I am interested in buying a house but found a big crack in the
exterior of a foundation wall between the basement and the garage. It
is verticle and has uneven surface between both sides of the crack.
Do you think it is a serious problem? Here is the picture of the
crack. http://www.flickr.com/photos/68577614@N00/2808355477 /
Does house sit on foundation? Of course it's a structural problem.
Is it serious structurally and how serious it --can't tell from the
isolated picture. That's what you need an onsite qualified inspector or
engineer to assess and if necessary work out the remediation plan and
estimate costs thereof. Then you can make a decision on going ahead or not.
This is the rare case where I would call in the foundation company
and get a repair estimate.
But since you mention garage and basement, I consider it a minor
annoyance and not a major structural problem. If you don't fix it,
and it keeps growing, you will have some cracks that can be easily
patched every few years. If it doesn't grow, then it's not a problem.
Agree. In many cases, these cracks aren't a big problem. Some
usually occur and it could be the foundation settled just a bit, but
is stable, has been like that for 20 years and isn't getting worse.
Or it could be that there is a real problem, because part of the
foundation is moving and continuing to do so.
If you like the house otherwise, then part of the purchase should
include a home inspection contigency. The inspector will flag it and
likely say something like 1/8" crack noted in foundation wall, appears
stable, but suggest a structural engineer evaluate it.
Is this crack on the garage side of the basement wall or on the basement
side? Probably on the garage side. In many cases the foundation for the
garage is not as deep as the basement foundation, which means there has to
be a jog in the footings.To allow the perimeter drainage pipes, if there are
some, as well as the basement waterproofing, often the garage foundation has
a gap against the basement wall and is only connected above ground level.
This all can result in a crack between the two foundations as they can move
independently. What looks worrying about your photo is it looks like there
is some sideways movement of one foundation in relation to the other, this
means it could be bulging out. Probably the garage foundation pushing out
slightly past the basement foundation. This could be trouble if it is still
moving. If you are in an area subject to frost, it could be the unheated
garage foundation being pushed out by frozen moisture under the garage
floor. You may want to have an engineer check it out or pass on the house.
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