a foundation company? Should just leave it? Does it look like something I need to be worried about?
 
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Old 12-14-14, 10:27 AM
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IMO there isn't anything to worry about although it is a good idea to take measurements and then recheck it a yr or two later.
 
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Old 12-14-14, 07:00 PM
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I don't think it's worth worrying about. Calling the inspector will get you a few flimsy excuses why he didn't mention the wall being bowed in, and why he incorrectly labeled the vertical crack, and not much else. If you get a quote from a foundation outfit to true up the wall, you could ask the inspector to go "halfers" on the cost. But he won't, and at best will just refund the amount you paid him for his services. Doing so would at least be an admission by him that he screwed up.
 
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Old 12-14-14, 09:28 PM
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Thanks for all your advice guys. I feel a little annoyed and it ruins my feelings for my new house a bit, but I also feel like I need to leave it alone. I worry about the value of my house now when the next guy comes to buy it and they noticed the curved wall, but fixing it seems like it would cost me more than help me. A faux wall may be my best bet here.

I have further noticed about this wall that it does appear fairly normal up top, so maybe I just have a fat wall as opposed to a curved wall.
 
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Old 12-15-14, 03:52 AM
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if that's the crk of concern, its shrinkage imo - not an issue to me however, if it is to you, patch w/patching plaster & watch it,,, if the patch crks, the wall's moving,,, if, after a yr, it doesn't, not to worry - after all, the house IS 50yrs old both methods & mtls have seen improvement since then
 
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Old 12-15-14, 09:38 AM
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If that linoleum is from the 1980's, and it appears to have been cut to accommodate the curvature of the wall . . . . then it hasn't moved recently.

Maybe there was a minor cave-in on the concrete forms during the night while the foundation was curing/drying, and they concluded that the way it firmed up was "good enough", and not worth the cost involved in going back and perfecting it ?

How straight is the sill plate above it ?
 
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Old 12-15-14, 12:17 PM
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The sill plate is fairly straight, but amatuerishly done.
 
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Old 12-15-14, 11:53 PM
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think we're done here then - go back to bed
 
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Old 12-16-14, 12:58 AM
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So I did talked to the inspector about it today. He said there was nothing in the area to worry about. Basically what he told me is if there was a significant issue he would have expected a large crack or horizontal crack. To him it appeared as though the base was wider than the top.. either the form pushed out or they didn't bury the footing enough? Eitherway he said nothing to worry about as it was likely that was since inception and was not causing any structural issues.
So.. I guess it is a feature not a defect.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 02:04 AM
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With the only defect(s) being the inspector not at least mentioning the bowed wall in his report, or correctly identifying the cause of the vertical crack.

Did you choose him based on his bid being the lowest?
 
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Old 12-16-14, 08:34 AM
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They weren't the lowest. They were average. They had really good reviews though.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 11:55 AM
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The oversight might just have been an honest mistake - they're people too The biggest issues with home inspectors are the new uneducated ones and those that work closely with the realtor and are there more to facilitate the sale than look out for your interest.
 
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Old 12-17-14, 12:48 AM
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lesson learned - next time hire a pe now its bedtime !
 
 

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