Welcome to the DoItYourself Forums!

To post questions, help other DIYers and reduce advertising (like the one on your left), join our DIY community. It's free!

Exterior Wall Moving off Foundation


mtncrawler's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 39
CO

02-08-15, 10:16 AM   #1  
Exterior Wall Moving off Foundation

Boy, I didn't know where to post this but I'm looking for some insight on a potential problem I noticed last fall.

I live in a town home that was built in 1999. It's kind of long/narrow town home - with a long/tall exterior wall that is always exposed to southern sun. (Front Range Colorado). Anyway, the laminated beams (last one sitting on a sill plate) run parallel with the foundation wall. After having some mouse/reptile infestation last fall - I got serious about sealing any gaps I might find and started pulling insulation off the top of the foundation wall that was packed against the outer beam and sill plate. I noticed several "gaps" (daylight) from where the beam sat on the sill plate that I sealed up with expanding foam. The gap wasn't like the wall "raised up off the sill - but moved outward. As I began to look further, I noticed that the sill plate (which was holding that exterior wall) had broken free of the studs/nuts that was holding it to the top of the foundation wall. I only saw a few in this condition (in the middle of the length of the wall)

When viewed from the outside - it kind of looks like the wall is bulging out a bit. To put some dimensions on it - If you start from the west end of the long wall, from the exterior, the gap underneath the siding is very small to start with - kinda normal 1/4-1/2" maybe -then by the wall gets to the middle of the expanse (the wall is maybe 40ft long) - this "gap" from the siding to the foundation is about 2-3".

The inside of that long, tall wall forms a really tall pitched wall on the interior - very high ceilings up to the peak of the pitch. I have no drywall cracks inside whatsoever.

So I'm puzzled. I don't see any major cracks in the poured foundation wall in the basement itself either. I wonder whether the constant exposure to heat and sun has "warped" that wall and facilitated it being pulled from the sill plate bolts?

The home is 16 years old and I purchased it new. One thing that always concerned me about that particular wall (which I questioned at the time) was that the exterior sheathing was only done with plywood for the first 1/3" of the wall from either end - the middle was just sheathed in that blue insulation board. Told it was to code so I didn't question it more. (It may have nothing to do with things.)

Anyway - is this totally catastrophic? Is there a "worst" case where maybe its moved all it can/will and will just stabilize as is? Should it be repaired? Pulled back in and re-bolted to foundation in the middle?

Sorry for the long postů.just wondering where to start. Mike

 
Sponsored Links
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation

Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 39,968
GA

02-08-15, 10:39 AM   #2  
Yeah, long posts without pictures is rough. We can't see what you see, and although you tried to do it in words, it's difficult to follow. Try posting a few pictures so we can see what you see. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...your-post.html

 
mtncrawler's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 39
CO

02-08-15, 10:54 AM   #3  
Will do - I'll try and get a few

Another thing I meant to mention - about 6-7 years ago - I had noticed this "gap" from the exterior in another section of the same exterior wall and I had used expanding foam (At that time I never worked my way along the entire wall - so I don't know if what if what I saw last fall was new or it had been there years ago). I just noticed that that foam is still in place and hasn't moved since.

I'll try and get some pics.

Thanks Chandler.

 
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,321
NE

02-08-15, 11:09 AM   #4  
Sill plate should not have come unbolted for any reason... so either its always been that way or something is moving.

Use some long string lines to figure out where straight is, to help figure out which has moved... the foundation or the wall.

 
mtncrawler's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 39
CO

02-08-15, 05:25 PM   #5  
'Sill plate should not have come unbolted for any reason... so either its always been that way or something is moving.'

I still don't have pics - I'll get them up in the next couple days - something you said may make more sense. It's may have always been that way.

I looked again at the 2 sill plate bolts, and while a quick glance, they look like they've pulled (or the wall/sill has pulled away) - I only see a little evidence that they may have been engaged into the sill plate a bit deeper. It's not like there is some slot, opening, or broken away sill plate behind the stud - it almost looks like they just totally mis-located the stud in the foundation wall (sill plate sitting mostly to the outside of the stud) and tried to use a washer to grasp the edge of the sill. I do think its moved a bit - but not the 2-3" that I see from the outside.

I'd only add that the two studs on either side of these 2 in question are intact.

Again, I'll shoot for some pics in the next couple days.
Thanks

 
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation

Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 39,968
GA

02-09-15, 04:27 AM   #6  
Ooh! While pix will tell, it looks as if the concrete pour, or cmu wall was not square, and the framers made their wall square regardless. They had to. They should have stopped work and insisted the wall be redone. It was built in the boom, so speed was of the essence. Not that Colorado has seen much of a slow down

 
mtncrawler's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 39
CO

02-15-15, 04:28 PM   #7  
Ok - Finally delayed over the last week I got some pics.

First, a lay of the land so to speak. This is the exterior shot from West to East. The siding starts out nice and tight to the foundation wall - gradually expanding (down near that second window well).





This is the interior of that same wall. Absolutely no drywall cracks even up to the vault peak. (I painted it 2 years ago, and saw the entire surface)



Now let's go east on that long wall to about 3ft to the west side of that second window well and look at the sill plate bolt in question. Let's call this BOLT1. You can see how the bolt was never properly installed (or sill depending on how you look at it) - and maybe because of that - the wall looks to have moved about the diameter of the hex nut itself (let's call it 3/4"). NOTE: There is a bunch of expandable foam there, but it wasn't necessarily "open" along that whole length - just back to the west a couple feet there was a spot where the top of the foundation wall (near a beam pocket) was chipped - creating and opening for the critters. I was just getting happy with the foam to be sure of nothing underneath.




Here's a look at that same spot from the exterior; Again, terrible foam job - as its tough to get it under the siding so close to the ground - but this whole length was not exposed to the basement - just tried to fill in the gap underneath the siding.



Now back inside to the sill; The next sill plate BOLT2 about 6ft to the east from BOLT1. Probably just to the other side of the window well. Note: You can see where the sill plate coming from the BOLT1 ends - and a new one begins. It looks very much like BOLT2 is intact (no movement) - even though the sill plate/bolt location is crappy. This is the sill plate bolt I referred to earlier as being a bit bent to the outside - maybe to get a cleaner bite on the sill plate itself.




One thing that's kind of unnerving (but I don't know if its unusual) is that there is about 3 feet of sill plate from BOLT1 to the east that is unbolted. BOLT1 is the last sill bolt on that plate going west to east. I would have figured a bolt placed closer to the end.


Lastly, this is sill BOLT3 to the east (so second from BOLT1). Looks like it was installed MORE properly in terms of location on the sill plate. Some cracking, though hard to tell how much from installation .vs. any real movement.


This is kinda looking from BOLT3 bolt pictured above - back towards BOLT1. You can barley make out BOLT2. The reason I have no pics of the sill plate to the west of BOLT1 is because about 2 ft to the west, the framing starts for that stairwell you see in the interior pic, and the sill just disappears for about 10-15 ft, before reemerging. All the plate bolts towards that western most point look OK.



I may be making more of this than I need to - don't know. I definitely think things have moved out around BOLT1 (at least that 3/4") - but it's been in place 15 years now. I'm not sure if it's reached it's worse point knowing that the rest of the floor/beam/framing construction is also anchoring things.There are also a couple exterior clues as well. I foamed an area just to the east of that window well several years back - and it hasn't moved. still pretty solid. Also, there is an exterior "step" on the other side of that AC unit that still has the small gap to the siding.

I happen to be discussing this with a co-worker and he gave me the name of a structural engineer - and I'm meeting with him this week.

Other observations - I have not strung any lines on the int foundation wall yet. I did strip the insulation to get a good look and only see very small cracks from the corners of the window - and one longer crack (about 20ft down east from BOLT1) that comes out of the bottom of another beam pocket diagonally towards the floor. Like 1/16-1/8" wide maybe. No real signs of moisture.

Welcome any comments/questions - sorry if that was a WAY too long post.

I'd like to be able to finish the basement, but need to address this (or at least have it looked at) first.

Thanks all,

 
BridgeMan45's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 3,196
OR

02-15-15, 08:27 PM   #8  
I'd wait to hear what the S.E. has to say before getting too concerned about the wall's warping. I've seen long walls (timber and concrete) in your climate region doing some strange things, caused by differential heating from prolonged sun exposure--they tend to bow, with the hotter side wanting to grow (getting longer) than the cooler side.

If they are minor, I wouldn't be too concerned about built-in construction deficiencies. Not that it's any consolation, but when I lived there (in CO), anybody with a dog and a pickup truck could call himself a contractor. The state did not have a contractor licensing system in place.

 
Handyone's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator

Join Date: Aug 2000
Posts: 5,451
CAL

02-15-15, 09:03 PM   #9  
Man, That's a whole lot.
The J-Bolts were obviously not placed correctly. They can be retrofitted.

I'm thinking all that matters is how much of the exterior wall is sitting on the foundation. I can't tell from the pictures.

Have you taken an inspection mirror and looked under the siding? You want to see if any part of the wall sole plate is overhanging the outside edge of foundation.

Hopefully it's the exterior sheathing that is overhanging foundation and not any part of actual wall.


Brian
Cal Contractor

 
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation

Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 39,968
GA

02-16-15, 04:50 AM   #10  
Bridge, my daughter lives in Denver, and when we visit, I note an exorbitant amount of construction going on. People have to wait sometimes months to get work done on their house due to the worker shortage. Maybe they have their licensing thing down, now.

 
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,321
NE

02-16-15, 06:39 AM   #11  
I'm surprised that rim is uninsulated. But as mentioned, don't get too excited until your inspection by the S.E. Also, if you haven't run the string line, that would be a good start, and your S.E. would like to see that. Just put a nail in the front side of each end of the sill plate, and stretch a mason's line between the nails, as tight as you can humanly pull it.

There were obviously issues with the foundation plan not matching the framing plan, which is why the siding is closer to the foundation on one side than the other. In a perfect world, the plate would line up with the outside edge of the foundation... not hang over 2".

 
mtncrawler's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 39
CO

02-16-15, 07:26 AM   #12  
Bridgeman:
You hit on something I mentioned in my first post. This wall is south facing and received all kinds of thermal cycling. That is a hot spot in the summer for sure - and even winter it gets full sun (shorter period) then the cold. I often hear popping/settling at night on that wall - all seasons.

Yeah, I'm less than enthused with the construction quality that I've seen the further I look.

Handyone:
The sill plate supports the last of several laminated beams (you can see it in that very last pic) forming the base/structure of the floor above. I do NOT see any separation between the sill plate and that beam. The sole plate for the outside wall sits on top of that. (maybe thats what you meant?). Its hard to tell also from that pic, but that beam actually looks like it leans a bit to the outside - which makes sense - if the sill plate has a moved and done a bit of the same. In answer to your mirror question - I have gotten a look using a mirror and I can see the sill plate hanging off the foundation wall. Actually, when I first spotted the opening to the west of BOLT1 from the inside - I shot foam, then traced it back outside. Part of the reason you see so much foam from the inside is - I wanted to see if I had more opening than I thought. I didn't. What you see from the outside is a sad attempt at foaming where I just wanted to fill space to prevent critters from digging any further.

XSleeper:
Yeah - the wall construction itself. Agreed about the misalignment. I remember when it was being built - particle board sheathing on the outside (but only for so long coming from either end) then that blue foam styrofoam(?) board from top to bottom in the middle of the wall. I questioned this during construction - boy I wish now I had looked closer at some of the work done.

Won't have time to string anything before the SE arrives - meeting him tomorrow.

Thanks for the comments/feedback all - I'm crossing fingers its only minor repair work at most.


Last edited by mtncrawler; 02-16-15 at 07:51 AM.
 
XSleeper's Avatar
Group Moderator

Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 19,321
NE

02-16-15, 08:07 AM   #13  
If it makes you feel any better, it's normal to have OSB (particle board is a different product) on the corners and foam in the middle of the span on a gable end such as yours...

At least have the string line with you, you will want to do that when he's there. At a minimum, I bet he will suggest retrofitting some 1/2" drop in anchors no more than 6' on center.

 
mtncrawler's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 39
CO

02-16-15, 08:55 PM   #14  
Thanks XSleeper - it does actually. I probably just haven't seen that many examples - used to seeing OSB even in spans like that I guess. I take it its a money saver?

SE here on Thursday..we'll see what he recommends.

 
mtncrawler's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 39
CO

02-19-15, 05:02 PM   #15  
Well, the verdict is in. Not all bad - but I have a bit of work to do.

Definitely a poured wall/foundation issue. We could isolate the area (go figure right around the problem area) where the foundation wall bows in. From both ends (east and west) it's pretty gradual, then the bow increases right in that area by a few inches.

So the framers just squared things at the outmost ends and where the foundation bowed inward, the sill plate/floor/wall was left to overhang.

Nothing of immediate concern. He certainly commented about what a miss it was by the city framing inspectors (not that it was a frame problem - but it should have been seen/addressed at the time). I guess it was typical for city building inspectors at the time to "miss" this kind of stuff. I won't comment either way, but I guess since the mid-2000's a lot of these inspections have been taken over or outsourced to engineers to avoid liability.

So the fix he recommended was getting some 3/16" thick 2" x 3" angle iron, and attaching it to the outside of the foundation wall via 1/2" SS Red-heads every 12", for about a 20ft length centered around this bowed area, to help support (prevent) any further movement. No need to "jack" the wall up - just run the angle iron up against the exposed sill plate under the siding.

Not too bad - I can actually do that work when my wrist heals - but at least I can breath a bit easier now.

Thanks for all your comments folks -

 
Search this Thread