slab movement 1.5" within 40 feet

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I am planning to buy a house. Hill country, Austin TX. The house was built in 1978, 3BR, 1800 sq feet, 2 stories. The soil is rather "rocky" there. As I saw a couple of diagonal crack coming from the windows I contracted a foundation inspector to check up the slab underneath the house. He came over and took measurements (he used some powered device with an antenna). The outcome of the measurements is in the attached link. Do you think that 1.5" difference within 40 feet is in tolerance ? He recommended that no foundation repair is needed. I am a little concerned though so I seek a second opinion. Pls let me know - thanks so much Martin
http://www.newhouse.com-a.googlepages.com/Untitled-1.jpg
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On Feb 16, 5:40 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Not a foundation expert, but doesn't sound critical to me. My main concern with a slab foundation is they are prone for termite invasion. Crack usualy will open beneath a wall unseen and termites can enter and do extensive damage before you realize they are around. For that reason I would never be sucker enough to buy a slab house. I lived in Florida for 40 years and in my subdivision every house with a slab floor had a termite problem. Those with crawl spaced were spared. Good luck.
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95% houses in this region of Texas are on slab. the soil is just to hard to dig. As far as termites..well decent termite treatment should take care of the problem...
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On Feb 16, 6:44 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I'd guess the slab was just built that way. 1 1/2" out is not that uncommon with slabs, unfortunately, especially in older homes.
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well....the crack in the window is exactly in that corner of the house where there is the highest movement ..1.5" ...I suspect slab moved a little bit ..
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On Feb 16, 7:12 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Well, I'm not there so I really can't say. I can say that 1.5" out of whack isn't that uncommon. Perhaps you should get another opinion.
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Jack wrote:

Only way I would ever build with a crawlspace was if it had a concrete floor and was tall enough to stand up in. I <hate> working in crawlspaces, hated it even when I was young and skinny. My other house down in Louisiana is on a slab, and yeah, it is a pain, too, but nothing like the houses on piers (open crawlspaces, basically) are. This place has basement under the original house, and a (thankfully deep) crawl under the addition, but they used a backwards-mounted standard basement window for the outside access, so getting my fat gut in there is a MAJOR chore.
'Ground is too hard' is nonsense- only valid excuse for not having a basement, IMHO, is the water table being too high. If the lot consists of 2 feet of dirt on top of rock ledge, build up the lot. If that isn't an option, build elsewhere. If you simply MUST build on an undiggable lot, build the first floor out of concrete.
aem sends...
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well...I will invite you to hill country in Austin,TX then...if you find a house with a basement I buy you dinner ..I asked around many times ...why no crawl/basement...always the same answer .. it is going to be too expensive to dig that extra 3 to 7 feet ...same story with pools .. if you want to have a pool, buy a house with a pool ..never built one urself ..as it is going to be a waste. project cost 10K, value added maybe 4-5K
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The existence of crawl spaces and then basements generally follows the decreasing winter temperatures since the foundation footings have to go below the frost line which in the northern states is pretty deep. If you have to dig that deep anyway, you build a basement. In TX the frost line is what, 1"?
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 16:33:49 -0500, EXT wrote:

Nobody with money to burn. You can go ahead and spend the money if you want.

Lousy thinking. The builder who spends an extra $10,000 to fight with jack hammers and explosives to build a basement may not get that extra $10,000 in selling price. Only an idiot will spend $10,000 to get back $3,000. Send me your $10,000 and I will give you $3,000 for it.

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You are very opinionated and don't seem to think very deeply. Yes, solid rock may be a major deterent, but hard pan clay and other soils should not. In this region, houses without a basement have problems selling. That extra $10,000.00 can double your square footage, great for hobbies, storage and other uses. The cost per square foot is quite small. Only your idiot would be too cheap to turn down doubling your square footage for a small price.
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$10,000 for a basement? That's dreaming. Last project I did with a basement, the excavation and masonry for the basement (basically 20 x 50 with a 36x32 attached garage) was $70,000. Granted, it was ICF which is more expensive than block, but still, 10,000?
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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 17:29:42 -0800 (PST), marson wrote:

It can easily cost an *extra* $10,000 over a simple footing and crawl space in areas with lots of rock to build a basement.
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Mike Dobony wrote:

I understand what you builders are saying- as a seller of spec houses, you have to put the bucks into what brings the customers in. However, 'no basement' also turns a certain percentage of customers off. I probably looked at 100 houses before I settled for this one (because interest rates were about to spike bigtime). Any houses without basements were scratched off immediately, even if they had a tall floored attic or barn out back. There just wasn't enough storage space that wasn't subject to freezing or superheating like happens with sheds and attics. And like I said in a previous post, I <hate> working on mechanicals in a crawlspace. (I grew up in the business- I know the trades hate crawlspaces, too.)
Probably why I'll never buy a prebuilt new house, if I ever get that rich. The gingerbread and frou-frou that sells houses these days means nothing to me. A full basement, to me, is worth more than the fancy rooflines, granite counters, etc, that are the current fashion. If I can't afford a custom house built like <I> want it, I'll make do with the closest existing house I can find, at a lower price point.
Just sayin'.
aem sends...
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On Mon, 18 Feb 2008 16:55:11 GMT, aemeijers wrote:

And a point you seem to miss, what will recover the cost. I would never put several thousand$ into something that will not get more than that back in sales price. I agree that a house with a basement will sell faster than an identical house without a basement. The question is whether or not it will sell for more than the cost to put one in. In areas where boulders or solid rock are a problem a builder will not likely recover that cost. He sells the house faster, but at a lower profit margin. Not good business practice.
However,

I just got done doing a full summer and fall hanging drywall in mostly new construction and some of the crawl spaces were not at all bad to work in, a minimum of about 3' of headroom. The house I am fixing up now in one area has enough crawl space for my 2 and 3 yo grandsons to crawl in. If only I could teach them quickly to do plumbing . . . I understand your preference for purchasing a house with a basement. I agree with your preference. What I disagree with is the statement that it is statement that builders as skimping on not putting in basements in the south. I simply am making the claim that many times it is simply not a feature that will increase the selling price of the house by the extra $$$ needed to put in the basement. It is often a simple business decision to not waste money on something that will not recover the cost of the additional feature.

And when you are rich and can afford to throw away money you can certainly do that. Until then . . .

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On Sun, 17 Feb 2008 16:33:49 -0500, "EXT"

Actually, there are several granite quarries in the Hill Country of Texas. Water wells are seldom cased because they are solid rock, top to bottom.
Fact is folks just don't have to burrow into the ground down here.
I agree southern builders are allowed to skip a lot of UNNECESSARY expenses. It is called standard practice because... it is standard.
I would not live in a place that sells insulated coveralls in August but not lawn chairs. :)
--Andy Asberry-- ------Texas-----
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aemeijers wrote:

Neither reason is valid for not having basements in this area. See my other response in this thread for the real reason. But it boils down to this: You don't need one, so spend your money on living space that costs less. If you want one, you can have one, it will just cost you.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Robert Allison wrote:

(snip)
Eh- different strokes for different folks, etc. I can understand why, if you have a huge lot as is common in new construction down south, you would want to put the square footage (aka money) above ground where it shows. But aside from the frostline question, since you are digging anyway, a basement can be the cheapest enclosed space you can add to a house. I'm not a fan of finished basements, never have been. But I really, really like having a bigass bare concrete room downstairs to stack stuff and do messy projects. And it DOES make installing and servicing all the mechanicals much less of a pain. My ideal would be a walkout basement- best of both worlds.
Yeah, even up north here, the new house-of-many-gables 12-12 roofed cookie-cutter subdivisions (several notches below McMansions) usually skip the basements- they claim it doesn't add to the curb appeal, and allows them to hit their price point for the same amount of finished space. Personally, I'd rather skip all the superfluous gables and such(and maybe the dedicated dining room and formal living room), and build a slightly smaller 70s style ranch with a basement. Which is more useful- a tall attic that can't even be used for storage, and is 120+ in summer, or a deep cool dry basement?
But that is just me- YMMV, especially if your living depends on building houses in the currently popular styles. (I do feel kind of sorry for the people who were the first ones to move in to many of the recent mid-range and McMansion subdivisions- those projects were the hardest hit by the recent housing crunch, and it will be years, if ever, before many of those subdivisions get built out, or the later phases and connecting roads get built. A lot of those people have to be upside down bigtime on resale value.)
Guess I really shouldn't rip on the currently popular styles- my 81 YO father still makes a decent living in Louisiana, designing Southern/'Cajun'/faux French style McMansions for the rich doctors. He thinks they are silly, too, but that is what the well-off customers want. :^/
aem sends...
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aemeijers wrote:

Down here, the digging just involves a trenching machine for about a day. Then you run the plumbing and whatever electrical and pour the slab. You only need about 3' deep footers or less for that.
Digging for a basement would involve a backhoe, trucks to haul off excess, most likely a hoe ram, several people to build forms, pouring the foundation walls and waterproofing them, backfilling and compacting exterior, pouring the basement floor, then building the first floor, which would probably be framed.
The difference in cost is vast. Without a basement, the foundation and floor costs about 7.00 sf (not including plumbing, etc. which is involved with any kind of construction). The basement would cost about about 30 dollars a sf to get to the same point in construction.

For various reasons, I have only seen about 5 basements in my 35 years of construction in this area. They just don't make sense down here. When someone has a basement, it is sort of a; Wow, that is wild! kind of thing.
OTOH, plenty of storm cellars.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Jack wrote:

My experience is the exact opposite.
I grew up on a slab, and there was no trouble with termites. And as far as I know there was no trouble in the surrounding homes which were also on slabs.
When I was looking for a house to buy, many of the houses that were on a crawlspace had obvious termite damage. Some was not repaired, others had sistered joists. Every crawlspace I ever saw (and I probably have seen a hundred or so) was a haven for spiders, crickets and just about any other insect you could name. Not to mention in many cases standing water.
Here's one, it was a nice looking brick house, where I'd guess all the bugs drowned:
http://tinyurl.com/2vv9a8
--
Tony Sivori

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