We purchased a home about a year and a half ago that had previous
foundation issues. The previous owner had paid for foundation repair on two
prior occassions spending over $12,000. I had assumed that this house would
be better than new since the home now has 24 piers to keep the home from
shifting. After living here for a while, we have began having cracks
appearing in the walls and ceilings on one side of the house. Most of these
cracks are very small but annoyingly noticeable (less than 1/16" wide). At
what point shall we assume that we have a problem vs normal settling? Is
there any way to cover these many cracks that will hold for a while?
Shudder. Piers are a quick'n'dirty way to repair a heaved or bowed
foundation wall, but they don't have a lot of lateral strength. Proper
repair is usually to support that side of the house on jacks and
cribbing, dig out the whole wall down to the footer, and build back with
proper sealing and drainage.
Step one is to get an engineer in there for a site survey, and give him
as much of the previous history as you are aware of. I suspect you are
in for a whole lot of repairs. No point doing anything upstairs till the
downstairs has a clean bill of health. If the foundation repairs were
listed on the disclosure forms when you bought, you are probably SOL on
recovering anything from previous owner. Maybe your insurance will cover
part of it. 2 separate attempts to repair are not a good sign- competent
companies usually get it right the first time.
I ran across a couple houses like that when I was house shopping. One
had it carefully hidden behind paneling. Bowing was right below a
frost-heaved front patio that had multiple layers of caulk and tar at
the foundation joint that obviously ponded every time it rained. I gave
the real estate agent a tour of that one, explaining what was going on,
in case they had any ethics. A hint for others reading this- when going
to open houses, always start in the basement. Any problems, usually best
to walk away before you fall in love with the place. IMHO, Life Is Too
Short to deal with the problems OP is probably facing.
In Texas, these "settling" problems are commmon. Every house that I have
owned (three) has had some cracks in the concrete foundation and a crack
here and there in the sheetrock. I usually retape the sheetrock and paint
over it which will last for a year or two..
In this situation, I am uncomfortable because the house has had previous
repairs and the cracks that are popping up are numerous. I've covered
several of them with and they have reappeared very quickly. The previous
owner did disclose this info and I have lifetime warranties from the
foundation company although I do not believe that they would admit fault
with their earlier repairs. I suspect that they will suggest additional
I would prefer to fix these cracks in the most permanent way possible and
sell the home (with full disclosure of course). We had bought this home
with the expectation of living here only 2-3 years and we will be there
soon. I want to repair and cover these problems and feel that I have some
obligation to ensure that they are not getting worse.
You can buy a flexible sheetrock repair material that you spray on. It is
made to hide cracks. I bought a bottle to test out and it is like spraying
latex. Whether it will work I don't know but for problem sheetrock areas it
is an interesting concept.
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