Is this cracking indicative of something much more problematic?


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Old 06-08-21, 07:12 PM
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Is this cracking indicative of something much more problematic?

Hi all,

In escrow on a place in South Orange County Southern California and had the inspection done today along with getting other vendors out to look at a few things. Didn't think we'd need a structural engineer but the general inspector suggested it after pointing this out:




The piece corner 'piece' appears to be ever so slightly unlevel with the rest of the slab but more significantly, the inspector pointed out that the area of the hallway and room that are above the garage (it's a 2 story home) slightly 'drops' or slopes (feels like about an inch) as you're walking from the upstairs hallway into the room that's over the garage corresponding to this same area. There is a large pine tree outside of the garage about 6-8' away and some other concrete pads that were forming a walkway - these pads were also not level with each other so the inspector was thinking the tree roots might be contributing to some of this. There are also no gutters around the edges at the top so he was also suggesting that the water pouring straight down could potentially cause issues with erosion and might have had a factor with this.

The home was built in 1985 and is also situation on somewhat of a slope:



I know it's probably tough to tell from the pics but does this look or sound like something more major than it looks? We are likely having a structural engineer come out to assess but wanted to get as much feedback/input as possible.
 
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Old 06-08-21, 07:53 PM
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Yeah it was probably built on unstable ground that was not properly compacted and since you have a slope on that side of the house, a tree, and no gutters, that all contributed to the foundation settling. Plus earthquakes.

It could probably be stabilized or even corrected by professional mud/foam jackers.
 
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Old 06-08-21, 08:20 PM
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Ugh...

We're in escrow on this place - is this big enough of a concern where we ought to seriously consider backing out?

I'm trying to get ahold of a structural engineer who can assess the issue but it's difficult and the seller isn't being very cooperative either (we found one so far who can only come out at 8:30am and she's saying she won't be available until after 10am - I think this might be any day of the week too).

What you said about the ground not being properly compacted makes sense because when the inspector did the sewer lateral inspection, he found a portion of the line that had a "belly" still within bounds of the property that was trapping some of the sewage.

What does "stabilizing or even corrected" really entail in a case like this? Do they have to end up majorly digging up under that area or something? I'm just wondering what something like this would all cost too....
 
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Old 06-08-21, 08:45 PM
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You will have to talk to some local foundation professionals, they will be able to better advise you on what your options are and how involved it needs to be, how much it would cost, etc. Typically though, mud jacking is very minor and easy compared to underpinning which is a major affair.
 
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Old 06-08-21, 09:29 PM
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Thanks, I'll hopefully be able to schedule something sooner than later.


BTW: after marinating on this and going back and forth with several others I just noticed this

I noticed it in passing but didn't think anything of it. But now I think there may be dots to connect... it seems more than coincidental that there's a piece of particleboard nailed in place right above the drywall where the foundation crack is :T
 
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Old 06-09-21, 04:45 AM
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Yes, you can pretty clearly see that that corner of the house has moved slightly. Hairline cracks are normal and quite difficult to avoid but when you see a gap opening or the crack also extends from floor to wall then you know things are moving. Luckily, almost anything can be fixed.
 
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Old 06-09-21, 11:02 AM
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So I got a very cursory opinion of what would likely need to be done by one local structural engineer after sending him some images of the damage (same images shown here). He said that the best option would be to pier it and that mudjacking isn't going to be a viable option. He can provide engineering plans and calculations for a permit (he's sending a quote on what that would cost) - he did mention many homeowners proceed to do this work w/ a contractor but no permit.
 
 

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