Why'd they do this?

Did an inspection today on a raised ranch built in 1969.

Typical foundation cracks but along one wall (Hidden behind an ironing board, but that’s another story!), there is this:

The crack goes all the way through to the outside but it’s like it was sawn and they used some sort of metal edging in the crack.

Anyone know what they were trying to accomplish here? I am stumped!

Can’t tell too well from pics, but it may be someone’s attempt at making a cold joint using metal joint normally used in horizontal slabs. Just a guess -

Looks like a control joint to minimize random cracking. There are metal strips available just for that purpose.

I’ve never heard of a control joint in a foundation wall.

Why would anyone WANT to induce a crack in a foundation wall?

It is possible that the form had a “blowout”, and they sawed it off and repoured a small section.

I don’t know, but there are products just for that purpose.
I guess for the same reason they induce them in slabs, to help eliminate random cracking.


Thats what i was thinking Marc…looked to uniformed to be something in my mind other than a seam that possibly is splitting due to a poor form not holding up at seam.

To control the crack location. Concrete will crack as it shrinks. Without control joints, you’re playing the concrete’s game.

Yup, thats a control joint.

Some builders think itll.. control :mrgreen: ..stop/lessen the possibilty of more cracks from occurring in longer-poured walls. Sometimes they do and sometimes they dont. We`ve waterpoofed, outside of course, many control joints but also quite a few other cracks further down a bsmt wall that had a control joint.

got milk?

It “appears” to be a control joint.

Four things bother me.

  1. The “metal edge” does not go up to the top of the concrete wall.
  2. The “top 3-4 inches” of concrete spanning the “metal edging” and have broken. {See the top of the 2nd photo.}
  3. The sill plate does not appear to be pressure treated / water resistant wood.
  4. There are “water marks/water stains” on the sill plate.

All in all this appears to be a “mistake” that some tried to correct. The water stains tell me that it is not working.

I would mention that this item needs "Further Evaluation by a licensed / certified Foundation-Concrete-Cement contractor.

Either way I would say that you should CYA on this one.

Some foundations are designed by Engineers and require a control joint in the wall at 30’ intervals. This might be one of them.

The control joint accessory in the link is only one of many manufactured.
This is one that works with the form system I use on my jobs. (Western Aluminum )


Hope this helps explain.

Marcel :slight_smile:

All concrete shrinks and cracks as it dries/cures … its just they way it is. Without any special provisions this cracking can be wide and random, which increases`the potential for water penetration, and is difficult to repair/seal.

In commercial construction walls typically have vertical joints built into the wall every 20’ to 30’ to help ensure cracking occurs at pre-determined locations, which are then caulked with a flexible sealant. The walls can also be detailed to minimize the crack widths and potential for water penetration. For walls that need to be more watertight, a special strip of PVC (called a “waterstop”) is also placed across the joint at about the middle of the wall.

Although it not common in residential construction, I agree that looks like a control joint in the wall … although it doesn’t appear to be caulked with flexible sealant.




To All:

Have received a lot of hits on my website from this Viewthread. Hope you all don’t think this is self serving - just a clarification. I am a poured wall contractor. I have poured concrete walls since I was old enough to walk the top of a wall with my grandfather. I have vibrated my walls, used little or lots of water, different chemical agents, superplasticizers, water reducers, etc., for the elimination or at least the control of the Random Cracking that occurs in a concrete wall structure regarding typical home construction and light commercial. I have found this to only be accomplished one of two ways - either a sawcut in the wall similar to the way one would sawcut a slab of concrete to eliminate (control) the random cracking or to induce a joint with a device placed in the concrete wall form cavity prior to the placement of the concrete, whether that be a wood strip or a special form with a champfer welded or nailed to the concrete forms. I have developed a device called JointMate that I use in my walls and have begun selling across the United States to add some esthetic value as well as a functional way of controlling the random cracking that is inherent with poured in place concrete wall structures.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Cna’t seem to get onto your websote, Ferrall.