Foundation Woes

Our house has two cracks in the foundation -- one on either side of the garage. One of the cracks is vertical around a centimeter wide, and is causing the brickwork above to crack. The other crack is on a diagnal, but much smaller. We had a guy come in and look at it, and he thinks it's ad-freezing (sp?). He said we would likely have to escavate the perimiter of the garage, which includes digging up part of the driveway, walkway, etc. This would cost lots of $14-20K.
Our neighbour says that we should just epoxy the the bricks back together, and not worry about it to much, because the cracks in the foundation are not near to our basement, so there's no real consiquence to doing this.
I've also done the math, and the cost of redoing the brickwork is a lot less than the interest that we would have to pay on a loan of $14K in one year. If I redid the brickwork every second for the next five years, and THEN redid the foundation, I would actually be saving money.
I was wondering how critical it is to fix this issue right away -- will it get much more expensive as time progresses, or can I turn a blind eye to it fora while?
John
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The risks are water intrusion into the building fabric and dislocattions of the structure. If it were mine, I'd get a forensic engineer or architect to give a report. Yes, you would have to spend money, but you would better know the risks and trade offs. TB
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I am having a hard time picturing your location of the problem. Do you know how the original foundation was done? Is it deep enough, thick enough? If it is and you just have some settling, I would just patch it. If the foundation is too shallow and/or too thin, this will be an ongoing issue. You can fix it yourself if you are so inclined (I am assuming a 3 foot deep foundation around the garage). There are some good books on repairing foundations (ie Fine Homebuilding).
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What were the qualifications of the "guy" who came in and gave you an opinion? This is something that can be difficult to diagnose even with seeing it, let alone remotely. I'd get an engineer to take a look at it. Alternatively, a builder with lots of experience would be useful too. Definitely something you should find the root cause of and not ignore. Once you know what's causing it, what the remedy is, what happens if it;s left untreated, etc, then you can decide.
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