In My Neighborhood in 94523>Question Details

Carolyn Roll…, Home Buyer in 94597

We are in contract for a home in the 94523 zip. Just noticed a huge crack on the garage floor. Another Homeguard inspection is scheduled. I hear

Asked by Carolyn Rollins, 94597 Sun Sep 4, 2011

these cracks are common in older homes built in this area. Is this true? What's the best method for repairing such cracks. Thanks.

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John Arendsen’s answer
First you need to know about the universal GENERIC guarantee that comes with all concrete work. "GUARANTEED TO CRACK". You will always get cracks in concrete. It comes with the territory. But what you need to be more concerned about is whether or not the cracks are in the footing and/or stem wall of the structure. Flat work is not always considered structural but moreover cosmetic usually caused by settling.

That cannot and should not be determined by a home inspector. It's up to the inspector to call it out in his report but not determine the cause or cost therein. At that point they should suggest or recommend that you get a structural and even a soils engineer involved.

Hillsides are volatile as they are usually built on what are known as "cut and fill" excavation and grading protocol. This is where they have to cut into a hillside and remove indigenous soil and displace it in order to create a level pad grade for the construction of a home.

In so doing they are altering the natural terrain which requires what is know as compaction whereby heavy rolling equipment with "Sheeps feet" (large heavy steel rollers with protruding steel spikes make several passes over the soil accompanied by continuous watering. This eventually compacts the displaced soil as closely as is possible to the indigenous soil usually up to an industry accepted 95%.

In some instances soil has to be imported to achieve adequate excavation and grading parameters. When combining imported soil for fill or inadequately displaced and compacted indigenous soil you it often ends up in what they refer to as "settling" The indigenous soil holds firm while the imported and/or inadequately compacted and displaced soil remains volatile.

Then there's the issue of expansive "clay" soil which is continually expanding and contracting thereby leading to soil erosion issues which can undermine the footing and foundation leading to cracking. This is a very serious problem. The continual movement of the soil causes inordinate weight displacement issues on the structure overall which can also result in foundation and stem wall cracking. Definitely a deal breaker.

However, there are contractors who specialize in these types of issues and we are one of them. When we say we acquire and rehab distressed properties we really mean it. We specialize in truly "DISTRESSED" properties i.e. foundation cracks, burn outs, wind related issues, floods or structural problems as a result of termites, dry rot or roof problems we love those types of properties.

Feel free to contact us if you need anymore information. We'd be happy to discuss it with you anytime and not cost to you. Information is free.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 5, 2011
Depending upon the source of the crack, there are various methods for making such a repair. Some are more costly than others. Remember that you can always renegotiate the purchase contract since you likely made your offer without considering the cost of such a repair.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 5, 2011
Ah..............but Melissa, only foundation experts. Now just any ordinary home inspector.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
My best advice would be to ask the inspector to make three recommendations for individuals who could repair this sort of thing. I've found that the best (and most affordable) solutions generally come from home inspectors.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
Cracks are very common in this zip code in older homes, it all depends on your expectations - concrete will crack, that is a given - the question is is a common crack or a major crack - make sure you hire a home inspector that knows the area, without seeing it , cannot make a determination.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 19, 2011
A crack in a garage floor is not the same thing as a crack to part of the home’s foundation. In most cases, the garage floor “floats” between the foundations for the garage that hold up the walls and roof. And in older homes, there was not a lot of rebar or even mesh placed in these floors. Therefore, a simple tree root that’s worked its way under the garage, expansive soil, high water table … almost anything can cause a garage floor to crack while not affecting the main foundation. As long as it is just the garage floor that is damaged, in most cases, if badly damaged, it can be easily be removed and re-poured.

If, however, there are serious cracks in the foundations as well … that is an entirely different matter.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 11, 2011
C Rollins,

I don't know abou cracks being common to this area, a crack here may not e the same as a crack there.

The condition that is common to this area is adobe soil. It expands in water during the rainy season and contracts in the summer months.

There are 3 common way to repair cracks, 1) Patch it (filling it in) 2) Float it (a thin layer over an area) or 3) replace it.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 6, 2011
Your inspector will be your best resource. It will depend on the cause of the cracks. If there is a stream or earth movement then that may or may not be fixable. If it is old settlement cracks and poor construction fill that is a different remedy.

It is very important to find out the reason for the crack, not just the cost to repair.

All the best to you.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
If the inspector is good, he may be able to tell from the pattern of the cracks the possible causes of it. Shrinkage cracks in concrete are not unusual and you should not be alarmed by it. They are nonstructural in most situations. Expansive soils can cause cracks too. These cracks cause a little more concern but they may not be deal killer. However, if the house is on slope, cracks caused by slope movement is a huge concern.

If a doubt, hire an expert to look at this.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
Cracks in garage floors are common not just in older homes but in newer homes as well.

If this house is built on a hill, you may want to include an inspection by a structural engineer especially if your property inspector mentions it.

As long as your offer is contingent on your doing your inspections, you are entitled to do your due diligence by ordering as many inspections as you see fit.

Good luck
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
Hopfully your purchase is contingent upon a home inspection, the inspector will easily be able to tell you if this is a settling crack or something structural. They should be able to tell you if it is normal or a redflag to something worse. They should be able to estimate a cost to fix as well. Good luck with your inspection and purchase
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Sep 4, 2011
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