Diagnsing a V crack

The home is a 10 year old colonial with a poured concrete foundation.

The wall had a V crack that was larger at the top then the bottom. Crack was wider than 1/4 inch and there appeared to be some movement between the walls. The wall with the crack was near the garage slab. The other wall couldnt be evlauated as it was finished.

I told my client that it is best to have a structural engineer evalute the crack and repair as needed. I also told him that if he didnt have the crack analyzed that when it came time for hime to sell that this may be an issue and he may have a hard time selling the home.

I understand most cracks but rarely see the V crack. I would of liked to see the finished wall but as you know we can not damage things.

Thanks for any info on the crack and possable cause and the solution for repair.

The realtor was stating that “all these homes built by this builder have these cracks”.

I told her this is not a typical shrinkage crack and I would advise my client to have a structural evaluation.

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One particular development in this area experienced similar cracking. Cause was inadequate footings.

Builder underpinned all foundations and extended an additional 10 year foundation warranty (20 year total) on all homes repaired.

Excuse me for my lack of knowledge but what do you mean by underpinned?

Thanks for the response.

Great site for information. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.foundationrepair.org/images/pamplets/underpinning.gif&imgrefurl=http://www.foundationrepair.org/foundation_repair_underpinning.htm&h=290&w=486&sz=12&hl=en&start=2&um=1&tbnid=AE6bsjURfIXRaM:&tbnh=77&tbnw=129&prev=/images%3Fq%3D%22underpinning%22%26svnum%3D10%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26sa%3DN


This is my version of underpinning.

Existing foundation undermined to pour 5000 psi concrete down to solid ledge.

New floor well below bottom of existing footing.
Underminning is done in four foot segments and poured 3" lower than existing footing and then dry packed with non-shrink grout. At 75% strength, another four foot section is done in the same manner.

Dirt is excavated the full width of existing footing.

Long process to re-distribute the load evenly. Monitoring elevations are taken prior and after.

Hope this helps and you would not imagine how long it took me to post those two little pictures. ha. ha.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :smiley:

In the scenario that I suggested, re-excavation and re-pouring of footings under the existing foundation / footings is what was performed.

Quite an expense.

Expense is right Joe, in this case the interior of this 25 year old building had already showed some vertical cracking that was due to the existing foundation poured on two feet of dirt instead of following the ledge.

The water line went right through the footing which severed the reinforcement and weakened the link and the sewer line the same way.
Even I would not have down this stuff 25 years ago.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


I’m in Downingtown and am curious which development you were referring to.


MRC… That certainly is underpinning! Nice Pics.

If all there is, is what is in the picture, and it is reletivly limited, and there is not an “epidemic” of cracking in the area, At this point I wouldn’t call for the backhoe.

To my eyes, it really only looks like a common settling crack. I would monitor the crack and see what happens. If there is a water intrusion problem, it can be easily fixed… in a non intrusive way, by injecting hydrophobic polyurethane into the crack. You should also look at the topography to see if there are any signs of drainage/underground water problems. They could have added to or caused the problem too.

This does not look like anything we would defer to an engineer, etc.


Marcel :slight_smile: :smiley:

Around here where we have expansive soil, a V crack wider at the top indicates heaving of the soil. Unless it looks like it’s need calculations, I almost always recommend a good foundation repair contractor. The client can usually get several evaluations/bids for free. A 1/4" crack with walls moving independently is significant.

I just received a call from my client that I referred to a engineer. He now has piece of mind and was very happy about the structural engineers findings. And my services as well.

There was some movement and it does require anchoring. It is a small repair of about 1500 dollars. There was more cracking behind boxes in the garage that we didn’t see at the day of inspection.

I am very glad I made the call to the engineer.

Now he has a structural report, will get it properly fixed, can use this to negotiate and when he sells the home there should be now problem as he has documentation.

I feel I provided the best service to my client & I would expect referrals from him in the future. He also plans on having me do another radon test in about 1 year.

Out of curiosity, would you happen to have a list of the recommended repairs that were listed by the structural engineer?

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


I will post when I receive the structural report.

He is going to install an anchor (I believe at the garage slab) and then epoxy the crack. He told me there are numerous types of epoxys and if I was to tell my client to MONITOR and seal the crack as many inspectors do. The client may of just used a silicone.

In this case if the garage wasnt full of boxes I would of been able to see the crack at the garage.

This could of been about a 1500 lawsuit if I dont call it out right. I am glad I reffered it to the SE. This is a very minor repair in regards to structural issues.

It is hard for any one responding to this post to make a evaluation on just one photo.

Thanks you for your input.

I dont like to tell clients to monitor cracks.

For $1,500 someone can’t afford to sue. AND I’ll bet for every engineer or foundation contractor that said repairs needed - there would be 2 more saying NOT. As long as it worked for you OK.