Sinking porch - feedback appreciated

To the expert panel,
Attached are 5 images of the front, concrete porch of a 2004 home. The home has a full basement with single story above grade. The porch is settling down and slightly into the residence, I assume due to improper compaction of the backfill. There is limited moisture in the area with a dry flowerbed design providing independent bubblers to each plant - no plants close to the foundation/porch. The siding appears to be a combination of standard stucco and EIFS, with EIFS being under the front porch cover in the suspect area. Picture 1 is an overview of the porch, picture 2 is separation at the top of the proch pillar, and picutres 3-5 are separation at the proch floor to exterior wall intersection. The questions I would like feedback on are:

  1. Besides proper compaction of the backfill soil, should there be other support mechanisms for a concrete porch of this depth (16" exposed)? Should it be tied to the basement wall vs. floating?
  2. Although not very visible, in pictures #3 and #5 you can see directly into the framing, floor joists and insulation through the separation crack between the front porch and stucco wall. The visible area of access is subfloor framing betwene the two levels with conditioned air coming out of this area. Should there be rim/header joists in this area? It seems a bit strange that the builder has the floating porch seeling the ends of the framing/joists.
    Thanks in advance for any feedback…







Bryan, Just out of curiosity, if it’s got bubblers, and I guess you mean water bubblers, whatever they might be, what makes it a “dry” flower bed?

Good building practice would have called for rebar, tied to home foundation wall rebar, to be stubbed out and tied into rebar installed in the porch foundation.

It does seem strange. Picture #1 shows an apparent step-down in the finish floor to the left of the porch. Typically the foundation would step down there and floor framing would be on two different levels.

At a gap at the base of the stucco, you’d expect to see the wall bottom plate or even more likely, judging from the difference in height between the porch floor and the front door threshold, a rim joist.

It looks like they…

  1. poured the exterior foundation wall all one height
  2. framed the exterior walls
  3. poured the porch up against the framing
  4. applied EIFS in the porch area
  5. applied hardcoat stucco on the rest of the building.

Apparently there’s no exterior sheathing, because those look like studs in that crack. Why anyone would mix EIFS and hardcoat stucco on one home, I can’t imagine. This looks like someone didn’t know what they were doing and I’d be looking for other problems. What about the transition from EIFS to hardcoat? There’s a differential expansion condition.
If inadequate compaction was the problem, and that seems reasonable, good chance it’s now stabile.

Thanks for the reply Kenton. With regards to ‘dry bed’, since a majority of the flowerbeds in our area tend to be irrigated either by flood irrigation or saturated sprinkler coverage, many of the landscapers here consider this a dry bed with spot/plant specific bubbler irrigation vs. the flood/saturation. A bit of a misnomer, but in comparison with flood irrigation - definitely a dry bed!

There are a number of issues and scenarios based on this condition. Seasonal weather - dryness versus rain, soil sustenance possibly, and definitely concerns with the proper sealing of the building envelope detail between the porch and the house wall system.

An open gap like that is an invitation for water penetration and other forms of intrusion.

My main two questions around this issue would be, do construction standards require:

  1. that the concrete porch should have been pinned to the basement foundation wall to avoid the settlement issue, and
  2. that there be a rim joist sealing the ends of the flooring system??

Thoughts around ‘should have’ construction standards would be appreciated… code references even better… thanks again…