HELP! Contractor work caused HUGE Settlement Cracks and damage

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I just bought a house that was built in 1959 and is on a medium/mild slope. Part of the inspection for the house purchase stated that the foundation piers should be replaced to stop some movement of the house. I hired a contractor to do this. When he finished I noticed HUGE breaks and cracks in my kitchen and living room walls. It is terrifying! They run all the way from the ceiling to half way down to the ground and they are practically in EVERY corner. I am not sure what to do now --the contractor has already been paid. Is this something I should have expected or is this something he should/could have avoided?
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he should/could have avoided. Have you called him to see if he wil rectify the problem? Just because he's been paid doen't mean he won' take care of his responsibilities
-- hwm5411 ----------------------------------------------------------------------- hwm54112's Profile: http://www.homeplot.com/member.php?userid  View this thread: http://www.homeplot.com/showthread.php?t `51
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Ok, I feel a little better.
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No. It's something you should take up with the contractor or local authorities. Not a bunch of strangers on the internet, dickweed.....
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You dont have to be an asshole and call me a dickweed. I thought I might be able to get feedback from others who had experience with this issue before I speak to my contractor on Monday. Dont reply if you think I asked a stupid question.
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Don't sweat the small stuff. That's a trolling kaner plain and simple, and wishes to feed on other's discontent. Just starve it by ignoring it, if you want revenge. Responding to things like it is, only encourages them. This group has become infested with a few of the kaners recently and they're being encourage by the responses they get.
: You dont have to be an asshole and call me a dickweed. I thought I : might be able to get feedback from others who had experience with this : issue before I speak to my contractor on Monday. Dont reply if you : think I asked a stupid question. :
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Ok, you are right. I was just taken aback. Newbie here too I guess! :-)
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OK.
But - do you promise to be around to explain this to each new person who asks a question and gets slammed for it?
Over to you...
Banty
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Oh dear dont' tell me - did some poor soul actually come here to ask a question??!? It happened again??
Thank God there are people like you who will stop this awful thing from happening!
The very thought of it! Someone asking about a house repair situation in a home repair newsgroup!
Banty
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Thanks Banty. I am a single female that is very inexperienced with construction and homeownership (I am still learning!) and thought this group might be a good way to get some advice or feedback. --And it has been overall but I am sure even in cyberspace there are creeps like "Red Neckerson."
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says...

Never mind Mr. Red. Those guys are just background noise :)
I'm a single female too who just recently had an involved foundation repair done, too. It went well. I had an engineer involved, though, and the mason and he discussed the job. My house was not jacked up - the old inadequate footer was partially undermined to pour a new footer under it and up to it. Other work too, but hat was the main part of it. We don't usually have piers around here.
You might consult with a structural engineer about this. And do call the contractor back.
Banty
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I'm a female TOO!!
Lesby friends, O-Kay??!!!
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What's a huge crack? Are we talking floor to ceiling hairline cracks in sheetrock? How wide are the cracks?
I would think replacing piers would involve jacking the house clear of existing piers, tearing them out, installing new ones, then lowering the house down to the new piers. I'd guess it would be done one pier at a time.
I think it would be hard to do this job without flexing the house enough to crack some sheetrock seams.
On the other hand, I'd think the contractor should have warned of this risk before accepting the job.
KB
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: >I just bought a house that was built in 1959 and is on a medium/mild : > slope. Part of the inspection for the house purchase stated that the : > foundation piers should be replaced to stop some movement of the house. : > I hired a contractor to do this. When he finished I noticed HUGE : > breaks and cracks in my kitchen and living room walls. It is : > terrifying! They run all the way from the ceiling to half way down to : > the ground and they are practically in EVERY corner. I am not sure : > what to do now --the contractor has already been paid. Is this : > something I should have expected or is this something he should/could : > have avoided? : : What's a huge crack? Are we talking floor to ceiling hairline cracks in : sheetrock? How wide are the cracks? : : I would think replacing piers would involve jacking the house clear of : existing piers, tearing them out, installing new ones, then lowering the : house down to the new piers. I'd guess it would be done one pier at a time. : : I think it would be hard to do this job without flexing the house enough to : crack some sheetrock seams. : : On the other hand, I'd think the contractor should have warned of this risk : before accepting the job. : : KB : : That's a good point. Have you looked at the contract to see if there might be anything about the situation? It's possible but unlikely the contract contains a remedy you aren't yet aware of. Or the opposite, unfortunately. If the cracks are as large as they first sounded, you might be starting an "interesting" learning experience here. Keep us posted, please.
Pop
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Ug, I dont need any more "interesting learning experiences" but I think you are right. I just expected to live in my new home for at least a couple months before this stuff started happening. I will examine the contract on Monday (its at work). Thanks Pop.
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kitamaria wrote:

wall, one story, or what? Ceiling to half way to ground - is that one floor or ten? Settle down and give some details. IF you have hairline cracks in corners along the exterior wall that was on the piers, I would not be worried. Was their a building permit? Specifications in contract for means of support, hazards? Inspection by code enforcement?
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The cracks are wide enough that I could stick a nail in them, or a piece of thin spaghetti. Some are hairpin though. They are mainly along a large wall that divides the kitchen and living room and one of the cracks is in the shape of a large square (4x4). Along the doorway there are cracks that go all the way from the ceiling to the top of the doorway and on a few other walls there are long vertical cracks. It almost looks like there may have been some cracks before that got "reopened" after the construction occured. Most of the cracks are around 4 feet long vertical. there wasnt a permit or anything (at least I dont think so). It was supposed to be a routine job that took only 2 days. Thanks for being so nice --I know this is ultimatly something I need to discuss with my contractor but I just wasnt sure if wall cracks are something I should have known would happen.
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: The cracks are wide enough that I could stick a nail in them, or a : piece of thin spaghetti. Some are hairpin though. They are mainly : along a large wall that divides the kitchen and living room and one of : the cracks is in the shape of a large square (4x4). Along the doorway : there are cracks that go all the way from the ceiling to the top of the : doorway and on a few other walls there are long vertical cracks. It : almost looks like there may have been some cracks before that got : "reopened" after the construction occured. Most of the cracks are : around 4 feet long vertical. there wasnt a permit or anything (at : least I dont think so). It was supposed to be a routine job that took : only 2 days. Thanks for being so nice --I know this is ultimatly : something I need to discuss with my contractor but I just wasnt sure if : wall cracks are something I should have known would happen. :
Those don't sound "too bad" but ... those could also be famous last words. I don't really know much about that sort of thing but I do know that small movements (as in jacking a floor which I've done in the past) does cause cracks to open up.
IMO, you should first: Create a reference and get pictures of the cracks. If a nail sticks into them, stick the nail in for the picture. Try to measure and write down the sizes, length of width and direction of each crack and note its location. You'll then have a "reference". If the cracks change over time or new ones occur, it could be really good informaiton to have on hand. Sometimes just having a reference like that is enough to talk a contractor whatever into taking care of things, IF they need to be taken care of. The worst part of this sounds to me like you were surprised by it. That never should have happened. You should have been advised of that sort of thing. Surprises are never good on any job.
The bit about No Permit is a little disconcerting, too. I'm pretty sure one was needed, but ... like I said, no expert here. I'd call the local code enforcement office and ask if a permit is needed for that sort of thing - you don't have to identify yourself just to ask a question. Then, assuming one was needed, I'd ask the contractor for a copy of it for your records - a completely reasonable request. The permit should have been prominently displayed while the work was in progress. I've no idea whether inspections were required when the job was finished, but ... I would think that was the case.
For sure, create your reference point as I mentioned above, and then go after the rest of it. Do NOT jump to conclusions because this whole thing might be a whole set of tiny details not worth worrying about. But do find out ,just in case it IS a big deal, about the permit situation because that could really bite you in the ass in the future. I'll be very surprised if no permit was required to do that sort of work. Was the contractor bonded/insured?
HTH, Pop
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Pop, your comments are very helpful and I will check out the permit issue and take come pictures of the damage. I feel so stupid for not knowing. I just bought the house and one of the engineeing inspectors looked at the foundation and said the piers should be replaced and I signed the inspection sheet that I guess doubled as a bid. He never mentioned permits. I will look into it. Hopefully it just looks worse than it is and since its not foundational, maybe I can just rip them out and put new ones in. It could just be that he "straightened out my house" and they only cracked because they were put back in place. I do feel a ton better than I did before I posted this thread so thanks for calming me down. Google groups is so cool!
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Great advice. My engineer recorded the dynamic cracking problem I had as part of his investigation (frost heaving issue).
BTW, for my job there was no permit, as it is a repair. These things do vary widely, though.
Banty
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