First Question - Our house was finished in 2007 (new build). After moving in I noticed a 45 degree discolored line in the basement wall (concrete). It runs from the top of the wall to the floor. After looking at it closer I realized it was concrete troweled over possibly a crack? I called the builder and they came and looked and said it was a “cold pour joint” and said it “shouldn’t be a problem”.

Is this a problem?

Second Question - One of our concrete basement walls has developed a crack (this is a different wall than above). It runs from the top to the bottom. The crack is approx 5mm wide at the widest point and has a little discoloration/staining at the edges. The builder also looked at this and said “if it starts to leak give us a call”. We have not seen any water or moisture in the basement yet.

Is there anything that can/should be done with this crack? Should the builder be more interested in this?

Thanks for the help


any photos

Here are some pics. The description is above each pic.

This is the top of the crack that has developed. This is the widest part of the crack.

This is the middle. You can see the discoloration/staining.

This is the bottom of the crack. It extends completely from top to bottom.

The is the top of the cold pour. Some discoloration.

This is the middle of the cold pour. You can see the concrete falling apart where the crack is.

The very bottom of the cold pour. Again some concrete falling out.

Thanks guys

Trent, photos would help as Dennis suggested.

Here are a few links that might help describe what problem you have.

Hope this helps a little.

Marcel :):smiley:

Thanks guys. Pics are up.

I looked at the links and see some similar cracking to my situation.


Did mister builder waterproof the outside walls or damproof them?
And did they backfill with most-all gravel/sand OR did they backfill with same soil that was excavated?
Is your garage or a porch directly on the outside of either crack?

IF…if…if one or both cracks are where the garage or a porch is outside AND they only damproofed you may be OK per ‘water-intrusion’…for awhile,long as there is no further movement,long as crack(s) do not widen.BUT IF crack(s) widen a bit due to possible porch-footing leaning against wall or garage/driveway slab against wall or clay soil etc against walls then you prolly will leak…got that? lol

So instead of screwing around and taking any chances and hoping there isnt any future movement/widening, id have em waterproof the cracks, PROTECT YOUR azz. Down the road if there are any problems, mister builder will be long gone,wont wanna talk with you.

Here is a homeowner who had vertical crack,leaked. Mr builder looongg gone as Ernie Harwell used ta say
They only damproofed walls,big DIFF between damproofing and waterproofing AND they backfilled with same lousy clay soil that was excavated…never good.They did not pack any rod holes either ](*,)

Please do NOT buy,believe what builder might tell you,or others such as something like…‘just keep the grade sloped away and add longer downspout extensions’.

This homeowners GRADE is sloped away and builder boy even put in some sub-surface drain tile to try `n divert water away.Gotta fix/repair the cracks/openings!
Pics 19,20 See GRADE sloped away

Pics 3,4 Hairline vertical crack and YES, it leaked…we wouldnt have been there/hired if it wasnt leaking.

11,12 See the crap CLAY soil, heavy chtt and it expands and contracts against the basement wall,could cause a crack OR, WIDEN an existing crack all by its lonesome self.

Also note ROD HOLES. Did builder fill/pack each rod hole with cement? Doubt it, so be aware in coming months/years any rod hole can,could begin to leak.

See this homeowners story, -Man says Building Co wont honor warranty

Little more on builders

One more thing please…you could,you might have something like this Pics 2,3
This is a control-joint. Most…not all builders do NOT seal/waterproof this correctly on the OUTSIDE. If YOU have this it would usually be on the 2 longer walls at-near middle of each wall, you should see a ‘V’ in walls unless builder or sub patched/filled this ‘V’ in,on the inside. Just another heads up.

Few pics from Army Corps Engs, Amherst NY…CLAY SOIL
I`d stay away from any inside injection/ptach job if thats whats offered
Pic 1 Lateral pressure causing typical 45 degree stair-step crack…
Pic 2 Lateral pressure causing vertical mid span crack
Pic 3 Lateral pressure causing top of basement wall to bow inward 9 inches
(pilasters failed to brace wall)

could be just settlement keep your eye on it, you can put a piece of tape and mark the middle of the crack on the tape you will see any further movement that way, also John always has good advice, & look at this site

Trent, I have looked at your pictures and don’t really see anything alarming there.
The evidence of a cold joint appears to be, but not one to be too concerned about.

Some of the staining appears to have come from the form ties, which would indicate the the exterior of the foundation was only damproofed and the form ties were not patched prior to dampproofing.
Some leakage will occur through form ties when not patched and dampproofing applied. Some rust is evident on the interior on the ties.

The cracks that I am looking at appear to be normal shrinkage cracks and that is due to the fact the concrete water cement ratio was exceeded above standard levels.

The faint cold joint indicates this wall was poured with a concrete slump of over 6". Standard approved slump mix for concrete usually does not exceed 4" unless a Mid-range additive is used or superplastizer. Most residential builders do not use this due to cost.

I would recommend you look at John Bubbers thread and as Dennis mentioned monitor the cracks.
I also see that they have sealed between the foundation window and the concrete and evidence of prior leakage.

Shots of the exterior might show negative drainage, no gutters and maybe signs of waterproofing and/or dampproofing used on the exterior of the foundation.

Hope this helps your evaluation of the property to this regard.

Marcel :):smiley:

You guys are awesome here. Thanks a bunch for the help.


Good job Marcel. In my opinion you are right on with your analysis.

one of our members just lost another inspection fee!!!

thanx nachi

Or, if we are*** that ***helpful and knowledgable just think what else a Nachi home inspection will find. :smiley:

Actually in talking to some other home owners in the area that have had similar problems (some with water) and a conversation with a family lawyer (no not family law expert - a lawyer that is in the family :D) we are considering a home inspection (actually inspection of several homes in the area). If that happens we will be back here to find an inspector.

Which is why we are considering the home inspections.

Thanks - great website.


Just make sure you use a INachi Inspector Trent, ;):):smiley:

Great explanation Marcel. Just had a good conversation with Chris D about the same situation today. I see it all the time when I have my builder hat on (which is 90% of the time). That is why it is imperative to have proper waterproofing on the outside of the home along with removing water away from the home to relieve pressure.

T. E. if your still around,

Some will leak and some wont. You shouldnt take a chance is all im saying,while ya still have Mr Builders attention.

Dont forget those rod holes, if they only put one cork in rod holes and damproofed exterior walls and backfilled w/same soil that was excavated then sooner or a lil later down the road youll likely have some problems/water.One lonesome leaky rod hole can allow quite a bit of water in,could cause mold,efflorescence and radon gas can enter rod holes too

Thanks John. I think we will be looking further into this.


They look like typical shrinkage cracks to me too. The slight staining may never go beyond slight but there is of course the potential for further water intrusion. If you are very concerned about it you might want to get the builder out to perform an epoxy injection at a minimum. The right way would be to repair at the exterior but good luck getting the builder to do that.

Good luck and keep us updated.