Looking for advice on exterior cracks

Hi All. I’m looking for just a couple quick thoughts about cracks in the house I am in right now. I’ve spoken to a handyman who pointed out the cracks in several areas with cracked bricks. I talked to a masonry expert who had some big concerns over them, following that our landlord sent out a foundation specialist to look at this and said it was hardly an issue. Right now I’m unsure whats going on because of two very different opinions.

The Semi was built in 85 or so, this is in Ontario. It looks like one of the previous owners (2009 or older from the looks of it on google maps street view) tried doing some repairs but at same time looks like none held together. The first guy I spoke to had no idea what he was trying to do in regards to the concrete at the base of the bricks to the foundation. Whats worrisome to me is that every single window exhibits a staircase cracking and cracks from the ones near the basement. The other side of the house has some cracks but nothing major.

I know pictures only cover the tip of the iceburg, if any, I guess I’m just looking for gut feelings about these problems in terms of severity as I’m considering purchasing the house.

Images here, can be zoomed in to see closer as they are high res

Are you buying the house? If not, why are you worrying about it?

If you are buying the house get an independent assessment from an experienced home inspector and/or a structural engineer. Stay away from anyone that would make money by offering to fix the problem until you know there is a problem that needs fixing.

All due respect BUTT…

A home inspector or S E is… going to make money if called.

And, at least in my business, most will need to find/call an honest experienced contractor to determine/identify the problem(s) correctly, not a half az’d assessment from others ( non experts) who’ll tell homeowner to raise and slope the grade, add longer downspouts etc, the usual incompetent bs. Just saying.

Take a tape measure, marker, and a camera. Mark several parts of each crack, measure the gap at the mark and take a photo. Measure and photograph each mark every two weeks. Compare measurements and photos. If they’re not really changing, see Mr. Mayo’s post. If any are growing, see Mr. Anderson’s post. I doubt there is an immediate safety issue based upon the photos, but if you’re worried, this could help guide your decision.

The issue is that I have spoken to two people and one states there is a serious problem, and the other doesn’t. I’m not sure who to trust, but more importantly, how likely is a big problem to be confirmed even if I pay good money for a SE or inspector.

I hear you, finding someone right seems a tad difficult

Thanks, I will look into starting this tomorrow. We are somewhat rushed with landlords plans to sell soon. There is hopefully enough time to see what month or so will bring.

I appreciate the help all

I agree with you if the home owner can find an honest experienced contractor, but most of the time in my area they call a foundation repair contractor that oversells their product from foundation piers to interior drainage systems. My point on an independent assessment is getting someone that doesn’t have a dog in the fight. My fee is the same if the foundation is good or bad. IMO recommending gutters, grading and general drainage improvements should not be discounted as worthless advice. If you can effectively stop water from reaching the wall you not only reduce the chances the wall will leak, you also reduce the potential for differential settlement and wall shoving.

From a structural standpoint if water is reaching the foundation wall, regardless if the wall leaks or not, you have the potential for foundation settlement and wall shoving. If gutters, grading and general drainage improvements reduced soil moisture at the foundation wall its good advice. If subsurface water flow is the problem, then a curtain drain to intercept the water before it reaches the basement wall or improvements in the basement drainage system at the wall may be needed. I think we both agree the homeowners should spend their money wisely and inspectors should step back and analyze the problem and choose the appropriate recommendations.

Not to discount Mr. Mayo’s words above, as he does know his stuff, but…

…Here’s a Wild A-s-s Guess for you (that’s all you get from pic’s on a forum)…

They’re ALL correct!

Handyman— yep, found the cracks. Thanks you very much.

Mason— Yep, the brick veneer is failing, possibly from water (see window pic’s) getting behind and rotting the sheathing causing the ties to fail, thus the bricks to settle and break away causing the cracking.

Foundation guy— foundation may very well be in okay condition. If that’s all the landlord paid him to look at, that’s all he looked at.

You need an independent expert to look at the home and it’s systems as a whole to get a better idea of what’s happening. I suspect some tear-down of veneer may be in order to get to the heart of the problem. This could be a very expensive situation. At a minimum, just repairing the visual damage in the pic’s will not be inexpensive.

So the question of the day: Just how much do you love this home?

Good luck.