Thanks in advance for reading this thread. I am wondering if a horizontal crack that spans across the width of the wall is a structural concern if the entire wall is above grade for a walkout basement?
I am deciding between two houses and this house is definitely more attractive to us but have a few vertical settlement cracks in the basement and the horizontal line/crack on this wall (see attached - it is on the wall near the top of the window frame).
The home is built in 1968 but this wall is an addition in 1970s.
I went back to look at the house again and the horizontal crack is not visible inside the storage room that is on the other side of this wall.
(Actually, the crack line would be on the same level as the ceiling in this storage room where they have wooden beams for the sun room above – I can see some of this from the ceiling that is pulled slight apart near the window frame in the attached images)
Is there anything that you can see which may be a concern due to the horizontal crack outside?
In this storage room, I see a vertical crack on another wall for the basement (should be exterior wall before this addition) that is in a stairs-like formation… again, should it be a concern or it may be ok so I should get the house inspector to look it over instead of avoiding it?
It looks to me like the horizontal crack at the exterior is a crack in the parge coat, which is a thin coat troweled over the block for aesthetic reasons. You can see the bottom of the page coat at the base of the wall. The crack visible on the inside of the block wall is ether heaving in the center of the wall or settling at one corner. Anyway it looks like soil movement to me. Any other cracks on the walls that adjoin this one, or is this the only cracked wall?
I see a downspout that goes into an underground drain. The underground portion tends to freeze or develop other blockages and then the runoff spills into soil around the foundation, causing settlement that causes cracking like the stepped cracking of the block wall visible from the interior.
It doesn’t look very serious to me but I’m looking at photos, not the house. Does the ground around the house slope toward the foundation near the crack?
Yes, from my visit 2 days back, it seems that the ground does slope towards the foundation near the crack. In my understanding, I should correct the grading to make sure that water is flowing away from the foundation rather than towards it. Is that correct?
I am not sure if you saw my most recent photos that also shows the other side of this wall. I do not see cracks on that side of the wall which is an addition to the house. (Note: the vertical stairs-like crack is on another wall which is part of the house)
Ground sloping toward the foundation can cause surface water to saturate the soil supporting the foundation, reducing the ability of the soil to support the structure and causing settlement that can crack foundations.
Any through-wall cracks (cracks that extend from the foundation exterior to the interior) are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a structural engineer.
It’s difficult to see the photos because they’re so big. Resizing before you post would help.
Thanks! For this wall, it is not through-wall crack from exterior to interior wall. I did not a wall on the other side that has a vertical crack that is a through-wall crack as I can see light in 1 spot and I will be sure to point it out to my house inspector to see if a structural engineer should take a look at it. (But a lot of houses in NJ seems to have this issue with vertical cracks – sigh)
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