I inspected a home yesterday and the buyer pointed out this crack that extends from one inside corner of the family room acrossed the cieling and down the opposing wall and can be viewed from the outside. I know I should have seen it first, but he knew it was there before I arrived. The house is a block/masonry built in 1951. The crack is approxmately 1/8" wide at the widest point. It could probably be be easily covered, but would this be cause for a structural engineer to be contacted? The house is over fifty years old and the agent says he is buying as is. I’m sure settlement is the reason for it and there is no moisture any where near this area and it is on northeast florida soil. Sorry no pic, it’s in a folder too large to load and I erased it from my camera.
I worked in Building Construction, Commercial back in 1970 in the Orlando, Florida area, and worked part time on Residential. I remember that houses were built on slabs with the perimeter foundation consisting of a 12" wide footing and three courses of blocks. The top block was a header block which accecpted the slab and created the form at the perimeter.
Not knowing the length or width of this building is hard to make a dedicive conclusion, but would indicate that some settlement has occurred over the years. You have to remember, that back then they did not provide control joints in the masonry walls like it is initiated today. The movement without control joints will perform on their own when not controlled.
I would have to say that a building built in the 50’s would have created it’s own relief where it wanted due to the absceince of control joints and settlement over the years. 1/8" is not bad. Patch and match.
Hope this helps.
If the cracks do not exhibit any vertical or horizontal displacement and the maximum crack is 1/8" then they could be settlement cracks. Most likely the cracks are stable, but you won’t know that unless you recommend monitoring and even then the cracks could be seasonal opening and closing during the heat and cooler weather.
From the pictures you posted, it is clear to me that the cracks were contributed by slight settlement and/or temperature variations that caused the vertical relief.
I agree with Raymond, that recommendation to monitor is your best guard. Noone knows if this crack relief is old or still on going.
Noticed also that a typical crack in masonry when no control joints are installed to prevent this, it will shoot to the nearest weak link, in which case the photo shows the window as the weak link. A vertical joint on the side of the opening in todays standards would prevent this. Understanding the house was built in 1951, all you can do at this point is monitor it.
The walls and ceiling are really two different systems, so I don’t understand why the one crack continues through both and don’t know what Northeast Florida soil consists of. I’m of the opinion that the home is cracking in half.
Is this home bult on a sacred Indian burial ground? Is this the part of Florida famous for forming spontaneous sink holes?
It is a visible defect, just report it as what it is and recommend further analysis if you feel it is needed.
Our job is not to determine cause, or predict the future condition of the defect, or to prescribe remedies. Also though the walls and ceilings may be two different systems, They are attached, If a wall moves due to shifting or whatever reason and cracks, it is a given that the ceiling will move too as it is attached and supported by that wall
Thanks for all of your answers, I have recommended further monitoring. Sorry for waiting so long to reply.
What is a control joint?
Control joints in it’s definition;
An intentional linear discontinuity in a structure or component, designed to form a plane of weakness where cracking or momvement can occur in response to various forces so as to minimize or eliminate cracking elsewhere in the structure.