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!

Large cracks in old interior plastered wall joints


grannieannie's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

01-26-05, 01:49 PM   #1  
grannieannie
Large cracks in old interior plastered wall joints

My home is built on a hard sandstone ridge. It is a 1930s Bungalow - small and boxy. It has a full basement, which is unusual for this part of the country. They blasted out the rock and built it into the side of the hill. Faces West. The basement walls are covered with concrete masonry of some type, over the original sandstone rock. The beams are massive, like old barn beams and solid. There are old windows down there on the south walls, but were long ago boarded up by previous owners. (I would one day like to restore those andlet some natural light in down there). There has been no drainage problems. There is a concrete drain channel built all along the floor against the outer walls and a good drain. The walls are never wet. A little drainage on days of heavy rain, but nothing much at all. the hill carries off most of the run-off. (the reason I wanted a house on the hill in this region). So, no problem with that.
The problem:
All the rooms only on the southfacing exterior walls have cracks along the joints between room and has now begun to widden at a frightening rate, and has spread up along the wall and along the ceiling joints now. The cracks range in size, but they are widdening. It is a bit alarming!
I understand the stress problem with plaster and lath walls in old homes like mine and the problem with the humdity differences between the upstairs and the basement. I have central heat and air, but the original chimneys are in place where there was once coal burning furnaces.
There have been repairs made to ceiling cracks by previous owner or occupants- bad attempts, but these need new repaired as well.
So, what do you guys think?
Is it my foundation, the old plaster problem or the humidity factor, or possibly all three? (tell me it ain't so!)
What can I do to fix this. I worry that the whole southside of my house will collapse down at any given moment.
Help!


Last edited by grannieannie; 01-26-05 at 02:10 PM.
 
Sponsored Links
IHI's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 502

01-26-05, 09:24 PM   #2  
Get out and run fer yer lives!! LOL, okay maybe not just yet If this was a normal house built on a slab or over a basement I would'nt thinik twice about calling it settleing. Given the fact your on a rock hill, this brings in a whole set of what if's that we could never answer without seeing it. I'm afraid at worst possible shifting of the hill-even minor-that may be reflected by what your seeing.

I would personally recommend you at least get a contractor/engineer over there to take a look at your situation just for safety sake. They may conclude the structure is fine, hill is fine and not shifting, but I would feel alot better KNOWING that than assuming so and having something catastrophic happen later.

 
grannieannie's Avatar
Visiting Guest

Posts: n/a

01-27-05, 01:39 PM   #3  
grannieannie
Thanks for your advice!

I guess I kinda knew that it was probably the ground shifting - a foundation problem, since it was only on the south side of the house. That is a very common problem here in Oklahoma, and the very reason why there are / were very few homes built with basements.
This house is so solid though. So far, knock on wood, it has withstood the big bad winds. I love how the plaster walls help make it solid, but hate trying to hang things on them. I have not done any further home improvements since this started. There is no use until that is fixed.
The house itself seems solid. Looks as if the floor joists (beams) are doing their part.
What kind of company should I look for to call? There is a company here called, "Permajack" that supposedly specializes in just such things for this part of the country. Probably have to sell the 'family cow' to get that work done. Bummer!
It's kinda scary doing my laundry down there, I tell you. The laundry is right under the bathtub/shower in the room upstairs, and both are on that south side where the walls seems to be separating. I did take notice that the old windows down there are leaning outward a bit out on top. I put a wooden fence post up under the floor support there. Probably no good, but makes me feel a little safer. Zooks!
Thanks for your input. I guess I will call one of the companies and have them come out and give me an appraisal of the situation.
No Ferrari this year! Darn!

 
IHI's Avatar
Member

Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 502

01-27-05, 02:37 PM   #4  
If nothing else call you city hall's building department. They work with companies that pull permits and know who does what, and if the city knows them/recommends them, it usually means they're reputible since that company is pulling permits-means they have to have their worked checked and okay.

Hopefully it will be a very minor issue, at least that way you could buy a used Ferrari, just not the '05 model.

 
Search this Thread