Leaning Cripple Wall

This one has me baffled. Cripple wall built along the front of a home basement…no real apparent reason, but framing looked to be the same as the original (prior owner was a logger, all framing was rough sawn).

Cripple wall was 1 1/2" out of plumb over 2 feet. No apparent movement of any of the block foundation anywhere. Main beam twisted toward the outside wall (likely pulled by the floor joist that are toe nailed into the cripple wall), lots of cracked sheetrock upstairs.

I’m not sure what caused this; could it have been built this way, to cover for a mistake in the block foundation? I don’t believe this, but not totally sure. Needed a string line to pull some measurements.

Length of cripple wall: Approx. 35 feet long, approx. 2 foot height.

Update: I saw several large piles of glass block on the property (large double lot)…possibly a temp wall for future finishing?

Any thoughts? :shock:

FYI… I just spoke with Casey on the phone. He will be back to post some additional information.

Updated info on original post…

No go on the glass blocks. Apparently they were something the previous owner salvaged from the old school in town, but his executor knew nothing about plans to use them in the wall.

Did you check the opposite wall for any movement?

Yes…there was no evidence of movement on any of the other walls. No cracks (one minor crack on the front wall), no shifted block…nothing.

Is that main beam cut from one piece of sawed lumber? If so maybe the beam twisted as it dried over time and pushed the joist.

The main beam is a triple of rough sawn lumber. Total dimension was 5 3/4" wide, 8 3/4" height. They were nailed together, but are not shown in these pictures. Which beam are you referring to?

The beam I am talking about is the main beam down the center, probably the one you described. I have seen 6x6 treated posts twist 45 degrees as it dried out due to some type of defect in the grain in the wood. I was checking the possibility this main beam did the same. Less likely when three are nailed together, but still possible.

Ok, I’m with you now. That beam is tilted slightly toward the exterior wall, but shouldn’t be enough to throw it 1 1/2" inches out.

Were the floor joist nailed to the main beam and cripple wall?

Toe nailed to the top plate of the cripple wall. They were only nailed to the sistered floor joist for the other half of the house (on top of the main beam). I did not see that they were nailed to the top beam.

You would think there would be some sign of movement from the opposing wall to make it move, but I didn’t see anything. There was moisture along that opposing wall at the floor/wall connection point.

A client hired an engineer per my recommendation once for what looks like the exact same issue. Just a badly constructed cripple wall on a house less than 5 years old. The engineer signed off on it as a non-issue. The client was a general contractor and bought the house as far as I know.

Hmmm…Bruce, this house is 25 years old. My client had this as one of his major concerns, even during the scheduling phone call. His words were “If it looks wrong to me, I’d think it’s wrong”.

Wound up stating that the wall was out of plumb a significant distance, needed to be looked at by an engineer and repaired as needed.

Like you said…if the engineer signs off, what else can you do?


One last thought… is it possible the bottom of the cripple wall was pushed in?

Was the cripple wall anchored into the blocks?

good point Randy