cracked concrete block walls

Inspection today I found stairstep cracks on three out of 4 exterior walls. Cracks seemed to start in center and run for 6 ft or so and peter out in both directions with the widest point in crack being more towards the center of the wall (vertically).
Walls had rebar at aprox 36 inches o.c. and no signs of cracks on interior of house. I usually describe concrete cracks as spider cracks that can be sealed and painted over but these were more excessive. What are your thoughts?

These cracks don’t look very haunting. But you have stucco on the outside. What kind of stucco is it? Looks like 3 coat.

I have no idea how many coats of stucco. How could you tell? I compared the density sound by hitting with a rubber mallet and my walls on my cbs home are considerably more solid. The pics are decieving. I should of took better pics but two of the cracks you could easily get a pencil lead inside. Personally I believe it was not grouted properly. I am recommending further evaluation by a structural engineer.

What do you believe was not grouted properly?

Maybe I can help. 30+ years in the Stucco Biz.

I’m suspecting the cores of the blocks were not completly filled although the top of the concrete blocks were topped off with concrete. When I pounded on the walls near the corners they were obviously solid, but as soon as you moved away from the walls they were not as dense. Am I looking to hard?

You hit the wall with a mallet?!

Meeker take it over.

Ha, that is what I was thinking. A golf club works better.:wink:

OP, try using a MT-6 or a good thermal imager to find the poured (grouted) cells for spacing.

Cores being filled or not filled wouldn’t cause that cracking, and the cause is the concern, because you want to know if it is now stable, or might continue cracking.
Stepped cracking is typical of soil movement, but with vertical movement, either subsidence or heaving, usually there’s either an ascending or descending closure, not both on a single crack like shown in these photos. Crack off the window is also typical of soil movement.
If the soil were a type of clay that experienced both expansion and contraction with changes in moisture content, that might account for this type of cracking. Recommend soils testing if that might be a possibility.

It very rare on CMU wall not to have some SS cracks.
I see it almost everyday.

Some cracking on the walls was noted in a few areas around the perimeter of the dwelling. These generally appeared to follow the mortar joints between the courses of blocks (stair step pattern) and are a normal occurrence found in homes of this design. We did not notice any wall deflection or evidence of racking to doorframes or window openings in these areas at the time of the inspection. We recommend these be sealed and monitored for further movement.

Stucco cracks are so common the only time I don’t see one is when a house has fresh paint.

What are the requirements for cell filling on homes in indian river county? I would think that most would not be, unless specifically required.
How old was the home?

Yep. Likely not an issue Seal with the best paintable polyseam seal type product they can afford. Do not try to patch with a cement or stucco type product or it will show up bad. Once caulked smear with thumb to blend. Most quality paints will make the fix “almost” invisible.

I don’t see anything in your photos that I would consider out of the ordinary. I get concerned about cracks if I see a stair step crack running toward the corner of the home and one on the other side of that corner running toward the first one. That tells me that there is substantial movement at that location. I also call out a crack, especially a vertical one, that gets much wider as it gets closer to the top or bottom of the wall.

I usually make a comment like Roy suggested but this job had more numerous cracks, I’d say a total of 7 spots with cracks running 6 to 7 ft. each pattern and more prevalent than I usually see. Thanks for input guys.

If you see more than what you think is normal CYA.

Here is blog I wrote on this subject, check it out, CLICK HERE thanks