Bowing house wall - tie rods?

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Please say your not sure. All it can take is some ground movement or a heavy lorry passing the building, to take any precarious structure over the edge. Do you know that the joist are still properly seated on their retainers ? Have the joists moved out of their original position and are now sitting on crumbling mortar.
A low flying jet from RAF Leuchars, brought down a cottage in the wilds of the Ayrshire country side. So please, if you can see that the movement is continuing at a pretty even rate over short periods of time, then have it looked at properly. We'd all miss you.
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BigWallop wrote:

Greatest deflection is aout 30mm, over 70 years. The joists are still nicely in their holes, that was one of the first things I checked.

I'm touched...
I will be doing something about it - don't worry. Just getting the group's thoughts first. I like to understand things. I'm trying to understand what possible solutions may exist. I like to have this information before calling in someone who may or may not know what they're talking about.
--
Grunff


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The leaning tower of Pisa has been moving gradually off centre for several hundred years. It was only recently that they figured that if they didn't do something it was going to come down sharpish.
I wouldn't depend on the argument "well it has only moved so much in so many years". The straw that broke the camels back and all that.
PoP
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Can't help the shameless plug, but if you want to see some *real* structural problems, take a look at Caerphilly Castle:
http://www.castlewales.com/caerphil.html
Particularly the first couple of pictures (the leaning tower is about 10 degrees) and the North dam wall. Both are suspected to be due to subsidence when the moats were drained when the castle fell into disuse. Neither has moved for some 300 years. The leaning tower is surveyed every 6 months just to make sure!
It's a shameless plug because Caerphilly is my home town and I'm working at the castle at the moment :-) I have absolutely no connection to castlewales.com by the way, other than applauding it.
Hwyl!
M.
--
Martin Angove: http://www.tridwr.demon.co.uk /
Don't fight technology, live with it: http://www.livtech.co.uk /
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Nice pics, I assume there is no record of attackers attempting to mine the walls at that point to account for it? I ask because we recently got around to visiting the Castle in St. Andrews (we had visitors to show around) and they have both a mine and a counter mine which is still intact and you can go down into them. Hacked out of the rock too.
Peter
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Peter Ashby
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Indeed, however we'd still miss you! ;O)
Take Care, Gnube {too thick for linux}
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BigWallop wrote:

If you read up on Eulers slender strut/slender column theory, you might get a shock. The amount of weight a fully supported wall can take, versus the amount an already bowed wall can take, are vastly different. The failure mode is catastrophic. I.e. once beyond a critical point, it happens in seconds.
Without knowing more about the actual loadings and causes, its not possible to say how dodgy this all is. That's why you need a structuiral engineer.
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Walls do. The very first house we bought about 30 years ago had this happen to a boundary wall 6ft high and about 30ft long. Damp got into the brickwork. One night we heard a loud bang and looked out to see the wall totally demolished and lumps of ice sticking to the debris. I would never have believed it could happen without the experience of having seen it.
-- Alan G "The corporate life [of society] must be subservient to the lives of the parts instead of the lives of the parts being subservient to the corporate life." (Herbert Spencer)
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Did you buy this house without a mortgage, out of interest ? I can't imagine any lender approving a loan without further investigation (nor the valuer missing a large bulge). Fwiw, the bulge in the outer wall of my house was of the order of an inch, over about 10' in height. I was informed that renewing the wall ties was a practical solution up to an inch or so. Beyond that, it was rebuilding time. Not in itself a huge job as the outer leaf is non-structural, but as it was above a large conservatory, not trivial either.
--
Mail john rather than nospam...

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John Laird wrote:

No, we have a mortgage.

Don't know whether they missed it or just didn't care, but it seemed to make no difference to the lender.

This is a slightly different situation, because there's no inner/outer leaf - it's just one thick, solid wall.
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[15 lines snipped]

There's no "may" about it.
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"The road to Paradise is through Intercourse."
The uk.transport FAQ; http://www.huge.org.uk/transport/FAQ.html
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On 6 Oct 2003 08:45:12 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@ukmisc.org.uk (Huge) wrote:

Well, if the dreaded "s" word is held to blame, you're probably right. (And I ought to know as I'm in that situation.)
--
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reference to fun in any Act of Parliament.
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Grunff wrote:

Are you sure its not the porch that is sinking and pulling the wall with it?
--
Cheers,

John.

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John Rumm wrote:

I don't think so. First off, the wall isn't sinking - there's no movement at ground level. It's bulging out, greatest bulge at the centre of the wall. Second, I don't believe the porch walls are tied in to the bulging wall - it appears to have just been built there, in contact with but not attached to the wall.
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How big are the cracks altogether? (At their widest) When was the porch built? Is the floor inside the cottage look like it has raised up very slightly?
What could be happening is that the porch is 'rotating'; it's weight could be pressing down on the earth outside the wall and heaving it up inside the wall if you know what I mean. This would result in the external wall's 'foot' moving off the vertical leading to an exaggerated movement further up. Any bits of debris falling down vertically along the edge of the partitions would keep wedging it out also. The porch would tend to sink less where it is attached to the main wall because of friction between it's (the porch) wall and the main house wall; this shows as a lack of cracks between the porch and the main wall. The roof will tend to hold back the top of the main wall so it 'bows' as you have described. If the house is on a slope and the porch is on the down hill side then this is very likely as most old houses on slopes had an element of 'cut and fill'; back wall built on solid ground and the front wall built on spoil excavated from the back.
I'm *not* an engineer so don't take this as 'proper' advice; Insurance company's and mortgage company's tend to like ppl with bits of paper to write it all on other bits of paper.

Probably best to shell out a couple of hundred quid to any old chartered struc eng with lots of PI ;)
--
mark

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mark wrote:

The original cracks have long been filled - but would be around 20-25mm. The new cracks (about 2 years in the making) are about 1-2mm.

AFAIK at the same time as the house, ~1930.

The downstairs has two back rooms (the area of interest). One of them has a wooden floor. The other has a concrete floor, which had a big crack righ acoss it, like it had dropped about 30mm at one end.

You may be onto something here. The porch floor is decidedly unlevel (slopes away from the house). But having said that, the porch walls aren't enough off vertical to match the floor.

Bingo - on a slope, with the porch on the downhill side.

Noted - but if the problem is indeed as you diagnose, what solution would you suggest? Underpin the back wall + porch?

He'll be here on Tuesday :-). I'll let you know what he says.
Thanks for your thoughts.
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Unless the floor is sinking independently of the walls. It's sitting on the same stuff. Any indications? Gaps under skirtings etc?

Don't you be calling it a 'diagnosis' in public! ;) Underpinning could get pricey; cheaper than a rebuild though, depends on how much digging it needs to get down to some decent stuff. Worth trying bolted rods first just to see if it works. A mil a year isn't exactly scary.

Yeah; be interesting :)

NP
--
mark

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mark wrote:

There's was no skirting, so it was difficult to tell. I suspect the back wall did drop by 30mm or so shortly after the house was built.

That's kind of my feeling - buildings move. As longs as they remain stable, I'm happy.
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mark wrote:
> How big are the cracks altogether? (At their widest)
The original cracks have long been filled - but would be around 20-25mm. The new cracks (about 2 years in the making) are about 1-2mm.
> When was the porch built?
AFAIK at the same time as the house, ~1930.
> Is the floor inside the cottage look like it has raised up very slightly?
The downstairs has two back rooms (the area of interest). One of them has a wooden floor. The other has a concrete floor, which had a big crack righ acoss it, like it had dropped about 30mm at one end.
> What could be happening is that the porch is 'rotating'; it's weight > could be pressing down on the earth outside the wall and heaving it up > inside the wall if you know what I mean. This would result in the > external wall's 'foot' moving off the vertical leading to an exaggerated > movement further up. Any bits of debris falling down vertically along > the edge of the partitions would keep wedging it out also. The porch > would tend to sink less where it is attached to the main wall because of > friction between it's (the porch) wall and the main house wall; this > shows as a lack of cracks between the porch and the main wall. > The roof will tend to hold back the top of the main wall so it 'bows' as > you have described.
You may be onto something here. The porch floor is decidedly unlevel (slopes away from the house). But having said that, the porch walls aren't enough off vertical to match the floor.
> If the house is on a slope and the porch is on the down hill side then > this is very likely as most old houses on slopes had an element of 'cut > and fill'; back wall built on solid ground and the front wall built on > spoil excavated from the back.
Bingo - on a slope, with the porch on the downhill side.
> I'm *not* an engineer so don't take this as 'proper' advice; Insurance > company's and mortgage company's tend to like ppl with bits of paper to > write it all on other bits of paper.
Noted - but if the problem is indeed as you diagnose, what solution would you suggest? Underpin the back wall + porch?
> May well be that the porch is still 'settling in' :) > Probably best to shell out a couple of hundred quid to any old chartered > struc eng with lots of PI ;)
He'll be here on Tuesday :-). I'll let you know what he says.
Thanks for your thoughts.
--
Grunff


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As others have said, and perhaps to lend weight as if we were voting on the next step, I'd consult someone who knows what they are talking about. And your insurance company should be part of the deal.
It is possible that your insurance company has a get-out clause buried in the fine print, in so far that at the time you purchased the property there was a problem. That should have been noted by the surveyor who inspected prior to purchase. Depending on his description may be whether the insurance company feel they are liable (and like all insurance companies their starting gambit will tend to be "not us, guv!").
Remember that the Titanic didn't sink instantly after coming into contact with a block of frozen water.
PoP
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