The attached photos come from one of my mock inspections. Before I complete my report, I just wanted some input from the home inspector community about possible causes. The obvious cause to me appears to be due to a failed footer. All of these photos come from the right side of the front entrance to the house. There is no separation or cracking on the left side. The surface crack on the concrete slab runs completely through from the back where it connects (well where it did connect to the house) to the front.
Not enough information for me to make that determination. There is obviously some settlement.
Why do you want to identify causation?
I agree with Brian.
Report what you see and refer it out to the qualified professional and let them decide how to fix it and explain, to the client the whys.
There is no access to view underneath the porch, so I have no more information. The home belongs to my sister-in-law, so I was trying to provide as much information as to possible to her. I will just note that the porch is experiencing some settlement and recommend that they follow up with a structural engineer for further evaluation.
That is good advice to provide for you sister.
A few things will help you:
- age of the home.
- city, state of the subject property.
- pictures from further back…dialing in to close-ups.
- Type of foundation.
A few things we would try to determine to get a better understanding of the problem. Is the porch a poured slab on pan or a built-up slab? Is the brick a veneer or structural? Is the porch slab tied into the home in anyway?
It is not unusual for a porch or stoop to settle. Often due to poor soil conditions where the porch footing is built on back-fill soil. But there are other possible contributing factors such as poor grading etc.
I have limited access to the foundation. No entry to underneath the porch and they have a completed basement. I do know that they did have some problems with grading and backfill
about 6 years ago due to the basement flooded with water at back left corner of the house after a down pour. They have lived in the home for approximately 20 years, newly built home.
When walking around the house, most of the brick veneer is showing separation from the house.
Always take a lot of pictures when you see a defect, not only up close but also some general shots of the area.
Based on what you showed I see possible slab settlement and possibly foundation settlement that caused the brick veneer separation. Those could be two separate unrelated problems.
What Brian said. Just showing close up photos doesn’t give us much to go on. Location can help everyone too.
Don’t ever ASSUME the cause of an issue, and don’t bother reporting cause unless it’s glaringly obvious. It would only get you in trouble. You assumed a failed footing was the cause, so ask yourself this, are you able to verify this?
There’s no need to refer an SE for a crack in a NON-load bearing slab or cracked brick veneer. Just refer it out to a proper contractor and move on.
So don’t shoot yourself in the foot.
Porches like that are usually filled with crap from when the home was built! Then they often top them off with crushed rock and then put in rebar or wire to help support and then it is topped off with concrete. 99% chance the base of that porch only has a footing around the perimeter and it is just going to settle over time. It will not get better so when we find this we always note it and tell our client to consult with a foundation repair contractor for information and cost on stabilizing and repairing prior to the end of their contingency period.
Are the downspouts properly draining away from the foundation?
I am not surprised. I am curious if the rim band is below grade at the rear? Or if that rear porch is above the rim band. If so, poor design will cause more problems.
Thanks Lukasz for your comments. I did not take enough photos of the defect.
I know that the rear porch was an add about 10 years ago and it is experiencing a lot of cracking. It had replaced a deck. I believe the contractor made a number of short cuts in the build of the home. For instance, rafters and ceiling joist consist of 2 x 4s. House is located in cold climate and there is one of two furnaces located in the attic. The weight of the furnace too much for the framing and there is noticeable bowing.
The downspouts feed into an underground drainage system.
Yes, it does seem out of place. The have no guards and railing on the front porch and it is well above 30 inches.
Well, it is better than a wood deck at grade.
Do you have to step up onto the rear porch from the back door?
Disregard the deck comment. It is not possible to have any type of decking at the rear entrance. I can’t remember what they had back there. Currently, there is no step from the back porch.
Bingo. That threshold gap in your photo could be a big problem. If there is a way from the inside, I would inspect the rim band (and floor structure/sub-floor) all along the rear porch for moisture intrusion/damage.
(The siding looks like it might be embedded, another problem)