Foundation Cracks/Movement

Inspected home built in 1977. Attached are some photos of crack/movement of foundation wall in crawlspace. Also, I have included photos of rear concrete porch which has settled at the area where crack/movement has occured.
What advise would you offer client? Structual engineer?


That’s a construction joint not a crack. By the color of the blocks it does appear to be excessive water adjacent to the foundation and the slab settlement confirms that. The photo of the slab in relation to the bottom of the siding indicates the house sits low into the ground, which makes proper surface grading for drainage very difficult. I would start with the simple recommendations such add guttering if there is none, or clean them out if clogged. Improve surface grading around the foundation, if possible. The slab that settled will likely drain water toward the foundation and will probably need replaced in order to improve the drainage. In some cases you have to accept the fact the foundation was poorly designed from the start. Some soil types and topography will not allow someone to dig a pit in a swamp and expect not to have to deal with water issues. From your pictures I don’t see any structural issues, but without being there I can’t give you a complete assessment. There are many other options that can be used in combination, such as waterproofing the outside of the foundation, adding french drains and sump pumps to lower the water table, etc.

Would you not recommend the crack be filled with Expansion Joint Sealant Randy?

expansion joint separates brick masonry into segments to prevent cracking caused by changes in
temperature, moisture expansion, elastic deformation, settlement and creep. Expansion joints may be horizontal
or vertical. The joints are formed by leaving a continuous unobstructed opening through the brick wythe that may
be filled with a highly compressible material. This allows the joints to partially close as the brickwork expands.
Expansion joints must be located so that the structural integrity of the brickwork is not compromised.
control joint
determines the location of cracks in concrete or concrete masonry construction due to volume
changes resulting from shrinkage. It creates a plane of weakness that, in conjunction with reinforcement or joint
reinforcement, causes cracks to occur at a predetermined location. A control joint is usually a vertical gap through
the concrete or concrete masonry wythe and may be filled with inelastic materials. A control joint will tend to
open rather than close. Control joints must be located so that the structural integrity of the concrete or concrete
masonry is not affected.
building expansion joint
is used to separate a building into discrete sections so that stresses developed in one
section will not affect the integrity of the entire structure. The building expansion joint is a through-the-building joint
and is typically wider than an expansion or control joint.
construction joint (cold joint)
occurs primarily in concrete construction when construction work is interrupted.
Construction joints should be located where they will least impair the strength of the structure.
Although the primary purpose of expansion joints is to
accommodate expansive movement, the joint also must **resist **
water penetration and air infiltration. A premolded foam or
neoprene pad that extends through the full wythe thickness
aids in keeping mortar or other debris from clogging the joint
and increases water penetration resistance. Fiberboard and
similar materials are not suitable for this purpose because
they are not as compressible.
Mortar, ties or wire reinforcement should not extend into
or bridge the expansion joint. If this occurs, movement will
be restricted and the expansion joint will not perform as
intended. Expansion joints should be formed as the wall is
built, as shown in
Photo 1
. However, vertical expansion joints
may be cut into existing brickwork as a remedial action.
Sealants are used on the exterior side of expansion joints to prevent water and air penetration. Many different
types of sealants are available, although those that exhibit the highest expansion and compression capabilities
are best. Sealants should conform to ASTM C 920,
Standard Specification for Elastomeric Joint Sealants
[Ref. 1],
Grade NS, Use M, and be sufficiently compressible, resistant to weathering (ultraviolet light) and bond well to
adjacent materials. Sealant manufacturers should be consulted for the applicability of their sealants for expansion
joint applications. Compatibility of sealants with adjacent materials such as brick, flashings, metals, etc., also
must be taken into consideration. Manufacturers recommend three generic types of elastomeric sealants for use
on brickwork: polyurethanes, silicones and polysulfides. Most sealants suitable for use in brickwork expansion
joints meet an ASTM C 920 Class 25 or Class 50 rating that requires them to expand and contract by at least
25 percent or 50 percent of the initial joint width, respectively. Sealants meeting Class 50 are recommended to
minimize the number of joints. Many sealants require a primer to be applied to the masonry surface to ensure
adequate bond.

Thanks guys for your help.

Just my 2 cents :mrgreen:

Crack in crawlspace wall…ONLY means of stopping further water intrusion through the crack/wall would be EXTERIOR waterproofing.

May also be some water/moisture entering ABOVE the wall.

Can’t tell from photos but Mr King says there’s a concrete porch that has settled.
Sometimes, 1+ concrete slabs or a porch footing can settle against a basement/crawl wall and CAUSE a crack and then allows water to enter the basement/crawl.

When a slab or porch footing settles/moves and CAUSES a crack then it needs to be removed to prevent further wall movement/widening of crack. Yep sure sometimes, a slab etc may not settle/move too much more in immediate future but…it could. And it sure could move/settle more against the wall in further down the road.

Crack needs to be waterproofed correctly. Doing some sort of inside crap doesn’t remove, relieve any of the weight, concrete, soil, underground roots etc which cause a lot of crack, leaks.

Even if the slab/porch (whatever that is) did not, in-part or at all cause the crack and had not settled water/rain STILL gets under the slab/porch and when it does it has an easy gateway into the crawl. French drains n sumps don’t repair/waterproof the crack and don’t remove, relieve any of the likely causes of many cracks in crawl/basement walls, nope.

Per your first 2 photos (staining etc up high and lower)…like in these photos

Rest of photos, same house/job…
click each to ENLARGE

Even when 1+ concrete slabs or a porch footing hasn’t caused a crack as at this house, the exterior cracks and other openings/problems on the outside of the basement wall (and above the wall) is WHY the basement leaked, is why there are stains up high and lower (efflorescence etc)

And i’ll honestly say again :mrgreen:, the ONLY means of fixing/repairing the PROBLEMS in order to STOP the water etc is on the outside.
No french drain, no grading, no mudjacking, no sump pump and not Drylok shtball paint would fix/waterproof all the actual exterior problems, would NOT stop further water intrusion, would not stop further staining n sht on the inside of the basement wall, nope.
House was sold, seller told buyer basement water intrusion problems were fixed by pouring a NEW DRIVEWAY, that the supposed poor PITCH of the old driveways slabs was the problem.
Seller also applied Drylok paint on inside basement wall.
Hmm, now why would the buyer call my dumb az if the basement wasn’t still leaking/why call if the supposed problem and solution was the poor pitch of old driveway slabs and brand spankin new driveway…huh?

Click each photo to enlarge each photo and see exactly why the basement was leaking ( don’t be afraid lol) before and after the sale of the house, before and after the dumb az new driveway and Drylok.
And for the NTH time lol, no inside system, no French drain, no sump pump, no new driveway, not grading or mudjacking and not painting the dumb walls with Drylok would FIX the actual problems, would NOT have stopped further water intrusion into and through the block walls.

How about that dandy exterior DRAIN and piping bllsht…? Did that help, fix anything? Nope.

One more quickie…ran an estimate (will have pics soon enough, weather permitting to do the job), the woman homeowner IS getting water in her basement because there are exterior cracks, (the usual). Long story shorter…her neighbor who is a retired building inspector told her I was full of sht and that she could waterproof her basement by applying Drylok on her block walls.

Well ummm duh, she called 4 days after applying the CRAP as it rained and she got water in again. Gee, thought retired building inspector had the right answer and i’m full of sht!@!@!#
Verrrrrrrrrryy tired of those who aren’t experts on this subject, who tell everyone they have the answers and i’m full of sht…eh, f c U baby, got that?

Around here, most are inside system bubblehead companies…eyeball ALL pics I’ve posted if ya like. Eh, none of the interior system companies would have fixed 1 (ONE) of those basements correctly. Not Foundation Systems of Michigan (radio ads galore on 97.1 DUH ticket), not B Dry, not Everdry, not Basement Systems and so on…many homeowners getting lied to on what their actual problems are and have not, are not getting them fixed, NO your not. Have posted quite a few photo sets where these inside system companies already bs’d homeowners out of thousands of $$ and installed their stupid interior system which did NOT fix sqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqquat, sheesh!